Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
In search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie
By Susan Reilly firstname.lastname@example.org
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 375Â°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.