Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Mom

Chocolate chip cookies. The first time I saw them baked at home was when I was in elementary school. Back then, baking and cooking seemed so impossibly difficult -- only something my mum could accomplish. She used to bake chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate and macadamnia nut cookies, crossients, and biscuits. I thought she was the coolest mom EVER even though the goodies were premade dough from Pillsbury and Mrs. Fields (the cookie dough balls were so large that she halved them prior to baking).

Eventually she upgraded to baking goodies from scratch. I vaguely remember her baking a pumpkin pie. She also made several cheesecakes. Of course she cheated along the way by using premade pie crusts and tried to make it healthier by reducing the sugar and using reduced fat cream cheese. One time she wanted to make a chocolate cheesecake so she melted some chocolate only to discover that she used unsweetened chocolate so it was horrendously bitter. I remember she tried fixing it by added sugar. No matter how much sugar was incorporated, it still wasn't palatable. She ended up swirling it into a plain cheesecake and tossing the rest of the chocolate. But as a deprived child that rarely ate sweets, it was the PRETTIEST and BEST cheesecake ever. My mom made oatmeal cookies, but it was filled with oats and nuts with very little butter so it was extremely crispy like a granola in cookie form.

She was my mom and in my eyes, anything she made was gold and down right orgasmic. If you asked me now if I would enjoy her premade doughs, cheesecake, and oatmeal cookies, sadly, I probably wouldn't touch it. However, I can't blame her. Baking and cooking isn't a passion for her. It's a means to an end. It's part of her routine to feed her hungry family, because she loves us. There is one dish that she makes that I'll always love and it'll never change: it's jello filled with canned peaches. Omg. Pure joy.

Now on to the chocolate chip recipe that inspired me to write about my mom. This recipe is from America's Test Kitchen. Wow. It was pretty darn delicious. The extra butter seriously had the cookie melting in your mouth. The texture is everything I want in a cookie: crispy around the edges and chewy on the inside.

Chocolate Chips Cookies
from America's Test Kitchen

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli recommended)
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional) or 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12- inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
    Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
  2. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
  3. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.).
  4. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

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