Digital Kitchen Scale
Recently, someone asked me why I post so many of my recipes in Metric measures (you know who you are!) instead of cups and Imperial measures. I said, "Well, I'm from Malaysia and we measured all our cooking and baking in grams." To which she responded, "You're in the US now, so get with it!" Ok, well, there are other reasons I do so.
Firstly, instead of cups, weighing your ingredients provides the best, most accurate measurement (more so when you're baking). Secondly, a lot of my recipes were handed to me from family and friends or cookbooks from Malaysia so the measurements are already written out that way (and if you really need to do the conversion, just Google it). And finally, even Alton Brown says it's much better to weigh your ingredients (especially flour) and metric measures are much more accurate (smaller units) so you get a more precise amount.
No Metric Measures (This Time!)
Okay fine, for those of you who've been turned off from trying my recipes because of the metric, here's one for you. (But seriously folks, get thee that kitchen scale I keep trying to convince you to buy and your life will be so much easier!)
This chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from my friend Gina. She is a wonderful baker and comes from a family of good bakers. I know this after having tried all the yummy baked goods her mom sent to her in Hawaii.
Chocolate chip cookies must be about as American as you can get. I think I've always identified this cookie as the American cookie (Famous Amos did that to us Malaysians). And I just love the chewy, soft texture of this chocolate chip cookie.
In Malaysia, most of our cookies are crispy or crumbly (yes, even the Famous Amos ones were crisp). I don't think I had tried a chewy cookie until I got to the US. I loved it so much that when I went home to Malaysia for a visit, I baked them this cookie. Sad to say, my family thought my cookies had "lau hong" (become stale) because they were chewy. Sigh....
Delicious Cookie Dough
Oh well, their loss, my gain. I absolutely love the taste of this cookie dough. The cookie dough is so delicious that I almost love it more than the chocolate chips. Sacrilege I know. But this last time I made it, I used Scharffen Berger chocolate chunks and they really took this cookie to another level. Both together created the best of both worlds cookie!
I also love nuts in my chocolate chip cookies. I normally use walnuts (and always end up adding more than the recipe calls for) but I have also tried it with other nuts like macadamia nuts and pecans.
I have also added Heath bar chunks to it before. I got this idea from a friend who sent me chocolate chip cookies last Christmas. But when I tried it, I got overzealous in chopping up the bar and they ended up being too small to really get a nice crunch to the cookie. So, if you do add Heath bar chunks, better make sure they remain in pretty large chunks.
Texture and Time
Now, because this recipe is in cup measure, your flour might be too little or too much. It does make a difference because it will be the difference between really nice shaped cookies that look very inviting or flat cookies that are more crispy and not as chewy.
How I tell is the texture of the cookie dough. If it's too sticky, you will need to add a bit more flour. I don't really know how to describe the perfect feel of the cookie dough but if you practice enough, you will understand after a few batches (and c'mon, choc chip cookies are something you should make at least once a month if not more often so you should be able to easily get enough practice!).
As for baking, let me just tell you that you should pretty much stick to the time suggested. When I first baked this cookie (remember in Malaysia we only did crispy, crunchy, crumbly cookies), after the timer buzzed, I took it out and it was so soft that I thought, "it's not done!" and stuck it in again for five more minutes. Took it out, and it was still soft, so I stuck it in again.
Yeah, when I finally took it out and let it cool, I could've put someone's eye out with it. So, a word from the real novice, it should be golden brown around the edges and still soft when you take it out. But you guys knew that right? I'm the only idiot without a clue! But just in case there's another idiot out there like me...
Alright, on to the recipe!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter (but I've used salted butter with no problems)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar (by the way, I always cut the sugars by 1/4-1/3, it's just me so it's up to you on that one)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 oz chocolate chips/chunks
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or more if you're like me)
1 bar Heath toffee, cut into large chunks (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place parchment paper over cookie sheets.
2. Cream brown sugar and white sugar with butter. Don't overmix to the point of becoming fluffy.
3. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.
4. Stir in dry ingredients. At this point, the dough will get pretty stiff. I just use the lowest speed setting on the Kitchen Aid to help me but it does help to mix by hand at the end.
5. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts and Heath bar chunks.
6. Pinch off golf ball sized chunk of dough and place on cookie sheet. They don't have to be rolled up neatly. Just getting a rough round shape is good enough (I like the funky odd dents and mounds in choc chip cookies, don't you?). Make sure to space the cookies about an inch apart.
7. Bake in preheated oven for about 9-12 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
By the way, notice how the cookies on the left are taller than the ones on the right. Why the difference? The one on the left was baked on a pan covered by a Silpat silicone baking mat, while the one on the right was baked on a pan covered by just non-stick aluminum foil. The foil heated up faster and caused the dough to spread out faster before setting. Better to use parchment paper, but it's still not too bad.