Friday, March 8, 2013

White House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last weekend I took Ryan for a overnight college visit to Wells College in Aurora, NY.  We got there earlier than we needed to so we could explore the area.  The first town we went to was Ithica.  We went there because that is the only place in the entire area that has a mall.  It seems that Ryan needed to buy a pair of pants for her college visit.  I would have rather driven by Cornell University instead of shopping at Sears, but these things happen when you have a teen.  One of the places we ended up was a used book store. While Ryan bought Animal Farm by George Orwell, I went the more fun route. I purchased "Mom's Big Book of Cookies - 200 Family Favorites You'll Love Making and Your Kids Will Love Eating" by Lauren Chattman.  I looked the book up on Amazon from my phone and it looked like I was getting a really good deal.  On top of that, it looked brand new.  Not to mention, the recipes really caught my eye.  I knew I wanted to make most of them.  I told Ryan that I was going to start from the first recipe and work my way through to all 200.  Once I started with the first recipe, which was a good ole chocolate chip, I realized I will not always have the right ingredients unless I plan ahead.  Planning ahead means you have to be organized all the time.  Not so much.  Since the book is divided into ten sections, I decided that as long as I made all the cookies in each section before moving onto the next, I could make the cookies in each section out of order.  

This is the second recipe I have made.  I wasn't thrilled with the first regular chocolate chip.  It was okay, but I've had better.  I will be adding my two cents to the recipes, such as how long did I bake the cookies, did I swap out or add any ingredients, etc.  Oh, I also decided that if there is something in the cookie that I don't like, and there really isn't a way to swap with a different ingredient (such as coffee), then I will probably skip that recipe.  I don't see that happening too much, though.

This cookie was adapted from White House Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier's chocolate chip cookies.  His secret ingredient is molasses.  The recipe calls for milk chocolate chips, but you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I used mint & semi sweet chips (that come together in one package).  It also calls for walnuts or pecans.  I love pecans in any baked good, but a lot of people do not like, or are allergic to, nuts, so I usually leave them out.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift and combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

Cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together in a mixer until well incorporated.

Add the molasses, eggs and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.

Stir in the flour mixture until just mixed.  Add the chocolate chips (and nuts if you choose to use them).

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  I use a cookie scooper from Pampered Chef.  I have tried many inexpensive ones and they eventually break.  This one, so far, has really held up and it makes a good size cookie.

Bake the cookie until golden brown for 10 minutes.  Depending on the size of your cookie, you might have to subtract or add time.  The tops should be soft when they come out of the oven.

Let the cookies stay on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes.  Remove them with a metal spatula to a wire rack until fully cooled (though I have to eat one  while they are still hot).

I like to put my cookies in a zip lock back and immediately put them in the downstairs freezer (where there is almost always one or several baked goods).  When you want one or more, heat them up in the microwave and they taste like they just came out of the oven.

I can't wait to try these again with milk chocolate chips.

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