Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I fought the cookie and the cookie won...

***picture forthcoming***

SO. For a while now, I have been having a little "cookie problem." I'm not sure from whence my dysfunction stems, but I can't seem to produce a normal-ish cookie. In the past few months, I've had cookies that hopelessly ran together, cookies that burned to a crisp and cookies that refused to spread out (but instead puffed straight up). What's the DEAL? I think my oven is functioning properly, so the problem must rely with the cook.

On Sunday I set out to change this unfortunate streak with a tried and true recipe (Cook's Illustrated--how could I go wrong?). I made their oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies and while I'm happy to report that 90% of them turned out just fine, I probably should mention that three of them caught fire. Yes. Really. I still have no idea what happened there.

All in all, the cookies were great (lots of nice butter flavor and a dense and chewy texture) and, Lord willing, if you try them they probably won't spontaneously combust.

Stephen says: Why is the kitchen filled with black smoke? Have you been making cookies again?
Stephen's rating (of the non-burnt cookies): 7.5

Courtesy Cook's Illustrated

If you prefer a less sweet cookie, you can reduce the white sugar by one-quarter cup, but you will lose some crispness. Do not overbake these cookies. The edges should be brown but the rest of the cookie should still be very light in color. Parchment makes for easy cookie removal and cleanup, but it’s not a necessity. If you don’t use parchment, let the cookies cool directly on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 pound), softened but still firm
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust oven racks to low and middle positions; heat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time.

2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together, then stir them into butter-sugar mixture with wooden spoon or large rubber spatula. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

3. Form dough into sixteen to twenty 2-inch balls, placing each dough round onto one of two parchment paper–covered, large cookie sheets. Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. (Halfway during baking, turn cookie sheets from front to back and also switch them from top to bottom.) Slide cookies on parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.


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