November 30, 2006

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Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
In search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie
By Susan Reilly  news@hippopress.com

There are few things that smell as good as chocolate chip cookies in the oven.

Puffy, thin and crisp, flat and chewy, thick and gooey, each style has its own fan club. A fresh baked chocolate chip cookie is everything a Chips Ahoy isn’t.

But if they are so easy to make, why do so many come out so bad?

Locally, three cookies makers weighed in on what makes a great chocolate chip cookie. Not one of them would share their top-secret recipe, but they did pass on helpful tips.

At the Dutch Epicure in Amherst, owner Michael Ciola says that the key to a top-notch chocolate chip cookie is ingredients.

“Good chocolate chips, no imitation chocolate or vanilla extract, and good butter and brown sugar, that is how you get the melt-in-your-mouth cookie of your dreams,” he said.

At the Dutch Epicure, chocolate chip cookies cost $12 a pound. One pound has approximately 16 cookies in it.

In Nashua, Patisserie Bleu sells huge chocolate chip cookies for $1.25 each.

Co-owner Lynda Mealey agrees with Ciola in that ingredients are key. And, she added, the beauty of chocolate chip cookies is that they are so versatile.

“We add M&M’s and nuts and such to the batter,”she said.

At Michelle’s Gourmet Pastries in Manchester, owner Michelle Moulis makes chocolate chip cookies that are raised.

“I can not tell you how I get them to do that, it is a secret,” she said.

Like the Dutch Epicure and Patisserie Bleu, Michelle’s Gourmet Pastries has a faithful cookie following.

“Everyone likes what they like and when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, people have very specific likes. It is tough to please everyone,” she said.

Betcha bite a chip
Chocolate Chip Cookies, the foolproof recipe
From Gourmet magazine, October 2003

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (16 oz)
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Lightly beat 1 egg with a fork in a small bowl and add 1 3/4 tablespoons of it plus 2 remaining whole eggs to butter mixture, beating with mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture until just blended, then stir in chips.

Scoop 1/4 cup batter for each cookie, arranging mounds 3 inches apart, on 2 baking sheets. Flatten mounds into 3-inch rounds using moistened palm of your hand. Form remaining cookies on additional sheets of parchment.

Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool and continue making cookies in same manner using cooled baking sheets.

Cooks’ note: Cooled cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days. Makes about 28 large (4 1/2-inch) cookies.



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06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
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Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
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Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

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Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

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Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
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