About The Saturday Chef

Midwest, United States
I am NOT a professional chef. I am what I affectionately dub a Saturday Chef—a weekend warrior of the culinary variety, fortified by the education I have gleaned from two high school cooking classes, the Food Network and my own gastronomical experiments. While I’m not ashamed to spend all day making bagels by hand, and proudly call myself a foodie, I’m not a food snob. I enjoy an Extra Value Meal as much as the next girl. My culinary escapades are still relegated to the weekends, but my love for cooking is stronger than ever, galvanized by more successes than failures, and the beautiful fact that the more I cook, the more people there are to feed. So please stay tuned for fun recipes, inevitable disasters and hopefully, a lot of good food.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever


I’m actually embarrassed to make the forthcoming confession, but I’m going to do it anyway, because this is a safe place of sharing. 

Here it is:  I went to one of those yuppy suburban high schools, the kind that’s very similar to West Beverly High on “90210,” where the kids go to a school with uniforms and the scoreboards provided by Pespi, and have an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a field house with joint-cushioning springs underneath.  

I’m not ashamed of my high school, because I got a great education and had a great time.  More than that, I had some amazing lunches.  Because our cafeteria was awesome.  It was better than the food served in college, and even in some restaurants.  I had access to salads, burgers, fries, hot pretzels, chicken sandwiches, fried cheese on Tuesdays, and even had two different flavors of low-fat ice cream twice a week.  It was ‘til this day some of the best food I’ve ever had…and 11 years later, I still crave two things: salty French fries and nacho cheese, but mostly, the chocolate chip cookies.  

I am a Cookie Monster.  I inherited the gene from my grandmother, and the cookies I had at that school, the cookies I could smell baking in the hallway around the start of fourth period, were the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.  And the reason my dessert of choice, my treat after a crappy day, my favorite snack to sneak into the movies is chocolate chip cookies.  

A year ago, I set out to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, one that rivaled my high school’s freshly baked delights.  

The recipe on the back of the Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip bag was a good start, but I knew I could do better.  And I tried a few others that were good, but they just weren’t right.  I also refused to make a recipe by Jacques Torres that requires bread flour, a chocolate so fancy  I couldn’t even find or afford it and 24 hours. After awhile, I felt like the Goldilocks of Chocolate Chip cookies.  

Until I discovered this recipe.  

And they are by far, the most perfect chocolate chip cookie that’s ever come out of my kitchen.  They’re easy to make, chewy, chocolaty, decadent and with a little pinch of sea salt, they are a bit more complex than the average cookie.  

So I might not use calculus or chemistry, but this is one lesson from high school I'll never forget.  Go Highlanders!

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever
Adapted from Savory Sweet Life
Yield: About 3 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling (do not use table salt)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 360 degrees. 
Cream butter, white and dark brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium-high.  Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes. 
In a separate bowl mix in flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Whisk to combine.  Add half of flour mixture to sugar and eggs and beat just enough to incorporate.  Scrap down the sides with a spatuala and add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend again.  
Add the chocolate chips.  Mix until well-distributed.  The batter should be somewhat thick but airy. 
Drop about 2 tablespoons (or you can use a medium cookie scoop) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Gently pat or shape cookies into a smooth round shape.  Sprinkle cookies with a scant amount of sea salt.  This is optional, but it adds great texture and the burst of salt both highlights and contrasts the flavors. 
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or just until the cookies are a light golden broken.  Remove from the heat, but allow cookies to remain on the baking sheet for another 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cool, non-porous surface lined with parchment paper.  Allow cookies to cool for another few minutes. It will take the willpower of a saint, but try anyway.  ;)