every once in awhile this adult gig has its perks...like having fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies for breakfast...yum...
last month i made a spur of the moment chocolate cake (with chocolate chips added, because i needed more chocolate). yeah, it's cyclical. totally.
ahem, reason for the post though...i had gone on a baking hiatus for several years & last holiday season when i started back up, i was a little out of practice & had forgotten so many of my little tricks. i think i got them all down & decided i better document them before they are lost to old age. [i'm going to put some basic stuff in here too]
- although recipes always tell you to start with soft butter, bring your eggs out early too. my mom always told me the eggs mixed in better at room temp.
- for your fats [i know that sounds gross, but i actually have a recipe that states it that way (then breaks down to oil or lard) but the term is all encompassing, so deal]. i've tried all butter (low melting point & you end up with great flavored pancake-like cookies) & all crisco (even with "butter-flavored" it just doesn't measure up but cookies have better shape); in the end decided the best route 1/2 butter 1/2 crisco...always. no matter what the recipe says.
- mix sugars (i don't pat down brown sugar, i like to taste the flavor of the dough & not have a complete sugar overload) & fats in a large bowl. scramble the egg & vanilla (or other flavoring) in your measuring cup before adding to your sugar/fat mixture (blends easier & isn't so gross to look at).
- when measuring out the flour, take back a tbsp or 2 & replace with cornstarch (unless the recipe already calls for some). the cornstarch gives great lift to cookies, but don't add more than a tbsp or 2 otherwise your cookies will be picture perfect but may break a tooth.
-before you add the last of the flour mixture to the sugar/fat/egg mixture keep a little tiny bit in the bowl, add your semi-sweet (only!) chocolate chips & nuts to give them a light dusting; this will help them stick to the batter. (i don't ever measure out my chips, tons otherwise why bother? peanut butter cookies with chips? yup. oatmeal with chips? of course) also keep the bag of chips near, after each round i evaluate the remaining batter & add more as necessary.
- cookie sheets, it really does pay off to have 2 nice pans. don't bother with different size package deals, they're just a pain to store anyways. after each batch, let them rest for a minute on the pan to cool & keep their shape. after they're removed from the pan wipe it down with a napkin or paper towel to remove crumbs (if left they will burn & stick to your next batch).