Hello Russian Season readers!
This is Amanda. Since Alina’s been busy these days with redesigning her other website, I offered to do a guest post for her. Before I go any further, let me introduce myself: I am 15 and live near the American capital – Washington D.C. I have a huge passion for food too. Whether it’s baking, cooking, eating, or anything else that deals with food, I love it (okay, maybe except for dishwashing). I also have my own food blog – softandstiffpeaks.blogspot.com.
Without further ado, let me introduce what I’ll be blogging about today: the chocolate chip cookie. Yes, this usually is not found in Eastern European cuisine, but Russian Season also covers international foods as well. The chocolate chip cookie is the quintessential American comfort food. These are extremely popular – grocery stores sell different varieties and brands of this cookie (original, double chocolate chip, chewy, etc.); they can also be bought during lunchtime at my school. Also, they are enjoyed as an after-school snack for many school children. Perhaps what makes it so popular (besides how delicious it is) is that it is commonly associated with grandmothers, family, and warmth. It is common for young children to bake this cookie with their grandma over summer vacation or during the holidays. To some, these cookies evoke nostalgia.
The story of how these popular cookies originated goes like this: Ruth Wakefield was baking chocolate cookies for her restaurant, but she ran out of baker’s chocolate. So, she substituted chocolate pieces in. However, the chocolate pieces did not melt and incorporate into her cookie like how the baker’s chocolate would have. Instead, the chocolate pieces stayed intact. This was how the chocolate chip cookie was born. From an accident. A yummy accident, I might add.
I have used this recipe (found below) for several years now. It is originally from my middle school Family and Consumers Science (also known as Home Economics) teacher. Every time I make these, they come out perfectly. It’s slightly crisp on the edges, and soft and chewy in the center. Studded with chocolate chips, these light brown cookies are delish! And when the cookies are baking, your entire house will fill with a glorious, glorious smell. Chocolate, brown sugar, sweet oatmeal, and vanilla all combine together to form a wonderful aroma. Best of all, after you have popped these in the oven, you can lick the remaining cookie dough off the bowl and whisk. (Of course, there is the risk of salmonella from the raw egg, so do what you think is safe. You may use pasteurized eggs as an alternative or forgo it all together.)
After they are baked, let them cool a tad bit before biting into them. These cookies can be enjoyed both warm or at room temperature. Whichever way you choose to enjoy the cookies, make sure to dip them in a glass of milk – it is simply the best way to eat these.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields: 18- 3¼ inch or 8 cm cookies in diameter
Because cups and spoons are used in America instead of the standard grams and liters, I have provided both the American and metric measurements. As a cup of flour may vary widely in weight, my metric measurements are only approximate. If possible, use cups and spoons. It will be closer to what I used, making your end result more similar to mine.
Alternatively, you may make one big, round cookie. Bake for 14-15 minutes instead.
½ cup/113 g. butter
1/3 cup packed/70 g. brown sugar
1/3 cup/70 g. white sugar
½ tsp/2.5 mL vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup/330 g. flour
¼ tsp/1 mL baking soda
1 cup/165 g. chocolate chips
½ cup/40 g. oatmeal
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add in both sugars and combine until incorporated. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add in egg and vanilla extract. Scrape down sides of the bowl again.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, chocolate chips, and oatmeal together. Turn mixer onto low speed. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until combined – be careful not to overmix.
Using two teaspoons (those used for stirring tea and coffee), clamp the dough and transfer it to an ungreased baking sheet. (Put one spoon in each hand with the indentations facing each other, and clamp the dough or use the teaspoons like chopsticks). Evenly space out the mounds. Use a second baking sheet if you run out of room on the first. Flatten each mound of dough to 2 inches/5 cm in diameter and ½ inch/1 cm. thick. (A trick for this is to cover the dough with plastic wrap first – this will make this process less sticky.) Make sure that there is still room in between each disk of dough – the cookies will spread in the oven.
Bake for 8-12 minutes. The cookies may appear underdone, but they will continue to cook from the residual heat. Let the cookies cool and firm up on the baking sheet for a bit. If you wish, you may transfer them to a cooling rack with the assistance of a spatula (I didn’t). Enjoy while warm or at room temperature. And don’t forget to accompany them with a glass of milk!