The history of chocolate chip cookies began in 1937. Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband had purchased an old roadside stopping point and turned it into an inn for travelers. They named it the Toll House Inn, which is now a name synonymous with chocolate chip cookies. Ruth was making a version of an older recipe for Butter Drop Do cookies, which had a version with chocolate. She put in part of a chopped Nestle bar. But the bar didn't melt, thus creating the first chocolate chip cookie.
The name Toll House is no longer trademarked, but this chocolate cookie is hands-down the best. Variations include adding everything from oatmeal, M&M's, and nuts to create a monster cookie. This is a versatile basic cookie recipe that is easy to modify. Gather the essentials:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees f. Get cookie pans and cooling racks out.
The butter should be softened on the counter before starting. Be careful to get it soft but not melted. Begin by creaming the wet ingredients, butter, vanilla, and eggs until all one consistency. Add the sugar and brown sugar and mix thoroughly. Measure the dry ingredients, except the chips and nuts, into a second bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork or whisk to avoid clumps of baking soda. Add dry ingredients to the mixture and stir until fully mixed. A standing mixer can also be used, but prepare the dough in the same manner.
Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. For less chocolaty cookies, use 3/4 of the bag. Stir thoroughly. If nuts are used, they can be added at the same time as the chocolate. You can replace part of the flour with oatmeal, half of a cup for a half of a cup if desired.
Using two teaspoons, place rounded spoonfuls of cookie dough onto the cookie sheets. Don't flatten the dough and leave room for it to spread during baking. Place cookie sheets in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. Depending on your oven, the cookies should bake for 10-12 minutes.
After removing the cookie sheets from the oven, allow the cookies to cool for one or two minutes. Gently lift them off of the cookie sheet and place on cooling racks. After the cookie sheet has cooled enough to handle, you can begin spooning up more cookie dough to bake. The quantity of finished cookies depends on the size. This recipe typically makes 2-3 dozen.
Chocolate chip cookies are very popular hot out of the oven. They are soft and chewy, and delicious. They can be dunked in coffee or milk, or eaten as is, even completely cooled. It might be hard to imagine that you could have any leftover cookies, especially if there are children in the home. But sometimes, there are more cookies than you have room for. They can be placed in plastic bags and refrigerated for a week, or placed into the freezer for up to two months.
Chocolate chip cookie dough can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Some recipes suggest refrigerating the dough for thirty minutes before baking. This is an easy way to have warm cookies at night after a hard day at work or to have everything prepared for the kids to help after school.
A variation to drop cookies, sliced cookies create a more uniform result. The basic chocolate chip cookie dough can be refrigerated, divided in half and rolled into logs. Refrigerate until cool again, and slice off 1/2 inch. Arrange the slices on cookie sheets, then bake and cool them as with the basic recipe.
Chocolate chip cookie dough can also be used to make blonde brownies. To do so, grease a jelly roll pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. They need to be closely watched so as not to burn or dry out. Place the pan on top of a cooling rack. Once cool, slice the blonde brownies into bars.
You will get different results from shortening or margarine than from butter. Shortening makes thicker cookies, while those made with butter are typically flatter. Slightly underbaking chocolate chip cookies keep them softer and chewier, although you want to make sure they are completely cooked due to the egg. You may need to add a tablespoon of water or milk if your flour is extremely dry, or if you are using smaller eggs.
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