T's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve talked about classic American desserts like brownies and blondies on this blog, but it’s about time we had a post about chocolate chip cookies – after all, Pancakes & Biscotti has been around for nearly five months now, far too long of a time to not have shared the recipe for such a quintessential American cookie (especially one that is often requested by my non-American friends). So my apologies! Here is the recipe for The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.

These cookies come from my Aunt Laura, or as we have always called her, “T.” When I was younger “Auntie” was too difficult to pronounce, and so Auntie was shortened to “T” and the name has stuck ever since. It’s not surprising that the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten come from T, who has a bit of a history when it comes to sweets. When I was growing up, she made a “chocolate pizza” for my birthday every year, or rather a dessert “pizza” comprised of a round brownie “crust,” with chocolate icing as “sauce,” drizzles of white chocolate as “cheese” and M&Ms for pepperoni. She also made amazing congo bars* , and on more than one occasion when I was little blew all of our minds by suggesting that we skip dinner and go straight to Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream sundaes covered in hot fudge sauce and whipped cream.

Desserts aside, my Aunt is also amazing in a lot of other ways –she is an expert gardener and is always happy to help us with our own garden (her green thumb has not proved to be hereditary). She has done a fantastic job raising my cousin Dylan as a single mom, and in addition to being a great mother, is the best Aunt any could ever ask for – T has always been there for me whenever I need her, and even though I now live in Rome and she is in Rhode Island, we still manage to keep in touch via email and messenger.

These cookies are some of the best I’ve ever come across – they are everything a chocolate chip cookie should be: buttery and brown sugary, soft and thick and chewy, and heavy on the chocolate chips. My aunt has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember – she started making them for my cousin Dylan and his friends when they were little, and in recent years have been known to make the journey in the mail from Rhode Island to Dylan’s new home of New Orleans (he can’t go long without a chocolate chip cookie fix). Most recently, T was asked to make 185 of these cookies as favors for the wedding of a neighbor who had grown up eating them – not an easy feat, but all went off without a hitch and the guests left the wedding very happy.

Notes: If you want to have chocolate chip cookies ready at a moment’s notice, T suggests that you place the individual cookie-dough mounds on a cookie sheet and freeze them.  Then, they can be put into a freezer bag and frozen; when you need a cookies (or two or three), you can simply take them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven to bake. You can also use a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips, if you'd like. If you're in Italy and you only have access to the typical small chocolate chips, I would chop up bars of chocolate instead -- it's more work, but it tastes much better.

T's CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 heaping cups (11 ¾ ounces) flour
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. With an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until fluffy, and then add the sugars, one at a time. Mix everything together well. Beat in the vanilla extract.

With the mixer running, beat in the egg yolk until fully incorporated, and then add the whole egg. Add the baking soda and salt and beat until everything is fully incorporated. Slowly beat in the flour, mixing until just combined (if you over mix the cookies will become tough, so be careful to mix only as much as you need to!) Fold in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.

Using an ice cream scoop (or a large spoon, if you don’t have an ice cream scoop) scoop the cookie dough in to balls and place onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges but still soft in the middle, about 15 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheets halfway through baking to ensure even coloring. Makes about 20 cookies.





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