I am a cookie-holic. I love baking them. In fact I love it so much, I’ve had to set boundaries and rules for myself so that I don’t bake twice a day. There’s something therapeutic in the process. More often than not I find myself asking others what kind of cookie I can make them (mainly my wife, kids, and family members). More often than not they’re all different and usually not what I want to bake. I’m a selfish baker too.
So I think I’ve come up with a solution for my selfish-baking-problems: Versatile Cookie Dough! This past Sunday while everyone was sick, I decided to try out this idea. Using my cooking/baking bible (Cook’s Illustrated THE NEW BEST RECIPE Revised Edition) I found a generic recipe for a thick and gooey chocolate chip cookie and started to work the magic.
It’s really not that complex. I made a full batch of the cookie dough sans chocolate chips. Then dividing it in half I placed both in separate containers. Realizing I wanted to make more than just two cookies I decided to make more. After mixing up a half batch I placed it in a bowl and then added the defining ingredients for White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Classic Chocolate Chip, and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies.
***ATTENTION!! The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies did take a bit more effort on my part as I did add sour cream, spices, oats, and way too much flour causing them to end up looking like cake bites rather than cookies. I’ll probably elaborate later on this.***
Pretty much just make the following recipe as a 1.5 batch. (Or double if you want to make four kinds of cookies. I don’t know, you may be feeling spicy!)
The Generic Recipe:
3 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
18 tbsp unsalted (or salted) butter – 2 1/4 sticks worth
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs and a yolk (If you can divide an egg perfectly in half, be my guest.)
3 tsp vanilla ( I splash a bit more than I should in the dough every time.)
For Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup semi-sweet/milk chocolate chips
For White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup macadamia nuts crushed
1 tbsp lime zest (be generous with this to get some fun flavors into the cookie)
For Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cup dry quick oats
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup semi-sweet/milk chocolate chips
Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees and prepare your 9×13 cookie pans. I usually use our Silpat, or parchment paper, less mess.
Mix melted butter, sugars, vanilla, and eggs together in large mixing bowl. Mix until incorporated, you don’t have to cream the butter. Next add dry ingredients. I’ve been told multiple times to use separate bowls, but come on do I have to use every dish in my house?No. After adding the flour, salt, and baking soda mix them all together until dough pulls away from the sides and forms a rough ball. Divide the dough into three separate balls.
Now the fun begins with adding your specific ingredients. For Classic Chocolate Chip cookies add desired chocolate chips in (about a cup, don’t skimp) and mix with a fork, or your fingers. For Macadamia Nut mix white chocolate chips, nuts, and lime zest and mix with a fork, or your fingers.
For Oatmeal cookies you have to do things a bit different. I found that the finished cookie dough was too dry to add the oats. I added about a tablespoon of sour cream, and played around with the amount of flour until I came out with a good consistency. Well it wasn’t that good. From what I learned you probably want to only add maybe 1/3 cup of flour to the sour cream. Make sure the dough is more sticky and wet when compared to the other two. That way when they cook, your cookie will end up a nice oatmeal cookie consistency, instead of a weird cake-bite-thingy. After all that, don’t forget to add cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips.
Roll dough into balls 2-3 inches in diameter, maybe a bit larger than a golf ball. Then break each ball in half and place on pan. This will give your cookies that beautiful bakery texture that you’ve always been envious of with each bakery you visit. I usually fit 13 cookies to a pan.
Now bake your cookies! The book advises you to cook each batch for 12-14 minutes. However, I never follow cooking times. Instead I set my timer for 9 minutes and then for 3 minutes more. It depends on how you like your cookies. I like mine gooey and under-baked. If you like them more crisp, go ahead and try for 13 minutes. But I don’t dare you.
Wait one or two minutes after pulling out the tray to allow for cookies to rest. Then place on cooling rack, or plate. You should make about two dozen cookies with each unique batch. (For those of you trying to figure out the numbers like I always do that’s about 72 cookies.)
Now share the love or hoard it! It’s up to you! Feel free to post pictures of your creations here when you do! Happy baking.