Chips off the old block

I’m in a chocolate-chip cookie phase. Been experimenting with recipes this year to find the most perfectly delicious cookie I can make. I’ve even entered one in an online cookie contest!

I don’t like tough, crispy or chewy chocolate chip cookies. I like ’em soft, like when they first come out of the oven and the chips are all melty and gooey. Messy cookie = good cookie. I think it comes down to a matter of baking them for precisely the right amount of time, best I can tell.

I found a recipe for the “perfect chocolate chip cookie,” or something like that, in my America’s Test Kitchen magazine and decided to give it a try. Now, I enjoy watching America’s Test Kitchen on TV, but in my view, they sometimes make mountains out of molehills. I can appreciate that they are trying to create the best recipe they can, but they make things harder than they have to be. After making their chocolate chip cookies, and using about five additional steps than I normally would, I found the cookies to be disappointingly crunchy, even after the recipe promised they would be lovely and soft.

What I HAVE found that makes a difference, in addition to making sure not to overbake, is the addition of a simple ingredient – a box of instant pudding mix. Something about the pudding keeps the cookies more moist and lends a rich, luxurious consistency to the batter.

After quite a bit of experimentation, here are two recipes I’ve come up with that I really like. Both make about three dozen small cookies, or 18-20 big-scoop cookies. I use an ice cream scoop to measure out the dough to ensure even sizes. Make sure to store them in an airtight container to preserve the freshness.

Cherry double-chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine (softened)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (4 ounce) package instant pudding, chocolate flavor
2 large eggs
1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°.

Reconstitute the dried cherries by placing them into a small bowl and covering them with boiling water. Let sit for about five minutes, then drain them well and give them a rough chop. If you like a chewier cookie, you can leave them dried and simply rough chop them as is.

Sift flour and cocoa with baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars and beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and pudding mix. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes, then beat again. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and cherries.

Using a small or large ice cream scoop, scoop the dough into balls place two or three inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the tops slightly. If you like, dust the tops with a little sanding sugar for a pretty finished appearance.

Bake for 9-10 minutes for small cookies, 13-14 minutes for large. Let cool on a rack.

Pistachio chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine (softened)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (4 ounce) package instant pudding, pistachio flavor
2 large eggs
1 (12 ounce) package milk chocolate chips
1 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°.

Sift flour with baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugars and pudding mix. Beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Let rest for 5 minutes, then beat again. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts.

Using a small or large ice cream scoop, scoop the dough into balls place two or three inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the tops slightly.

Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes for small cookies, 12-13 minutes for large cookies. Cool on a rack.

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2 thoughts on “Chips off the old block

  1. Having tested the chocolate cherry cookies myself, I must vouch for them. Delicious! The jury is still out on the pistachio version, but I will be happy to sample some!

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