Chocolate Chip Cookies: Kid’s Play, Happiness and a Recipe
Actually, it’s very rare that I get to taste any of my recipes made by other people. I know people make them – friends call and you, my wonderful friends in the blogosphere, write – but generally they don’t make them for me, which is one reason why last night’s dessert, a variation on My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, was so special. The other reason was that the cookies were made, from start to finish, with only one or two fatherly assists, by Mitchell, a 9-year-old with definite tastes.
Because Mitchell knows what he likes, he made some decisions about the recipe. He wanted chocolate-chip cookies, but he didn’t want “plain” cookies, so he made a Playing Around variation, Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies. He likes cookies softer than crisper, so he made his a little bigger and baked them a tad less. Because he loves cookies when the chips are gooey, he served them warm. Finally, because he’s as busy as the rest of us, he made the dough ahead of time, shaped it into balls, refrigerated the mounds, and then popped them on the baking sheet and slid them into the oven just as we were finishing our main course.
The cookies were a hit all around: we all loved them; I was delighted beyond measure to see Mitchell make them; and Mitchell was, like all of us bakers, so happy that he had made everyone around the table happy. It was the perfect end to a great evening.
COCOA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Makes about 45 cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt (go for 1 1/4 teaspoons if you really like salt)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 2 cups storebought chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda and keep close at hand.
Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts. (The dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen. If you’d like, you can freeze rounded tablespoons of dough, ready for baking. There’s no need to defrost before baking – just add another minute or two to the baking time.)
Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
Bake the cookies – one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point – for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are set around the edges; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that’s just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.