Thursday, February 25, 2010

MOTW and best cookies ever

I know this isn't the messiest mess ever, but it sure did take a long time to pick up, so it sort of qualifies. Curtis's mom sent a whole bunch of stickers in a Valentine's Day box and the kids love them! They have been making so much sticker art, particularly on the plain backs of our big 2009 calendar.

This is one of the more elaborate pieces of art created by Vivian and Kathryn. Viv put it up on the fridge herself.

I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday, and this is a recipe that has been requested often by people who have tasted these. They are so good! The recipe is from Cook's Illustrated magazine. I love this magazine and the show the same people have on PBS, called America's Test Kitchen. They have a very scientific approach to developing recipes and I have found success with every recipe I have tried from these two sources. In fact, I ordered and just received in the mail today the companion cookbook to the 2009 season of America's Test Kitchen. It's so awesome! Mom and Lorna, this is where I got that great baked pork chop recipe I made the day (or two) before I had Betty last year. I haven't made the pork chops since then, but now I think I'll have good.
Anywho, here's the cookie recipe - it's a little different but worth it.
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Note: Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored than if you use the dark brown sugar it calls for.
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter (I often use salted butter because it's usually what I have in the fridge - I just cut the added salt in half)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (this is less than one package)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional - I never put these in)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Whisk together flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet (or whatever you have - I have no idea what size the one I use is!) over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1-3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using a heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter in hot butter until completely melted.
3. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. (At this point, do yourself a favor and just taste this butter-sugar mixture. It is so good! Just don't eat too much or you might end up with dry-ish cookies. I'm not even kidding, I've "tasted" so much that it's happened to me.)

Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny.

Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough a final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (the cookies pictured here were actually about 2 tablespoons each, but the really big ones have a great crisp/chewy ratio. whatever, they're all good). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
5. Bake cookies, one tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving. (This is one instance where I think that the COOL chocolate chip cookies are better than warm ones - somehow, it's true.)

They really are yummy...

Just a photo to admit that I don't always have "real" meals for my family. We had popcorn, green beans and sliced apples, nectarines, pears and plums for dinner last night. And we let them sit on the table. And two of the four kids were in their pajamas all day.
I'm not always on top of it.


Cris said...

I've sent this link out to Big Girl Club members across the midwest - who knows how many kitchens will be in a frenzy making this recipe today!?! I'm planning to make them & take some to work - my last day at the hospital! Hope I don't burn something... ;)

Lisa said...

Cannot contain my excitement....
Must go buy dark brown sugar...

See you tonight!