Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the perfect chocolate chip cookie

Go now. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then come back to the computer.... oh and while you're at it. Set out two sticks of butter, you're going to need them.

There's a possibility I may have found it. The perfect chocolate chip cookie.

This is not something I would ever say lightly. I say this with extreme conviction. I have never. ever. liked a chocolate chip cookie that came from my oven.

Too crispy. To thin. Too limp... You get the picture. I am not usually a fan of the cookies I make. Even when others tell me "oh, what delicious cookies," I'm prone to roll my eyes and sigh. But this recipe. It causes me to say: "I know, they're amazing right!?"

I have served these to several people in the past weeks. I think I mentioned in a previous post that I've been keeping a batch at all times for impromptu get-togethers. These freeze (and ultimately) thaw at room temperature very well (in a matter of about 20 minutes.) They make a wonderful complement to a glass of milk. (I have some great short glasses that make them perfectly dunkable.) They're wonderful dipped into black coffee. And they even pair very well with a nice cabernet sauvignon. Although, I wouldn't recommend dunking them into the wine. (Red wine and chocolate, good for the heart. Even if there are two sticks of butter involved. Right?)

Brandon's mom gave me this recipe. Hence the name. I love a family recipe, so I renamed these "Debbie's Cookies." Thanks Mrs. Debbie!

The woman has made these legendary. I think I gained 20 pounds upon beginning my relationship with her son almost three years ago. She keeps a batch made at most times and has a knack for finding great deals on crazy/unique chocolate chips. (We've had mint swirled chips and cappucinno chips in the cookies to date.) These cookies also complement pecans very well. The sweet and somewhat savory butter flavor of the cookie echoes my favorite aspect of a pecan.

As if you needed more convincing, here's a testimonial from my friend Marjo's husband Billy: "These taste like they're from a cookie factory in the best possible way!" (And Marjo says he REALLY likes chocolate chip cookies!)

Without further ado: Here is the recipe for Debbie's Cookies:

Debbie's Chocolate Chip Cookies:
(Makes: a whole bunch!)

1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
2 Eggs
Dash of Vanilla Extract
3 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt (I love using a fine sea salt for these, but table salt will work as well)
1 Bag Semisweet Chocolate Chips (This is completely subject to your personal preference! I like more, some people like less. Feel free to experiment with different flavors. I've been using a great 70% cacao chocolate chunk lately. Wow.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together the sugars and butter. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix together the dry ingredients (excluding the chips) in a separate bowl. I like to whisk them together in order to sift them and combine the ingredients. But, my friend Claire is partial to sifting straight into the bowl. Your preference entirely. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. (I don't have to tell you that the Kitchen Aid is your friend. Or, a hand mixer. These are just nearly impossible to do by hand!) Then add the chips. If I remember, they seem a bit crumbly. Simply push them together when forming into balls. Form into GOLF BALL sized balls and flatten slightly. (I said slightly, don't make cookie pancakes!) Bake at 350 degrees for 10- 12 minutes. I love a soft cookie, so I usually do them for less time. This is another matter of preference! They are so substantial that they can be removed from the tray almost immediately without breaking (this makes the baking process go quicker.) Cool them on parchment or on cooling racks. Enjoy! (Everyone else seems to!)

(The above photo is from a party the family I work for threw. My boss specifically requested Debbie's Cookies for the dessert bar.)

Speaking of the cookie, here are a few photos of my dear goddaughter Cailyn when she came over on a Wednesday night to bake with me while her parents attended the Wednesday night teaching at church. This has become one of our weekly traditions, I love getting to hang out with her. She is already showing quite a talent in the kitchen!

Further confirmation, that not only do we share almost identical names and a Patron Saint; we also share a love of cooking. I love this kid!

These were not the famous Debbie's Cookies, but rather some fasting friendly cookies. They're not quite as impressive, but will do for a fasting day!

Check out the nesting doll apron Cailyn is wearing. Mrs. Debbie gave it to me not too long ago. So precious!

Happy baking dear friends!

Friday, September 25, 2009

you're invited:

To my new apartment!

Yes, this is terribly overdue. Thankfully I have been slammed with clients and tons of work! Be happy for me, don't hate me for not posting until now.

The above photo is your view upon entering the apartment. (The living room)

These are the chairs I got for Christmas 2 years ago from my parents. They have pretty great taste, huh?

My fireplace and very first Craigslist find, my super cheap television armoire.

We have an entry staircase and it was BEGGING for some color. I found this piece at the Cooper-Young festival this past weekend. I love.

I got this green chair (and another identical one at ThriftCiti on Summer Ave.) And yes, I haggled. I bought both of them for a grand total of $50. Not bad!

My most favorite (yet, vastly under-decorated) room, my dining room. My Amy Butler fabric was going to be backordered indefinitely so I am having to regroup. It definitely needs color.

My amazingly inexpensive dining table from the West Elm outlet.

Boring bedroom. I am working on a headboard solution right now.

I love our teeny bathroom. We actually have to sit sideways to use the toilet. I know, I know T.M.I.... But it makes me laugh out loud to think about it.

I made this bookshelf and wall hanging a few years ago. I really love newsprint.

Is this not eye candy? I love staring at my open shelves with white dishes. They make my day. I love love love my walk-in pantry!

Brand new gas range. Ahhhh... it's beautiful!

Kind of organically my kitchen became a red kitchen... and I love it!

Please come over. I've been keeping batches of chocolate chip cookies ready at all times for visitors. I love to host people. So far I've hosted: Margarita night, Girls' night, my parents and grandparents over for Sunday dinner, an impromptu wedding after party (many years Barbara and Mikael!) I've had a crepe making party, an Office season premiere watch party, lunch dates, an evening of cooking with a friend, a cookie baking date with my sweet goddaughter Cailyn and several other get-togethers... And I haven't even been here a month!

I can think of nothing that makes me more happy than to have people over almost every night! I have had to discipline myself to not have people over on nights when I'm extremely exhausted. Because otherwise I would never take a break.

I'm loving having my own place, and I couldn't ask for a better roommate. Ashley is the sweetest person ever!

Please come over. Consider this post your open invitation.