I make them and they’re gone! Hubby and kids just adore these simple chocolate chip cookies. The guys in our youth group could never refuse them. Sometimes, the simple things are the best. Baking has never been a forte of mine simply because you have to follow the recipes much more closely than other types of cooking. I prefer to cook a nice meal when I can add a bit here, or substitute something there, and the like. However my sister, Rachel, is an excellent baker. She even likes to do the fancy cake decorating, although she never liked to clean up the kitchen after her creative endeavors. ahem! But in my case, even cookies never turned out very well when I tried them. This was a problem for me when I married my sweetheart. Because after all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. So as a newlywed, it was one of my goals to make a decent chocolate chip cookie for my hubby to enjoy.
The first thing that helped me was my KitchenAid mixer. We used some of our wedding gifts to buy one, and I use it often now. Not only do I use it for baking, but I use it to mix up my meatloaf using the dough hook. Shredding chicken is much easier using the mixing paddle, too. So the first time I nervously made a batch of cookies, I used the mixer to save my arms. And sure enough, I think it made a difference that first time. Apparently, one of my previous failures was that I never mixed my ingredients very well!
Having discovered the value of simple recipes while cooking my savory dishes, I reached for my trusty old Betty Crocker cookbook. The recipe was tried and true, and it worked fairly well that first time. Although they were too flat and would become brittle after just a day in the Ziploc bag. I would classify them as “satisfactory.” My hubby liked them, and they were good. But I wanted to keep my eyes open for any tips that might make them better.
The Food Network Cable channel was a godsend for me during those years. I learned quite a bit, including how to tweek my cookie recipe. Alton Brown’s episode on how to adjust the ingredients to get the desired cookie was the greatest help in my quest. The main things I adjusted (from the good old Better Crocker recipe) were the amount of brown sugar, and the type of fat. I increased the brown sugar to make it more chewy. And instead of using all butter, which melts at a lower temperature thereby making a flatter cookie, I decreased the butter and added shortening, which melts at a higher temperature, thereby letting the cookie stay puffy longer while it bakes through. When I have Butter Flavored Crisco on hand I use that, and it’s delicious. The result is the following recipe!
One new twist has surfaced. Recently, we moved from Kansas City (elevation @800 ft.) to the Northwest in Eureka, MT (elevation 2566 ft). I had to recall my old baking habits from my teen years living in Colorado. In higher elevations, boiling points are lower because of the change in pressure so food cooks faster. That’s how I remember it, at least. So I simply increase the flour by at least half a cup, and I decrease the temperature a bit. The recipe below is the basic Midwest recipe. So if you live there, follow it exactly. If you are in a higher elevation, then make those changes…or adjust it how you normally do for your recipes. I kinda just keep adding flour until the dough becomes less sticky and more like we are used to seeing. Use chocolate chips or any other mix-ins you like. This time, I used white chips and M&Ms.
At any rate, these are soft, chewy cookies that are a favorite with everyone. Enjoy!
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup shortening or Butter Flavored Crisco
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 baking soda
- 1-2 cups chocolate chips
- Using a standing mixer, cream sugars, eggs, butter, and shortening together until smooth. Mix in dry ingredients just until fully combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Roll into 1" balls and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container.
- Optional: use any mix-ins you desire. M&Ms, white chips, peanut butter chips, nuts, etc.