Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What A Boy Wants

A teenage boy that is, who just turned 18 wants for his birthday treat. I asked Erik want kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. I enjoy decorating a cake for my kids' birthdays. Since he was turning 18 I thought he might want something elaborate. He said when asked the question, "Does it have to be a cake?" I thought, "Oh no what am I going to get myself into." I said, "No, it doesn't." He says, "Can I have a giant cookie?!" I wiped my brow as I knew it was going to be a piece of cake! I have a large round Pampered Chef stone (I see they have a handle now a great improvement) perfect for cooking a giant cookie. I doubled our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I wouldn't want my giant cookie to turn into an "almost giant cookie" just because I didn't have enough dough.

How did this become our favorite recipe.... about 22 years ago a friend and I were Ombudsmen for our husbands squadron. We arranged a get together for the wives. She and I each made a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the occasion. As we sat in the empty Naval Hall waiting for the wives to get there I noticed that my cookies were completely different from her cookies. I really liked the look of her cookies. They looked plump and chewy whereas mine were thin and crisp. I asked what recipe she used. She said with her beautiful slow southern drawl, "Oh I always use the recipe on the back of the Nestle's chocolate chips." I quickly said, "No you didn't." She looked at me startled. I had used the recipe on the back of the Nestle chocolate chips and mine were thin and crisp. She laughed and said, "Yes I DID." Again, I said, "No you didn't." I knew she couldn't possibly have used the recipe and have cookies that were so different from mine. We were friends and I knew she wasn't lying, but something was amiss. I went into detective mode.

We had some time before anyone would be showing up. I decided that if she had indeed used the same recipe as me she had to have used a different ingredient. I asked did she follow the recipe precisely. She said, "Yes, I did." I wanted to loudly blurt out "NO YOU DIDN'T" but I could tell it was getting old and I didn't want to hurt her feelings. I was on a mission to discover her secret to such beautiful plump tasty chocolate chip cookies. Something had to be different. So, I went ingredient by ingredient. I said, "I use the Nestle chocolate chips in the yellow bag." She said, "So do I." I said, "I always use unbleached flour." She said, "So do I." I said, "I used unsalted butter." She hesitated and said, "I use shortening." AHA! There is a difference. I asked her what possessed her to use shortening when the recipe calls for butter? In her beautiful slow Arkansas drawl she said, "I guess I use shortening cause my mama always used shortening." She asked me why I used butter? I said, "Cause the recipes asks for it." We both laughed. Ever since then I've always used shortening in my chocolate chip cookies, (said with a slow southern drawl) because my friend Karen from Arkansas' mother always uses shortening." They make the tastiest plump chocolate chip cookies. Right about that time I found this recipe on the insert to Crisco butter flavored sticks and have used it ever since.Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

3/4 cup Crisco® Butter Shortening OR 3/4 stick Crisco® Butter Shortening Sticks
1 1 /4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 (6 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

HEAT oven to 375ºF.

COMBINE shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

DROP by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.

BAKE 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Remove cookies to rack to cool completely.

I vaguely remember a Pampered Chef consultant telling me years ago to use parchment paper to help keep the cookie dough from spreading and running off the stone. So, I cut a circle the size of the stone. Then a spread 3/4 of the cookie dough I made to within about an inch of the edge of the stone. (The rest of the cookie dough I froze in cookie sized balls ready to bake if there is a cookie craving emergency.) I spread the dough probably about and inch thick. I then put it in the oven. Heated as directed in recipe. I baked it the amount of time bar cookies take which is 19-21 minutes. More on the 21 side than 19. As I watched it bake there were a few nail biting moments when I realized 1 1/2 inches from the edge might have been better. All was well though and it did not spread beyond the parchment paper. Magic secret? I don't know. I personally think that's just how far the dough would have gone.

Another satisfied customer. My son was very happy with his cookie. He had a few friends over and I was in the kitchen when one of his friends saw the cookie. The palms of his hands flew to the top of his head. He just stood there for a minute arms dangling from his head and finally said he'd never seen a cookie that big! Mission accomplished. My job was done.

Lynne's Note:  Use 1 1/2 times cookie dough recipe for just the right about of dough.  What looks great is to buy a regular sized bag of dark chocolate kisses.  Unwrap the Kisses and stir them into recipe instead of regular chocolate chips.  This makes the cookie really look giant when the "chocolate chips" are in scale to the size of the cookie.


Scraplin said...

He sure looks happy with his birthday cookie! I will have to try that recipe Lynne! I always use the recipe on the back of the bag too, I have it memorized. We sell 12" cookies at the bakery like crazy. We even ice the top and decorate them if they want.

jan said...

One of the reasons I gave up baking years ago was that my chocolate chip cookies always came out crisp and flat and i didn't like them. Now I know.

Love the birthday cookie idea too.