Friday, February 24, 2012

Small-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

I LOVE fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies. But with three little munchkins swarming me every time I near the kitchen (they can sense it, or maybe they hear the squeak of the baby gate?), I rarely have time to bake them from scratch. And since Josh is gone much of the time now and I limit Cai's sweets intake, having dozens of cookies sitting around is not helping me lose the last few pounds of baby weight. Those handy refrigerated break-apart cookies are a decent substitute when you just want a few, but they're not in the budget right now. So what does a girl do when she's craving cookies but doesn't have the time to mix up a full-sized batch of several dozen?

Enter the small-batch recipe. Thanks to my dear friend Google, I stumbled upon Cake on the Brain's blog and this recipe for a small batch of chocolate chip cookies.

[adapted from Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers by Debbie Maugans]
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon beaten egg [reserve the rest for later]
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (I did not line my sheet).
  2. Combine the flour, soda and salt in a small bowl.  Mix well.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars in a small bowl with a wooden spoon. (I used a bamboo spoon, but I suspect a metal one would work just as well.)
  4. Add 1 tablespoon beaten egg and the vanilla.  Mix well.
  5. Add the flour mixture and continue beating until thoroughly combined and you don’t see any traces of flour.
  6. Toss in the chocolate chips and distribute well. Divide the cookie batter into 8 portions. Form balls and space evenly on the cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-13 minutes. (I baked them for 11 minutes on my Pampered Chef baking stone, and let them sit on the pan for a couple minutes to "finish" baking after I took them out. I think that's a baking stone thing. You could leave them in a bit longer if you like a crunchier cookie - I like mine soft and chewy.)

The verdict? This recipe is so quick to mix up, and I love that it doesn't kill my arm. Sounds silly, but since I don't own a mixer I dread the actual mixing part of baking cookies. Anyway, this recipe makes 8 large, chewy, gooey, classic chocolate-chip cookies, the perfect amount for Cai and I to share over a couple days, before they go stale (that is, 6 for me, 2 for Cai, of course). I probably only spent 5 minutes mixing them up, in between rescuing Avyn from Cai (twice), feeding Riah, removing kids from underfoot, getting Cai off the furniture, and various other delays. But if I was uninterrupted I probably would've been eating a hot, melty cookie in about 17 minutes start to finish!

Let me know if you try this recipe for yourself! I've heard it's quite yummy with a little oatmeal and peanut butter too, and I think I'll try tossing in some chopped walnuts next time.

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