When a recipe is labeled "Best Cookies of Your Life," there are high expectations involved. The Amateur Gourmet used a Martha Stewart recipe with a higher butter-to-sugar ratio, said to make the cookies soft in the middle and crispy on the outside, ensuring such a title.
There are two types of cookie camps -- those who like 'em chewy and those who are partial to crispiness. I'm a chewy kinda gal. But I can handle a little crispiness. So the thought of cookies that could accomplish both tasks was mouth-watering.
Miranda, one of the girls I nanny for, had Tuesday off from school due to the elections (I don't ever remember getting that off from school!). So I thought it would be a perfect time for us to test out the cookies together. Part of the reason I dislike baking so much is that I am not so precise about the measuring aspect. But when I have Miranda around, the 10-year-old volunteers to measure the dry ingredients (It's child labor, I know.), while I handle the wet.
I wanted to make Martha Stewart proud (and the AG, for that matter) and strived for the measurements to be exact (As quoted on "Top Chef" on Wednesday, "baking is a science"). The dough was a bit dense, so I quickly quizzed Miranda.
"How much flour did you put in?"
"4 cups," she said.
"Are you sure? Because the dough is really thick." I was worried already. And I was eager to redirect the blame.
I chopped up all the extra chocolate Halloween candy to add to the dough, along with the chocolate morsels.
We placed the cookies on the sheet trays and baked for the recommended time.
When they came out of the oven, their softness quickly turned into crispiness while sitting on the cooling rack. Where was my soft center? And they were flattest cookies I have ever made. They looked like they had spent a day being squished in someone's backpack.
I quizzed Miranda again. Certainly none of this could be my fault.
"How much baking powder did you put in?"
I checked the recipe. She was right. What had gone wrong? I reread the Amateur Gourmet's instructions. Then I came to a sentence, "if you make them well, they come out chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside." Hmmm. Apparently, I can't make cookies (or at least these cookies) well. And all this time I had been blaming poor precise Miranda..
So here is where the problem was, I think. The recipe says to cook the cookies for 18 minutes. I kept taking out each batch earlier and earlier, but it wasn't early enough apparently. Depending on your oven, I think the cooking time needs to be somewhere like 12-13 minutes. As soon as the cookies are remotely golden, get them out of the oven.
Alas, it's too late for my batch, but this tip may save yours. But as it is, I am left with two tins full of hard chocolate chip cookies. Any takers?