Monday, July 11, 2011
Whole Wheat Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Pecans
For Ellen, Eileen, and Crystal, especially.
Are chocolate-chip cookies not the most perfect little bite of pure Americana? Right up there next to hamburgers straight-off-the grill and homemade cinnamon rolls, in my opinion. Pair a couple of these cookies hot-from-the-oven with a glass of cold milk, and you've got perfection.
After years of searching for the "perfect" chocolate-chip cookie recipe, I have come to this earth-shattering conclusion: the version on the back of Nestle Semi-Sweet Morsels bag (introduced in 1939) is the best.
However, of late I have been called back to Ina Garten's (of Barefoot Contessa fame) opinion that with a simple, basic recipe it becomes important to choose the very best-quality ingredients available. Now don't get me wrong: I am not a chocolate-chip cookie snob ... I'm not above eating raw Pillsbury dough - with or without a spoon - right from the soft plastic tube ... but after upping the quality of ingredients in the following recipe, I think it's the very best I've had in my 30-plus years of making them. My husband and daughter agree. Try it out and see what you think!
Whole-Wheat Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Pecans
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour (I use 2 1/2 cups of King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt (I use Kosher salt)
1 c. (2 sticks) real butter, softened (no Crisco, no margarine, no "spread"!)
3/4 c. granulated sugar (I use organic)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar (I use organic)
1 t. pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey brand from Williams-Sonoma)
2 large eggs (I use large brown organic eggs)
2 c. Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts (I use finely-chopped pecans)
Put on a cute apron. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl. Add eggs. Gradually add flour, baking soda, and salt, and beat. Stir in chocolate-chips and nuts.
Use a tiny spring release ice-cream scoop (thanks, DeAnn!) to drop twelve blobs of dough, evenly-spaced, on a cookie sheet. Based on your oven, figure out exactly how many minutes to bake your cookies so that the edges are just starting to brown. (The centers will still appear uncooked...that's how you want 'em!) For my oven, it's eight minutes exactly. Cool on the cookie sheet two minutes, then remove to wire rack.
The next day, if you want your cookies ALMOST as melty-good as when they were just taken from the oven, put a couple on a napkin and microwave for ten seconds.
Friend-making (or keeping) Tip: Consider wrapping some of your just-baked cookies up in a cute way, and making a surprise delivery to a neighbor! The above-pictured container was left on my friend Eileen's doorstep the other night, and she soon returned home with visiting children and grandchildren to find them still warm.