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Bake cookies for National Chocolate Chip Day

Sweet eats

Did you know that Friday is National Chocolate Chip Day? (Yes, we know -- what isn't there a holiday for?) But who can complain about a day set aside to celebrate chocolate chips?

A few years back, I visited Tate's Bake Shop in Southampton, N.Y., and stumbled upon the greatest chocolate chip cookie I could remember. I returned home to my kitchen and began trying to duplicate the texture and flavor. I substituted some oatmeal for part of the flour, and I used lots of brown sugar and toffee bits to give these cookies a crisp, crunchy texture.

The chocolate chip cookie can be either chewy or crispy, depending upon the recipe and how you place them on the cookie sheet. One of the keys to making superior cookies is to make up the dough a day and a half ahead, cover and refrigerate. This gives the baked cookie a richer, fuller flavor with notes of toffee and caramel.

Diane's chocolate chip cookies

Makes about 5 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies or 28 4-inch thin cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (if you prefer less sweet, use 60 percent bittersweet)

1/2 cup toffee bits

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, sugars and vanilla until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture a little at a time and beat until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips, toffee and nuts.

3. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. For cakier cookies: Using a teaspoon, drop cookies onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.

4. For crispier cookies: Using a 1-inch ice cream scoop, drop 4 scoops of cookie dough onto each baking sheet. Then press them into very thin rounds using the heel of your hand, leaving 2 inches between the cookies, until they are approximately 4 inches across.

5. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until golden. If using 2 racks, swap the baking sheets halfway through baking (these may need a minute or 2 longer to brown). Cookies will cook faster if using a dark nonstick cooking pan. Remove baking sheets from oven and let cookies cool on sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Store in airtight containers for up to one week, or freeze for another time.

Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 5 dozen: 102 calories, 6 grams fat, 11 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 17 milligrams cholesterol, 64 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 52 percent of calories from fat.

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