Foodie Friday – Chocolate chip cookies #53

Chocolate chip cookies #53: Based on Call Me PMC’s Chocolate Chip Potato Chip Cookies. Baked on 7/25/15.

I know it’s hard to see in the above photo, but this batch of chocolate chip cookies has potato chips in it! I took these cookies to my co-workers in DC along with the Bourbon soaked cherry chocolate chip cookies (recipe #52) that I wrote about last month. I’ve experimented with so many different mix-ins during my search for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, so it was only a matter of time before I threw in some potato chips. Someone told me the best chocolate chip cookies they ever had included crushed potato chips so I definitely had to give it a try. I’m not sure it really matters, but I used Ruffles. And the double batch of cookies that I made (a 13×9″ pan’s worth) contained almost 2 cups of coarsely crushed Ruffles as well as 1/2 cup each of milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips. When you’ve got chocolate chip variety, use it! The potato chips gave these cookies a nice crunch and a salty kick. A sweet and salty combo in a chocolate chip cookie is always good. These cookies were very popular with my co-workers, but I think there are some slight improvements to be made. In my opinion I either crushed the potato chips too fine or I just didn’t add enough of them because the flavor/texture wasn’t as pronounced as I was expecting. I’ll just have to try again. Anything to make more chocolate chip cookies!

Chocolate chip cookies #52

Chocolate chip cookies #52: Based on Imperial Sugar’s Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Cookies. Baked on 7/25/15.

Before leaving for my business trip in DC I baked two batches of chocolate chip cookies. One of my East coast co-workers specifically requested two types of cookies (one with dried cherries and another with three different kinds of chocolate chips), but I doctored them both up a little to try a couple of new recipes from my “Best chocolate chip cookies?” Pinterest board. I was especially excited about this one in particular. I’ve saved several chocolate chip cookie recipes that include some kind of liquor, but I wasn’t at all sure how any of them would turn out. I was definitely looking forward to finding out, though. So on Friday I went to BevMo and bought a couple of tiny bottles of bourbon since I don’t usually keep alcohol in my house. At first I intended to add 1/4 cup of bourbon to the cookie dough, as the recipe instructed, but then I decided to try something a little different. I reconstituted the dried cherries in bourbon instead (by microwaving them in 1/2 cup bourbon for 1 minute) and drained the excess liquor before folding the fruit into the dough. In addition to that change, I didn’t really follow the rest of the original recipe either. Call me a rebel, but I used my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe (because how can you improve on perfection?) and just added the boozy cherries. And the result was delicious! The bourbon flavor is pretty subtle, but you can definitely taste it along with the cherries. Out of curiosity, I think I’d like to try this again with a little more bourbon and see if I can make the flavor a bit more pronounced. Not overwhelming, but more obvious. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Chocolate chip shortbread cookies

I couldn’t wait for Friday to share this amazing recipe. I’ve been tinkering with this chocolate chip shortbread for a long time now and it is finally perfect. I first tried my hand at shortbread for Thanksgiving 2013 and I was encouraged by the initial results. Since then I’ve made some tweaks here and there to come up with a recipe that I absolutely love. The biggest change was using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar. I shared my first attempt (Chocolate Chip Cookies #41) back with that ingredient swap back in February when I baked desserts for a Super Bowl party. The powdered sugar gave the shortbread cookies an amazing crumbly texture, but I didn’t think they were quite sweet enough with only 3/4 cup. Luckily folks still seemed to like them. However, I thought there was room for improvement. After doing some research about substituting different kinds of sugars in recipes I decided to double the amount of powdered sugar (1 1/2 cups) and see how that worked. Well, the flavor of the resulting cookies was incredible! They were buttery and just as sweet as I wanted them to be, but unfortunately the lovely shortbread texture was missing. So today made another batch with 1 1/4 cups of powered sugar and it’s perfect! I’m so glad I stuck with this recipe until I got it right. Go and make a batch and see for yourself how great these cookies are!

1 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 c flour
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. (Measure the powdered sugar like flour, loosely spooning it into a measuring cup and leveling the top with a knife.) Since powdered sugar has a tendency to clump (and I don’t own a sifter), I usually use an electric mixer for this recipe. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Add the flour and beat until almost completed incorporated, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. Spread the dough into an 11×7″ pan lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 deg F for about 25 min (check after 20 min just in case), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is starting to turn golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 min and then lift the cookies out of the pan with the sides of the aluminum foil. Slice into squares before the they cool (it’s easier while the cookies are warm). Cool completely before eating. Enjoy!

Based on Kirbie’s Cravings’ Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies and Add A Pinch’s Shortbread Cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies #51

Chocolate chip cookies #51: Based on Amanda’s Cookin’s Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookies. Baked on 4/2/15.

Happy Easter, everyone! I bought some buttermilk to make muffins this weekend (more on that in another post), but for some reason there’s no way to buy less than a quart of buttermilk at the grocery store. What the heck? Even my largest cake recipe doesn’t use more than one cup! No matter how many muffins I made I knew I’d have leftover buttermilk, so I figured I’d better find some other ways to use the extra. Then I remembered that a long time ago I found a recipe for buttermilk chocolate chip cookies on Pinterest. It was the perfect fit! Granted, the recipe didn’t use a lot of buttermilk, but any way to make use of it was good. I hadn’t made any chocolate chip cookies since October so I was eager to get back in the kitchen and try something new. Unfortunately something about these wasn’t quite right. Don’t get me wrong, they were tasty, but I think the buttermilk made the texture more like cake than cookies. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. The cookies might have been better with a different mix-in besides chocolate chips. I’m glad I tried the recipe, but I’ll save the buttermilk for something other than cookies next time!

Foodie Friday – Chocolate chip cookies #50

Chocolate chip cookies #50: Based on Averie Cooks’ Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies. Baked on 8/7/14 and 8/30/14.

Obviously I made these before I went grain-free, but I’m still committed to perfecting my cookie recipes. Just because I don’t eat grains anymore doesn’t mean other people can’t enjoy them! (Plus, I always try at least a little of everything I make to ensure it isn’t terrible. You’d be surprised how often that happens!) And what better way to use grains than in a chocolate chip cookie?

I love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies as well as coconut chocolate chip cookies so I thought combining the two would work really well. And apparently I’m not the only one because I found several cookie recipes online that use both oatmeal and coconut. I settled on this recipe, which called for coconut oil in place of butter. I planned to use butter instead, but I realized I was completely out (gasp!), so coconut oil won that battle. I also used a full 1 cup of oatmeal and 1 cup of coconut, as directed, but I diverged from the recipe by toasting it first. Both of these things turned out to be a problem. As I mentioned in chocolate chip cookies #49, I think the toasted oatmeal is just too dry in this context. I know for a fact that toasted coconut in cookies is delicious (see my co-worker’s favorite cookies here) so the oatmeal must have been the main reason these weren’t a success.

I made these cookies again over Labor Day weekend when my parents were visiting. This time around I used just 3/4 cup each of oatmeal and coconut to try and improve the texture. And it worked somewhat, but not enough to really win me over. The cookies were good, but not my favorite. They were still too dry for me. It’s possible that reducing the amount of oatmeal and coconut even further would yield perfection, but I’m not sure I’ll devote the time or ingredients to find out. There are so many other chocolate chip cookie recipes to try instead!

Foodie Friday – Chocolate chip cookies #49

Chocolate chip cookies #49: Based on Two Peas and Their Pod’s Whole Wheat Toasted Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Baked on 7/20/14 and 9/1/14.

Geez, I’m a terrible blogger. Despite this past week being the quietest I’ve had in months, I still haven’t been able to compose a webpage post. How pathetic! Fortunately it’s the weekend so I’ll try to make more time for writing over the next two days. But for now, here’s a chocolate chip cookie review.

I’ll bet you’re wondering where chocolate chip cookie recipe #48 went, right? Well, I’ll get back to that one later because I need to make another batch before I can render a verdict. So I’m skipping ahead to these toasted oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. The first time I made these they weren’t a complete success because I made some mistakes. First of all, I only toasted half the amount of oatmeal that I needed. Then, without thinking, I dumped the first half of the toasted oatmeal in with the rest of the dough before toasting the second half. Oops. That first batch of oatmeal sat in the bowl absorbing moisture for 15 minutes or more before I was ready to bake the cookies. Not ideal. I thought that might have been the reason that a weird sort of crust formed on the top during baking that made for quite a bit of difficulty when I tried to slice the cookie bars. So while my parents were visiting over the Labor Day weekend I made another batch to see if I could improve the results. And I did…marginally. Don’t get me wrong, these cookies tasted really good (and my co-workers on both the East and West coasts enjoyed them), and the flavor of the toasted oatmeal was great, but I think it was a bit too dry. It seems you can’t do a straight substitution of toasted oatmeal for untoasted oatmeal in without making a few other changes. I think maybe a little more butter would help. I’ll make another batch of these cookies sometime and see if that idea works.

Foodie Friday – Olive oil chocolate chip cookies

I bet you’re thinking, “She finally ran out of chocolate chip cookie variations so she’s rehashing old ones, hoping we won’t notice.” Well, that’s where you’re wrong! I actually have four chocolate chip cookie experiments on deck, but I want to get some photos before I write about them. This means I have to make each one of them again, with perhaps a slight alteration or two to improve the results. But even if all of that wasn’t true, these olive oil chocolate chip cookies are so good that I know you’ll forgive me for not posting something original this week. I originally wrote about these back in January (hence the festive sprinkles in the above photo), but they are so good that I wanted to share the recipe. If it looks familiar, you’re right. This is my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe with an equal amount of olive oil (extra light – not extra virgin!) substituted for the butter. Using olive oil makes these cookies healthier, and actually simpler too. No melting the butter, or even waiting for it to soften – the oil is already in liquid form! So if you need to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies in a hurry, try this recipe. Believe it or not, you won’t miss the butter!

1/2 c extra light olive oil (NOT extra virgin)
1 c light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c milk chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream together the olive oil and brown sugar. You can use an electric mixer for this, but I usually just use a wooden spoon and stir vigorously for a couple of minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat/stir until combined. Add the baking powder, salt, and flour and stir until almost combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, which should help incorporate the rest of the flour. Don’t over mix! Press the dough into an 8×8″ pan lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray. This makes of easy removal from the pan when the cookies are cool and less dishes to wash later. Bake at 350 deg F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!

Based on Cooking on the Weekends’ Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies and My Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

Foodie Friday – Chocolate chip cookies #47

Chocolate chip cookies #47: Based on Picky Palate’s Healthier Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies. Baked on 6/15/14.

Sometimes I think it’s a shame that I’ve devoted myself to finding the best chocolate chip cookie recipe rather than something healthier like stir-fried vegetables. Testing nearly fifty batches of veggies would certainly be more nourishing and less caloric, but not nearly as much fun as cookies! The next best thing to giving up my search is looking for a way to make chocolate chip cookies healthier. My first few attempts with coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil (recipe to come) have been very successful, but there are other aspects of the classic chocolate chip cookie that can be improved. So last month I bought a big bag of whole wheat flour and used this recipe to whip up a batch of whole wheat of chocolate chip cookies. I had read that when swapping whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour the substitution ratio shouldn’t be quite 1:1. So I was little nervous when the cookie recipe I tried had exactly that. I was skeptical, but I followed the recipe (except that I substituted butter for the coconut oil) and the results were amazing! I loved these cookies. They were maybe a little chewier than cookies made with all-purpose flour, but I thought they were great. I will definitely be making these again.

Foodie Friday – Chocolate chip cookies #46

Chocolate chip cookies #46: Based on What’s Gaby Cooking’s Chocolate Butterscotch Caramel Blondies. Baked on 6/1/14.

First of all, I am perfectly aware that I’ve been an absentee blogger. Sorry about that. I’m going to do my best to write a few posts of substance over this holiday weekend. But for now, on to the cookies!

When I bought the chocolate covered sunflower seeds from Trader Joe’s for chocolate chip cookies #45, I also bought a bag of chocolate covered salted caramels. These aren’t quite as tempting to me as the sunflower seeds, but based on this recipe I found on Pinterest, they would be great in a cookie recipe. And they were! The cookie dough itself was very similar to my go-to recipe, but the chocolate chips were replaced by the chocolate covered caramels. I thought the caramels would make slicing the cookies difficult even after they had cooled completely, but they actually worked out great. The caramels made the cookies really rich and decadent, and they were a big hit with my co-workers. A very big hit! They were even more popular than the cookies with the chocolate covered sunflower seeds which I was crazy about. But the majority rules when it comes to chocolate chip cookies so I’ll definitely be making these again.

Belated Foodie Friday – Chocolate chip cookies #45

Chocolate chip cookies #45: Based on Concoctions by Peabody’s Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seed Cookies. Baked on 6/1/14.

I have a new weakness – chocolate covered sunflower seeds from Trader Joe’s. I can seriously eat an entire container in a day without even trying. They’re dangerous. So one day when I was weak and bought some of these tiny, tasty treats I decided to bake them into a batch of cookies instead of just shoveling handfuls into my mouth while watching TV. This way I could share not only the sunflower seeds, but the cookies with my co-workers the next day. Everyone wins! And it helped that I’d bookmarked this recipe for cookies with chocolate covered sunflower seeds a while back. They are basically just chocolate chip cookies with the sunflower seeds taking the place of the chocolate chips, following my favorite recipe almost exactly. So delicious! You get the chocolate flavor as usual, and the sunflower seeds add a wonderful texture to the cookies. I loved them and quite a few of my co-workers agreed. So next time I give into temptation and bring some chocolate covered sunflower seeds home from Trader Joe’s, I am going to whip up another batch of these awesome cookies.