In college, I had a friend who we'll call Cate. Our friendship ended recently on less-than-amicable terms, as some friendships unfortunately do. No matter what happened, there is one fact that her eventual unkindness towards me will never erase: her mother made The. Best.Cookies. Ever.
Soft in the center, crispy on the outside with a perfect balance of chocolate chips in each big bite. They might even have been better than the legendary Levain cookie. I give credit when credit is due. As much as I like to bake, I've never tried to recreate her cookies, sticking to the old faithful Tollhouse recipe that I'd grown up with.
Until now. Now that I found this recipe on Southern Living, I'll never again feel the need to recreate Cate's cookies.
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
1. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended.
2. Combine flour, soda, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in morsels. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.
3. Bake at 350° for 8 to 14 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
My favorite part about this recipe is that it doesn't demand that you add walnuts to your cookie. Granted, there is a time and a place for a chocolate chip cookie with walnuts but chocolate chips can fend perfectly well on their own. Instead of insiting on chopped or toasted walnuts, chopped or toasted pecans, whatever, this recipe gives you some recipe modifications that you can do if you want to dress up your cookie. I, of course, chose not to, but I liked that the option was on the table:
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies: Decrease salt to 1/2 teaspoon. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter with butter and sugars. Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons. Proceed as directed. (Dough will look a little moist.)
Oatmeal-Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies: Reduce flour to 2 cups. Add 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats to dry ingredients and 1 cup raisins with morsels. Proceed as directed.
Pecan-Chocolate Chip Cookies: Add 1 1/2 cups chopped, toasted pecans with morsels. Proceed as directed.
Almond-Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies: Reduce morsels to 1 cup. Add 1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds and 1 cup almond toffee bits. Proceed as directed.
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies: Substitute 1 (12-ounce) package dark chocolate morsels for semisweet chocolate morsels. Proceed as directed.
Chunky Cherry-Double Chip Cookies: Microwave 1 tablespoon water and 1/2 cup dried cherries in a glass bowl at HIGH 30 seconds, stirring once. Let stand 10 minutes. Substitute 1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chunks for morsels. Add 1 cup white chocolate morsels, 1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds, and cherries with chocolate chunks. Proceed as directed.
Coconut-Macadamia Chunk Cookies: Substitute 1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chunks for morsels. Add 1 cup white chocolate morsels, 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, and 1/2 cup macadamia nuts with chocolate chunks. Proceed as directed.