(This is my friend Alex’s first post on He Cooks, She Cooks. Let him know how much you enjoyed it.)
A brief introduction: I’m a 21 year old college student at the University of Missouri. I’m an untrained (dangerous, I know) and often confused cook. I like just about all eatable things if they’re put together in the right way—which happens to be the tricky part and what I’m generally interested in finding out.
I love snacks. They’re the practical, any-time-of-day dessert. Moreover, they’re portable and easy to eat. If you can’t eat it out of your hand, it’s not a snack. I mean, desserts are great—it’s hard to beat warm pie after a filling meal—but they’re more ceremonial and require plate and fork. Cookies bring the best of both worlds into something sweet, portable and generally circular.
If I say there are a thousand different cookies, there’s probably a thousand and one. So, universal perfection is really something impossible to achieve—or claim. Really, it’s about individual food preference: if you like cherries, make a cookie with cherries, if you like peanut butter, find a great recipe for a peanut butter cookie. If you like it, you can probably find a way to put it into a cookie.
Here’s what you need, the beer is optional…and for the chef, not the cookies.
So, although I’ll never believe in an “ultimate” cookie, I did believe in finding an “ultimate” cookie dough to receive any number of delicious culinary delights (for me, nuts and chocolate). Really, I was trying to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe; but what you decide to put in the dough doesn’t matter, it’s the dough itself I was concerned with. It seemed simple, but every recipe I found claiming to be the “World’s Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookie” with references to grandmothers or Eastern Europe fell flat. They were too thin, or too puffy—too dense or too light. I’ve probably made 15 different versions of the same cookie.
What follows is the surprisingly simple, combined-from-many-cookies recipe for walnut-chocolate chip cookies. But I’d say throw in whatever you like, or whatever’s in your pantry.
The Perfect Cookie
Recipe combined from several sources. Makes about 32 cookies.
- 2 1/4 cups AP (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- A decent amount of chopped walnuts and chocolate chips, or anything else you want to chuck in. I never measure this, I just add until it looks good. Probably about 2 cups combined.
Follow the creaming method. Sift dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Cream butter and sugars together in another bowl. And whisk the second set of wet ingredients together in another small bowl.
Add combined wet ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon.
Spoon dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheet (see note below), about 8 cookies per pan.
Bake at 375 (I run mine at 365, do what makes your cookies happiest) for about 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining batches.
Note: Parchment paper is a godsend for cookie making. If you haven’t tried using it, spend the money to buy a roll—it’s totally worth it. It helps prevent burning and sticking and makes cleaning pans 10x easier. Also, if you have trouble with burning cookie bottoms, try stacking your cookie sheet on another pan so a layer of air exists between the two. It’ll help regulate the temperature and cut down on direct heat to the bottom of your cookie sheet.
One last requirement: a cookie jar. It’s the perfect cookie container and in my mind a necessary component of cookie making. I prefer a clear one, but get whatever suits your kitchen. There’s nothing more homely than a full jar of cookies perched on a kitchen counter.