Beyond the joy of gift-giving, there are two wonderful things about baking for others: enjoying the “broken” cookies, and indulging without keeping all of that temptation around. When you’re not baking for gift-giving, but still want to enjoy one or two cookies without the fear of over-indulgence, I recommend keeping frozen dough on hand. Every few months, I make large batches of cookies, roll the dough into balls and then freeze them. When I’m feeling like a little dessert, or need a quick treat for visiting guests, I pop a few rounds of cookie dough into the oven and have freshly baked cookies in a matter of minutes.
My favorite recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie is reproduced below. I often substitute toffee, or mint chips, for a variation on an old classic.
Chocolate Chip Cookies from theperfectchocolatechipcookie.com (a gem of a Pinterest find!)
Makes four dozen cookies
2 3/4 c (14.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 c (4 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 c (4 oz) Crisco (plain or butter flavored, I prefer plain)
1 c (6.5 oz) light brown sugar
1 c minus 2 T (6.5 oz) white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c (10 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (Hershey’s brand is best)
1. In a small bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
2. Using a wire whisk attachment of a stand mixer, cream the butter and shortening on high until light and fluffy 1-3 minutes.
3. Add both sugars and beat on high 1-2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until fully incorporated.
4. Switch to a paddle attachment. Add the chocolate chips and mix gently.
5. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
6. Touch test the dough. It should feel slightly sticky, but not much should stick to your finger. If it is very sticky add flour 2T (.5 oz) at a time.
7. Using your hands, roll the dough into balls 1.5 inches tall (for bigger cookies see instructions above). Place on an ungreased cookie sheet 3 inches apart.
8. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm. You can hold the dough up to two days in the refrigerator or up to six months in the freezer.
9. 15-20 minutes before baking, position the oven rack to the second highest setting. Preheat the oven to 375.
10. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and bake 8-10 minutes. They are ready to come out of the oven when they are domed and puffy, show a few signs of browning and look a bit underdone.
11. Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Remove them to a cooling rack so they will cool evenly. Wait ten minutes, then serve your Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie!