Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cookie Basics and Improvisation

For those of you who are not seasoned cookie baking veterans, I thought I'd share a basic drop cookie recipe, which can serve as a great launching pad for creating all sorts of deliciousness. Write down this recipe, commit it to memory, save it on your computer, etch it into a stone tablet, or write it on the wall in blood (no, actually, don't do that. ew.)

Basic Drop Cookie Dough

1 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until creamy. Mix in baking soda and salt, then gradually work in the flour. From here, you can add whatever baking chips, nuts, dried fruits, etc that you want.

More advanced bakers can experiment with things like oatmeal and cocoa, but usually you'll want to reduce the amount of flour a little if you do this. You can even split your dough into several batches and make multiple types at the same time. Using two spoons or a schmancy cookie scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheets.

Bake 6-8 minutes, until they reach your desired state of done-ness. I like to take them out while they're still doughy and let them finish baking on the counter. Cool on a clean countertop, or a cooling rack, if you have one. Here is another matter of preference: A wire rack will create crispier cookies, while the countertop will produce softer ones. (Confession: I used a rack this time because I was too lazy to thoroughly clean the counter. So sue me.)

This time, I did two flavors: Cinnamon Walnut (Hershey's cinnamon chips and chopped walnuts) and Classic Toll House (semi sweet chocolate chips and walnuts). In the past, I've done things like M&Ms, Andes Mint chips (with some cocoa added to the dough), chocolate dough with white chips; the possibilities are endless. Enjoy!