Saturday, December 3, 2011

Singing, Baking, and Making Merry: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

After reading this post from my friend Bethany yesterday, I decided I wanted to make a conscious effort to get into the Christmas spirit.  I knew we had snow on the way, and after a relatively snow-free November (I'm not complaining!), I was ready for things to start looking a little less like Thanksgiving and a little more like Christmas.
Funny Thanksgiving story: After a long day of celebrating and no nap to speak of, my almost two-year-old daughter fell asleep on a trampoline WHILE her cousins were jumping on it. I knew exactly how she felt.
Back to Christmas! So I cranked up the Children's Christmas Radio Station on Pandora and decided to bake some cookies. Listening to a new talker sing Jingle Bells: Cutest. Thing. Ever.  This was the first time I had my youngest help out with the cookies (I usually save baking for nap time), and she did a great job.  Somehow sibling rivalry was kept to a minimum and both girls were happy taking turns dumping in ingredients. I modified the Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe subbing in 3/4 cup white chocolate chips for chocolate chips since I'd had a partial bag sitting around.  I used dark brown sugar because for some reason I'm often blinded in the baking aisle and grab dark instead of light.  And I baked them at 350 instead of 375 simply because I turned on the oven and then forgot to check the recipe for the baking temp.  Fortunately the cookies turned out delicious!  For some reason it took me 31+ years to figure out that I like cookies slightly undercooked and to consciously make them this way.  I also liked how the white chocolate chips toned down the sweetness of the cookie without sacrificing chunky goodness.  I have found my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe! My husband agreed. He was super curious what I did differently and actually said they were the best he's ever had. I call that a win!

The original recipe yields 5 dozen cookies, or so it says.  I think I ended up with just over 2 dozen.  Where did those other 3 dozen cookies go?  Are the Hershey's people making tiny cookies?  Are they not sampling the cookie dough?

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely or until you can't wait another minute. About 2 dozen cookies.

So as the sun was going down last night, my three-year-old and I shoveled a few inches of snow from our driveway. Someone in our neighborhood was enjoying a fire in their fireplace (thank you wood-burning fireplace-owning neighbors; that smell is home to me), and we are a couple snowy steps closer to Christmas.

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