Lindsay Ann Bakes: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

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 My perfect chocolate chip cookie has a sweet buttery flavor with a hint of vanilla. It has got a nice chewy, soft center with perfectly crisp edges, and is studded with classic semi-sweet chocolate chips. 
(Scroll down for the recipe)

For me, the perfect chocolate chip cookie is not too thick, but not too thin. Not too hard and crunchy, not too dry but not too soft and greasy. Not at all cakey, but substantial enough to sink my teeth into.

Most importantly, it has to be easy enough to make with the ingredients in my kitchen... no bread flour or cake flour, just good ol' all-purpose, and no separating eggs or sprinkling with specialty salts. The only extra ingredient called for is a nice cold glass o' milk to pair it with ;) To me, there are the BEST chocolate chip cookies EVER and I hope they become your go-to favorite chocolate chip cookie too!

It took me a long time to create a rich, buttery, caramel-y and flavorful cookie, with crisp edges and chewy center, that can be made on a whim without complicated ingredients or directions.

 I tried and tweaked my recipe over and over in search for the perfect cookie. Here is a little look at 4 different batches ready for comparing.

In addition to testing the different recipes, I also tested what amount of chilling time resulted in the best cookies. I didn't notice a difference until the dough had been chilled for two hours. That is when the flavor got really good. And after a 24 hour chill, the cookies came out aaaamazing!!! So I definitely try and chill the dough over night in the fridge if I have time. If not, a few hours definitely does the trick.

Too dry, too greasy, too flat, to hard, too sweet, not enough flavor... the taste testing was tough... but somebody had to do it ;)

This was a good week in my house. I may or may not have eaten cookies for breakfast for a week straight. 

What is your favorite type of cookie? Thick and cakey? Thin and crispy? Dense and chewy?

I use melted brown butter in addition to room temperature softened butter in my recipe,  as well as a higher ration of brown sugar to white sugar. 

The melted browned butter adds a nice chewy texture and an incredible toffee flavor, while beating the fluffy room temp butter with the sugars get us a nice thick, substantial cookie you can sink your teeth into. The brown sugar adds even more caramely chew, while the white sugar gives us those perfect crispy golden brown edges. 

To make these perfect chocolate chip cookies, start by browning half of the butter (click here for a step-by-step tutorial). Browning the butter, it is what gives the cookies and incredible rich, caramel flavor!

Then, get ready to prepare your dough. Start by beating together the butters and sugars.

Then beat in the vanilla and the eggs,

In goes the flour.

And beat it all together just until you have a nice dough. 

Then we go in with a spatula for the best part...

The chocolate chips!!!

You can also add chopped nuts or any type of additional mix-in you like. Just stir those little morsels in there and you have just made the best cookie dough ever!

Spoon balls of dough onto cookie sheet and pop in the fridge for a few hours or over night, allowing the dough to rest. Refrigerating the dough allows the flavors to develop and time for the dough to absorb the moisture for a flavorful, hydrated and firm dough yielding rich, golden brown cookies that bake up thicker and more evenly with a better consistency, and not too much spreading. 

 If you do not plan on making all of the cookies at once, you can wrap and freeze dough balls for later use. Cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours or frozen to be used in smaller batches. I love freezing the dough so I can pop a few in the toaster oven, for fresh out of the oven, homemade cookies any time.

TIP: I like to add a few extra chocolate chips on top so they bake up nice and pretty.

Once the dough has chilled, bake until edges just start to turn golden brown.

 Enjoy or store at room temperature in an air tight container.

Lindsay Ann's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies - Click here for a small-batch recipe!

  • 8oz (2 sticks/1 cup) unsalted butter (half browned and half softened)
  • 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour, weighed or spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (212) packed brown sugar 
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated white sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup additional mix-in of your choice, optional (chopped nuts, chopped candy bar, toffee bits, dried fruit, M&M's/Reeses Pieces, etc.)

Melt half of the butter (1 stick/4oz.) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to cook it, stirring constantly, until butter turns a light brown color, and gives off a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a heat proof bowl and place in the refrigerator until cool. (Click here for step by step instructions on how to brown butter)

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. With an electric mixer, beat together the cooled brown butter, remaining half of softened butter, brown sugar and white sugar, on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. On low speed, add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Slowly add the flour mixture just until incorporated.  With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chips and mix-ins of your choice. Scoop dough into balls, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. Dough balls may also be frozen for later use. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until edges just start to turn golden brown. Let cookies cool for about 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Enjoy

  • You can use regular melted butter if you don't want to take the extra step to brown the butter, but you will loose out on some of the incredible caramely flavor the browned butter adds. 
  • Refrigerating the dough balls allows the flavors to develop and time for the dough to absorb the moisture for a flavorful, hydrated and firm dough yielding rich, golden brown cookies that bake up thicker and more evenly with a better flavor and consistency. 
  • If you do not plan on making all of the cookies at once, the unbaked cookie dough balls can be can be placed in a ziploc bag and refrigerated for up to 48 hours or frozen for up to 4 months, to be baked in desired quantities.
  • Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or frozen for up to a few months. 
  • When baking cookie dough balls straight from the freezer, add 1 minute to the baking time.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

American Flag Crispy Treats

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Here is an easy treat perfect for Independence Day, Memorial Day, or to show your patriotic spirit. This kid friendly craft is quick and fun to make and tastes great too. You can make homemade rice cereal treats and frosting, or use store bought products for a simple alternative with no preparation required!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

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So, today is my birthday. Somehow the excitement of birthdays has dissipated over the years, and I find myself reminiscing over the "good ol' days"; the days when I didn't have a care in the world, when I could eat as much dessert as I wanted without gaining a pound. Yet, the one thing that hasn't changed after all these years, that still makes me as giddy with excitement as I was when I was two is, well you guessed it... BIRTHDAY CAKE! To this day, nothing makes me happier than shoveling spoonfuls of cake and frsoting into my face. I guess some things never change ;)

Here I am on my second birthday, blowing out the candles with a mouth covered in frosting.

Happy Birthday To Me!
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Caramel Chew Apple Pops

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After making my Toothpick Engraved Chocolate Bar Chalkboards, I knew the next project on my list would be to create the traditional approach for showing your favorite teacher how much they are appreciated. These little apples on a stick are made out of caramel chew candies enrobed in candy coating with an apple flavored fruit chew leaf, creating a caramel apple flavored treat any teacher will love.

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Edible Chalkboard Cookies

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Turn a classic chocolate peanut butter cookie recipe into edible chalkboards. Just bake pieces of chocolate right into your favorite peanut butter cookie dough frame and inscribe your own text or drawings right on the chocolate! Chalkboard cookies are a fun classroom treat, and sweet way of saying "thank you" to that special teacher and showing your appreciation. Kids will love engraving their own text or drawings right on the chocolate!

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beer Mug Marshmallow Pops

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Perfect for Father's Day or a 21st Birthday, these beer mug pops are so simple to make, using only two ingredients; marshmallows and chocolate. And although they are not alcoholic, they are still just as satisfying. After making my Green Beer Pops for St. Patrick's Day, I couldn't resist making a classic frosty mug o' beer.

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"Cupcake" Fudge Bites

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Smooth, creamy fudge set in an adorable mini cupcake liner and topped with more creamy dreamy fudge swirls on top to look just like a little cupcake!

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chocolate Truffles

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Chocolate truffles are the perfect rich, creamy, decadent confection for any occasion! The best part about this recipe is you can infuse your truffles with extracts, espresso, liquors, or choose to keep it simple and stick with luscious rich traditional chocolate.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cupcake In A Jar

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Cupcakes baked right in the jar become a perfect party favor, great for shipping, and a mess free alternative to pack in a lunch or picnic. Try layering festively themed colors to match any holiday for a fun place setting, match the colors of your wedding or theme party for a unique party favor, use pinks, blues, or yellow and greens for baby shower or gender revealing party, even create fun layered flavors like Neapolitan for a neat picnic dessert! The possibilities are endless with this clever little twist on a classic dessert, even create a rainbow in your jar!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Easy Homemade Biscuit Donuts

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"National Donut Day is on the first Friday of June each year. It was created by the Salvation Army in 1938 to help the needy during the Great Depression, and to honor the women who served donuts to soldiers during World War I. The holiday celebrates the doughnut (a.k.a "donut") — an edible, torus-shaped piece of dough which is deep-fried and sweetened."

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