A chocolate chip thank you
Gus the Wonder Dog?
Um, no. Not always. I love my silly noodle dog, and he's generally well-behaved, but sometimes... Sometimes he's not. Gus' primary offense is choosing to ignore me when I tell him to come. 4 out of 5 times he's on target, returning to me for the treats I keep in my pockets. But there's that 20 percent chance he's going to find something better, more interesting than me. Something stinky and smelly, maybe even dead and edible. Then all bets are off.
I let Gus off leash the other night to play with some neighborhood dogs, and yes, he ran away. There was no returning when I called — it was into the woods at a gallop, me calling his name and commanding him to come, empty leash in hand. Fantastic. I walked through poison ivy infested woods, across my neighborhood, and into the adjoining development, searching for a black and tan mutt with a red collar — and getting angrier by the minute. I wondered if I should give up and go home. Or at least go home and get the car rather than hoofing it.
Then I heard someone calling my name. It was nice neighbor Steve, who'd captured Gus and put him inside his house along with his two dogs.
How much do I love Steve for this? Enough to go beyond a word of thanks, and what says thank you better than a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies?
My chocolate chip cookie recipe has evolved over time — it's Nestle Toll House ramped up. Best enjoyed right out of the oven, these cookies are chewy inside and crunchy outside. I use more (dark) brown sugar than granulated sugar, which gives them a deeper flavor. I also skip the semi-sweet morsels and replace them with a high-quality bittersweet chocolate chopped into chunks. Callebaut brand stays in my pantry — it's a nice chocolate that doesn't break the bank.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter, softened
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position racks in the center. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift the flour and baking soda together; add the kosher salt and stir with a whisk to combine.
In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed for a solid 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the eggs one at a time, scraping again after each addition. Be certain they are completely incorporated into the dough. Add the vanilla and mix again.
Add the flour mixture with the mixer on low speed, then add the chocolate chunks. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold by hand to be sure all the ingredients are evenly mixed in.
Drop the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 2 tablespoon increments. The cookies will spread a little as they cook — I put 9 or 10 cookies on a sheet tray. Bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating pans once while they bake.
Cool the cookies on cooling racks, and bake the remaining dough as above. These cookies will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.