I must say, I really like cooking and baking, but cookies (especially those for Christmas, named in German “Weihnachtsplätzchen”) never seemed to be right. Either they’re bland and boring. Or burned.
So when I first made this recipe, it was for Cookie Dough Ice Cream, not cookies. But after making a whole batch I realized I only needed half of it for the ice cream. Then I decided to give it a try and bake the rest of it – and to my surprise, it was a full success! Since then, I like baking cookies, at least based on the recipe below.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
adapted from Ben & Jerry
100 g / 1 stick / 1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract OR 1 package vanilla sugar
1 cup / 125 g flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Measure and put aside all your ingredients. The cool thing about this recipe is that you need each measuring cup once. So no messing up other bowls.
Get the butter out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature. If the butter is very cold and you’re in a hurry, here’s a little trick: cut the butter in to cubes (approx. the size of the dice in a regular board game). Let some water boil and put it into your mixing bowl. When the bowl feels hot on the outside, toss the water out, dry the bowl quickly and put in the butter cubes. They will soften in minutes, but will not melt.
Put the paddle attachment on your mixer, and beat the butter with both sugars on medium speed until it looks light and fluffy, and until some sugar crystals have dissolved. Slow down a bit, add the egg and vanilla, speed up again and beat it until you have an emulsion, that is no streaks of egg left.
In my opinion, you should take out the egg out of the fridge with the butter to get to room temperature. This first step of the creaming method is about getting an emulsion between the fat in the butter and the water in the egg. And that simply works best if both ingredients have the same temperature (see mayo post for more insights into emulsions).
Continue with medium speed and add the flour in 2 to 3 installments (slow down for adding, then speed up to mix it all in). With the last installment, add the salt and the baking powder. You want a dough that is soft but keeps its shape.
Go to low speed and add the pecan and chocolate bits. Grab a spoon and taste it. Yum!
In my opinion, this makes a tremendous amount of cookies, especially if there’s just two eaters and the half of the dough is perfect for making a liter/quart of Cookie Dough Ice Cream. Just freeze it in a flat shape between sheets of plastic wrap, cut into pieces and add in the last minute of the ice cream process.
As I like rather smaller cookies, I used my measuring tablespoon to get out equally sized heaps of cookie dough on a parchment paper. As you can see in the photo, those are way to close to each other for baking – that would result in one big rectangular cookie. No, I froze the batter this way and when those little balls were rock-hard I filled them into a Ziploc bag with the baking instruction written on it.
So every time I need cookies, I preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F, take out the amount of cookie dough I think will be enough (of course it never is) and bake them for 12-14 minutes. Yes, with a stopwatch.