Saturday, 16 February 2008
Mystery solved! I can remember baking chocolate chip cookies where they turned out nice and plump, chewy and delicious. Then, several years ago, something changed. My cookies would spread in the oven and become paper-thin and too crumbly. I quit making them because it just didn't seem worth it. Hibi started making vegan chocolate chip cookies, with shortening and soy milk, and they came out better than my non-vegan ones! So, that made me think it had to be one of the components that are not in vegan cookies. I thought of eggs, but when I began keeping my own chickens again it didn't improve. I figured it was some change in commercial ingredients that came from the different treatment of farm animals. But I remained in the dark about what specifically it was.
Well, I don't know if that assumption was correct, but it turns out that it has to do with the butterfat content of the butter. I don't remember who it was who suggested it in conversation recently, but someone said "try European butter." My first thought was: uber-expensive Plugra? Wow, is that what it'll take for good cookies? But I found Straus European-Style butter at New Seasons and tried it out last night.
And it was definitely worth it! My cookies still came out crunchier than I like them but that was just because they got left in oven too long. But they have such a nice buttery flavor and they're plump and delicious. I used the recipe from my Kitchen Aid booklet. Oh, yeah, I bought myself a used Kitchen Aid mixer with my Christmas money, and I'm enjoying it a lot! In fact, I said I was still going to knead bread by hand, but I haven't done so since I got my Kitchen Aid.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Place sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla in mixer bowl. Mix on speed 2 (on a kitchen aid--low speed) and mix about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl. Turn to speed 4 (medium speed) and beat about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl.
Turn to Stir speed. Gradually add soda, salt, and flour and mix about 2 minutes. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl. Add chocolate chips and mix on stir speed for about 15 seconds.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.