Chocolate Chip Cookies 101: Better Batches

Good morning, class! It's nice to see you again, all bright-eyed and ready to learn! And thanks to whoever left that beautiful apple on my desk; it was delicious. For those of you who missed our first class, you can catch up here. For the rest of you, here is a quick review: 1. Use quality ingredients in your cookies: real butter, fresh eggs, fine chocolate, and real vanilla. 2. Use cold butter. Softened butter will result in thin, flat cookies. 3. Use room temperature eggs. Your sugar will dissolve smoothly into the wet ingredients with a room temperature egg. Any questions? No? Great. Let's move along. The next tip is one that involves incredible amounts of self-restraint. (After all, baking is not for the faint of heart.) Once you're done mixing everything, refrigerate your dough. I know this is devastating news and I can already see a few of you getting emotional, because there is nothing more tempting than to immediately bake your cookie dough once it's made. (Other than the temptation to eat it all with a spoon, of course.) Refrigerated dough will help your cookies bake more evenly. It will also give those wonderful ingredients time to get familiar and really settle into each other. How long should you leave them in the refrigerator? Ideally, a couple of hours---enough time to get everything the same, cool temperature. Next, I want you to bring equality to your cookies---make them all the same size. The best way to do this is to use a measuring instrument to form each dough ball. There are cookie dough scoops for sale out there, but an ice cream scoop or a heaping tablespoon work just as well. The point is that you want a uniform size so that each cookie will bake at the same rate as its neighbor. With liberty, justice, and uniform sizing for all! The next tip is the secret to creating a cookie with a crisp outside and a soft, chewy middle: lower the temperature. Reduce the baking temperature on your recipe by 50 degrees. Then, add a couple of minutes to your baking time. This "low and slow" technique will make a big difference in the texture of your cookies. Your cookies are done when they have a golden-brown, barely-toasted glow. Finally, the last tip could not be more important: get your cookies off the sheet! Once you remove the cookies from the oven, transfer them to a cooling rack right away. The hot cooking sheet will continue to bake your cookies, so make them part ways as soon as possible. This is an easy one to forget, and even easier to regret, so think ahead and have your cooking rack and spatula ready! Alright, our time is up! Thank you for your attendance. And remember, you are always welcome to stay after class and ask questions or make comments. Don't be shy! I'm here to help!
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