One of the only requests I had when visiting Mike and Amanda was that I wanted Amanda to teach me how she makes chocolate chip cookies. Her cookies are the best. I mean it. Really. I’m completely 100-percent serious about this. The very best. I’ve had her recipe forever, but somehow mine never turn out like hers. They always taste really good, but they don’t have the soft, chewy hills and valleys that hers always have. They end up, for some reason, flat. It might be the higher altitude of Utah or it might be that my baking powder is old or maybe it was something wrong with my technique. I don’t know, but I wanted to improve. So on a Sunday morning (since their church doesn’t begin until 1:00 pm, the worst time ever for church, unless it is 1:15 pm, like mine), we decided to make some cookies. Amanda gave me permission to share with you what I learned.
First, here’s the ingredients:
- 3 sticks of butter, soft
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 1.5 cups of golden brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups of flour
- 1 tsp of salt (one of her tricks is to add just a little bit more than that)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 bag semi-sweet chips or whatever you want…. sometimes we do a mixture of different kinds of chips or Amanda has even added chopped up candybars.
Now I’ll walk you through how to make it. These little girls sat at the counter and watched too.
And sometimes they were lucky enough to get a chocolate chip or two.
Your butter should already be soft. Ideally, leave it out for a few hours so it softens naturally. If you must soften it in the microwave, do so very, very carefully. I’ve found that if I put it in for a few seconds on half power, it helps. Dump your soft butter in the mixer. Then add the white and brown sugar. And whip it so it gets really, really fluffy. You might think that you have whipped it enough, but I think this is one of the things I wasn’t doing right. I wouldn’t whip it for very long. Amanda whipped hers for what seemed like forever until it got really nice and fluffy with lots of air. It should look something like this:
Amanda whipped hers for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and whip it some more in between each egg so that the egg is really worked through. You shouldn’t see any of the yolk and it should be really fluffy again. Then add the vanilla. And again whip it some more. You can add the chocolate chips to the batter at this point and mix them around so they are evenly distributed.
In a separate bowl, add the flour. A little trick Amanda taught me is to kind of use the measuring cup to lift up the flour so that it isn’t packed down too much. It’s basically like sifting it, but much easier. You want it to be light and airy. Then add the salt (remember, just a little more than normal so you get that salty/sweet yumminess going), baking powder, and baking soda. Use a whisk to stir it all together.
Then add all of the dry ingredients to the mixer and spin it just once or twice so it is lightly mixed together. This is another difference. I used to add my flour a little bit at a time until it was all stirred together. My dough ended up being kind of dry and not very sticky. Amanda’s dough was much wetter. The flour was still mixed in, but it wasn’t over mixed.
At this point, you can give some spatulas of cookie dough to the kids so they are happy.
Peter, who was playing with his Star Wars Legos (of course!) up to this point, somehow got wind of the cookie dough sampling and came in for his own share.
Preheat your oven to 375.
Then make balls of dough about the size below:
Or you can also make giant bakery-sized cookies by using 1/4 measuring cup. Amanda made a few of those because she was giving them away as thank-you gifts to some people at church who helped her out recently.
Then bake them in the oven for 9 minutes (for the small ones and 14 minutes for the giant ones). When they come out of the oven, they will still look a little doughy, but that’s ok. They continue to bake a little on the cookie sheet for 5 more minutes. Then remove them to some cooling racks.
Amanda wanted to show me the difference between the cookies when you over-mix the flour, so here’s a comparison:
The cookie on the left is the over-mixed one. Notice how puffy it is. It’s not quite as chewy as the one on the right, which was perfectly mixed.
I know everyone has their own preference for chocolate chip cookies. My mom loves hers very brown and dry, and Matt likes his flat. But Amanda’s cookies are my ideal cookie. I haven’t had a chance to put the tips I learned into practice yet. Hopefully, they turn out just as good as Amanda’s.