One of my all-time favorite things to eat is a chocolate chip cookie. I have eaten so many of them over the years that I can remember being told as a child that I would turn into one, I loved and ate so many. I can even remember the first time I made them and from that point on, the store bought ones no longer had any comparison! My mother is a fantastic cook…but a baker she is not. My Aunt Kim, on the other hand, is a great cook and a fantastic baker (My Aunt Kim is married to my Uncle Frank – my mother’s brother). Every family occasion my Aunt Kim would create a special dessert for all of us. At Thanksgiving she brought the pies, at birthdays she would make wonderful cakes, and at Christmas she would make trays and trays of cookies. I can even remember a summer family gathering when she made Pate Choux and filling them with ice-cream and topped them with chocolate sauce. I could not wait for my Aunt Kim and Uncle Frank to show up so I could see what she made; her desserts were always wonderful and this gave my Aunt Kim total “cool” status in my opinion!
One time when I was about 5 years old, she invited me over to make chocolate chip cookies. I was so excited I could not wait to get to her home. I can remember sitting in the back seat of my parent’s car listening to my mom telling me that I had to behave, to listen to what Aunt Kim told me to do, and not make her home messy! (My mom has had two obsessions in life – keeping us / our home clean & neat and what to make for dinner). When I was finally there I could not wait for my parent’s to leave so I could get started on the cookies.
I remember kneeling on a chair eagerly watching as my aunt carefully measured her ingredients. Letting me mix the wet ingredients, adding in the dry ones, folding in the chocolate chips, getting to taste the raw cookie batter - I was in heaven. I remember each step along the way; scooping them out, watching her carefully place them in the hot oven to bake, waiting for them to be done, and the smell of the first batch as they came out of the oven. My aunt gave me one with a napkin around it and told me to be careful because it was still warm. That light crunch of the crisp, outside of the cookie and the feeling of the warm and gooey chocolate chips as you bit into it; I loved how there were bits of chocolate though out the little cookies. I loved that there were dozens of cookies that I had a part of making. It was my nirvana! I can even remember like yesterday how my Uncle Frank came in to the kitchen to see how the cookies were coming along. I was so proud to hand him one to try. His response was “Danielle, Aunt Kim is pretty good at this huh?”
I was so happy and felt so grown-up just because I got to bake cookies with my aunt. Many, many years later in the kitchen of my own as I still mix up a batch of chocolate chip cookies I am always reminded of my first time making them. It is the love of this cookie that I owe to my “cool” Aunt Kim and even in part for the career I now have as a pastry chef. I’ll soon mix up a batch the next chance I get and mail some to my Aunt and Uncle. I think I owe it to them!
Although not the recipe my aunt and I made at the time I was 5, this is what I have come up with over the years. And to be honest, there have been many varieties – but these are my all-time favorite to make. I feel the oatmeal gives it a slightly more mature taste and texture to the cookie especially when combined with the amount of brown sugar and vanilla I add. It’s this combination where I feel all the flavor comes into play and makes these truly fantastic.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cups of sugar
1 pound of butter
2 1/2 tsps of vanilla extract
3 cups of AP flour
2 1/2 cups of oats
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of ground cinnomon
1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
1 bag of Chocolate Chips (I prefer the Ghirardelli's large larger size chips and flavor to others)
First, cream the sugars with the butter. Then add the eggs and the vanilla. You will want to scrape down the sides of your bowl inbetween your ingredients and be sure all is encorporated well.
Next, you will whisk the dry ingredients ( flour, oats, levener and spices) and gradually add them to the wet. At this point you want to be sure not to overmix....If you overmix you can build gluten and end up with a tough cookie!
Then, you will want to fold in yout chocolate chips and be sure to have them evenly distributed through your cookie dough.
Finally, you will want to preheat your oven to 350. I also take a sheet pan and scoop out all my cookies onto the pan and then chill for at least a 1/2 hou to an hour. This will ensure your cookies to keep their shape when baking. When oven is fully heated and cookie scoops are firm you will place them evenly onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven till edges of the cookies are golden and the centers of the cookie are blond yet firm. ***I always make differently sized cookies due to my mood. I find that if you are making them in the size of a tablespoon they take about 8 to 10 minutes, larger ones (Like a 2 tablespoon measure) about 15 minutes. Let them cool before eating, and enjoy!