My name is Fran, and I am a recipe-aholic. My addiction began at an early age when, after taking a home economics class in junior high and coming home with my first chocolate chip cookie recipe, I learned that our local newspaper published a food section on Wednesdays. The clipping began innocently enough with me cutting out recipes at home. Then, however, it escalated to surreptitiously tearing out recipes in my doctor’s and dentist’s offices. (Yes, I am one of those people.) It always surprises me when I find that someone else has torn out a magazine recipe before me. How rude! I thought other people viewed recipes in magazines as fiction (who besides me cooks anymore?) while I, of course, look at it as nonfiction. In a couple of those instances, I was forced to drive to my local Borders to find and copy the recipe. (No, I did not rip recipes out of the magazines that were on the rack.)
I worry that if my husband Roger dies before me, I will become one of those elderly hoarders whose body will be found wedged between stacks of Bon Appétit and Gourmet magazines. (Note to my kids: Some of those Gourmet magazines might be valuable collector’s items since they’ve stopped publishing. Don’t throw them out until you check!)
Is there a 12-step program that can help me avoid this sad end?
When computers with their ease of searching for yet more recipes became common, to my credit, I resisted at first. I knew the folly of exposing myself to yet another source of recipes. Eventually, though, I succumbed to temptation when I realized that I could go paperless and still feed my addiction. So, now, when I am on the hunt for something in particular, I create a Word doc and just keep dumping different versions of that recipe in there. It is not at all unusual for me to have a 50-page file for, say, chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake. I am a total sucker for recipes that have “best” or “favorite” in the title.
Armed with that knowledge, you will now understand why you may see multiple postings for chocolate chip cookies as I work my way through the file trying to find the all-time best recipe. To be honest, I’ve just about convinced myself there’s no such thing. If I truly thought there were a holy grail for chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake and I actually thought I had found it, the thrill of the hunt would be gone… my raison d’être would evaporate… and then Roger would say I don’t need all my stacks of magazines and make me get rid of them!
Sooooooo, with all that out of the way and my soul bared, I present to you a recipe for the “Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie.” And it really is—that is, until the next interesting recipe for chocolate chip cookies crosses my path and comes out of my oven all warm, chocolatey, and smelling of caramel and vanilla.
Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbl. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the whisked dry ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.
Drop cookie dough using a large cookie scoop (I use a 3-tbl. scoop) onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are a lightly toasted, golden color. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Feel free to increase or decrease the size of the scoops. You will have to adjust the baking time, of course, and take the cookies out when the edges are just starting to turn golden. Using the 3-tbl. scoop, my cookies are baked to perfection in exactly 17 minutes in my oven. I get 22 large cookies out of each batch.