Chocolate Chip Conspiracy –

by

There is some disagreement about the origin of the chocolate chip, or Toll House Cookie. The only thing all the stories have in common is that they were invented somewhere around 1933 by Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn, Whitman Massachusetts. The basic cookie is a so-called “drop” cookie. The term drop generally means that about a tablespoon of dough is dropped onto a pan. The general mix involves flour, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla. There may be other goodies to flavor them differently, nuts and such lead the pack. Different bakers proportion the ingredients differently. But all of them share a commonality of ingredients and methods.

Unlike what you have always been told, you can experiment with ingredients and proportions to your hearts content. ‘Course you may wind up with something inedible, something nice, but different from the desired, or something great. Yeah, baking is touchier than meat or veggies, but it is not sacred. If you want to learn and grow – experiment.

If you want the straight Toll House Chocolate chip cookie, just use the recipe on the back of any Nestlé’s chocolate chips. You can play with that one a bit and then start your own variations.

Here’s one of mine:

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (I like dark)
1 ¼ cup butter
3 eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips or a mix
12 oz any mix of nuts, raisins, whatever

Mix up the sugars, butter, eggs, vanilla. Mix in salt, soda, 2 cups flour. Mix in chocolate, nuts, raisins. Slowly mix in the rest of the flour. The exact amount will depend on the ambient humidity. You want the batter sticky, but not soupy and not too stiff. Grease up your cookie sheets, drop tablespoons on the sheet. About 2” between. Bake them in a 375° oven for about 12 minutes. You know the drill – cool on wire racks after.

If your cookie resembles a golf ball – the dough was too stiff – too much flour.

If it resembles a thin layer of melted goo – the dough was too liquid – not enough flour.

My wife does not like raisins in her chocolate chips, I do. Try pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, whatever you like, or some mix thereof. Just put them in a strong plastic bag and beat them with a smooth kitchen mallet. Don’t get the pieces too small, you want them big enough to taste.

{{Herself Sez:}} Forget the raisins, and forget hitting the pecans with a mallet. Just get pecan halves and break them into halves (not quarters). I like large chunks of nuts in my chocolate chip cookies!! The chunks should be the same size – no larger, and not much smaller than – the chocolate chips. The volume should be balanced – same amount of nuts as chips. But the Ol’ Curmudgeon and I have arrived at a compromise – we eat them the way he makes them. If I want them a different way, I have to make them! The raisins are optional.

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