31 January 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Heaven!

I never knew cookies could be so complicated.  

My family loves Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies.  We made them frequently, and they were made even better by the lovely  Mexican vanilla sent up to Georgia from family in Texas. The flavoring mingled perfectly with the Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Cookies were the one thing that I liked to make in the kitchen, though everyone raved over my younger brother's cookies.  Okay, that's not entirely true (my younger brother's cookies are great and still get raves), I also liked to make deviled eggs.  That is, until that time when I was 12, picked up the completed plate of eggs, turned around to move them to the table, and half of the eggs slid off the plate and landed yolk side down on the floor.  It was about then I threw in my kitchen towel until I moved out on my own. 

But I digress.  We loved that vanilla from Mexico.  So much so that when I made my brother cookies for bringing my bed from Atlanta to Winston-Salem, he didn't like them as much because I didn't use our normal vanilla.  Instead, I'd picked up the fancy $13 for a tiny bottle Madagascar vanilla recommend by Alton Brown on Good Eats.   So since I moved to Germany, I've been looking for a place to purchase Mexican vanilla beans.  In the stores, we have Bourbon vanilla beans, but I haven't been able to find anything else.  Now that we finally have a credit card and I can buy things online, I've still been having trouble finding Mexican beans.  If anyone knows of a great site that ships to Germany, please let me know!

So today I'm making cookies for the first time since we moved to Germany (using Bourbon vanilla beans).  Currently, the dough is chilling in the refrigerator.  I've never chilled my dough before because I've always used Crisco.  But, I'm on a butter kick now, and I learned from Lynn Rossetto Casper that even the Nestle recipe developers chill their dough overnight before making cookies to prevent the cookies from spreading too much in the oven (reminds me a bit of pie dough).  

But I never thought I'd have to doctor a recipe so much for something as simple as cookies.  

Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies
2.25 c flour (check, but the flour is different here, and I'm not sure how that will work out)
1 t baking soda (had to hunt for 2 months to find that one)
1 t salt (easy peasy)
0.75 c sugar (easy, but I didn't buy superfine sugar, I hope that doesn't hurt it)
0.75 c brown sugar (easy, oh wait, no, you can't pack the brown sugar here, I'd have to find molasses)
1 c butter (had to learn the difference between sweet butter and sour butter)
1 t vanilla extract (not available and no one seems to have ever heard of it)
2 large eggs (eggs here are either medium or jumbo)
2 c chocolate chips (Nestle chocolait chips here are NOT the same in Germany)
1 c nuts (yes, that one's easy, but I don't like nuts in my cookies)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. 

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Okay, in the end, I added an extra half cup of flour, and probably could have used more.  My coworkers bought me molasses for my birthday (which they found at the one store in Jena that I hadn't checked).  So to make brown sugar, I added one tablespoon of molasses to 3/4 c of sugar.  I think I'll add a little less in the future.  I haven't made my own vanilla extract yet, but I did have some vanilla sugar which is always available in Germany.  (Add a vanilla bean to a cup of sugar, shake daily for one week, you've got vanilla sugar)  So I used vanilla sugar instead of the regular white sugar and also scraped a few seeds from the bean into the sugar.  I only use sweet cream butter now since that is closer to what is available in the US and works perfectly for my biscuits.  I had jumbo eggs on hand since that's what Hubby picked up last time he got eggs, so that's what I used... that may have been part of the reason I needed more flour, but probably not the whole reason.  Meghna sent me chocolate chips by way of Helen over Christmas, so I used Giradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips (yum).  I'm also not a huge fan of putting two cups of chocolate chips in my cookies (especially when I have to have the shipped from the US), so I normally add about a cup.  I think I added even fewer this time around, which was probably a mistake.


They need some work.  And I need an oven that works.  Turns out, the heat control is malfunctioning.  In other words, I have to physically stand there and turn the heat on and off when it reaches the temperature that I want.  And since my new oven thermometer doesn't move all that quickly, it generally means the temp is higher than what it's showing.  I'll mention it to my landlord eventually, but right now I'm more concerned with her getting a plumber out here... the toilet hasn't been flushing properly for five days now.  And by properly, I mean at all. To be fair, the toilets here can be flushed manually.  Just add some water to the bowl and things (eventually) go down.  But either way, I want my toilet fixed (and people wonder why I get so excited about the prospect of having two toilets again one day)!

So, should I chill the dough overnight for better results?  Do you use butter or Crisco?  Are you able to prevent the dreaded butter spread if you use butter (you can see that I didn't)?  Does the size of the egg make that big of a difference?  What are your cookie secrets?


  1. Have I got an article for you!!!


    Lynn Rossetto Casper was correct that the dough is aged in the fridge, but it is not to stop spreading and it should be more than 24 hours. You'll see all the details in the article. As an aside, I did a taste test with cookies whose dough was aged against cookies whose dough was fresh. Aged won. And I have never made cookies with Crisco, only butter. I prefer the butter taste. Good luck with your next batch!

  2. They look like cookies Mickey would like--not many chocolate chips! But other than that they do look yummy! I didn't realize that you threw in your kitchen towel with the deviled eggs! I am glad that you finally got back into the kitchen--you are truly amazing!

  3. My favorite chocolate chips cookies are made with 1/2 butter and 1/2 Crisco. They also split the flour into 1/2 flour and 1/2 oats. I've read that egg size makes a difference. I remember seeing a different distribution from a baking book but here is a link with an egg substitution chart. http://whatscookingamerica.net/Eggs/EggEquivalent.htm I have trouble with being convinced of dough needing to age for 24 hours. I would think once the dough was at the temp of the fridge the effect would be the same. I would guess that over night vs. 24 hours would be a good cookieology test for someone who was curious. It would probably be hard to tell though unless all the batches were eaten around the same time. Otherwise, the last cookie tasted would be the freshest memory. I've been writing experiments most of the day...I'm sure that's not apparent. :)


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