This week I wanted to make an old classic, as it has been a very long time since I’ve indulged in some good old-fashioned American style chewy cookies. For the Americans amongst you, this will be the most unilluminating post ever. For those of you who are not American, however, I am about to divulge the secret of their cookies.
For those gooey, sweet cookies the Americans love, there are two key ingredients that make all the difference. One is soft brown sugar, which is not always easy to find outside of the US. I don’t mean simple raw cane sugar, I mean the brown sugar that you could make a snowball out of and throw at somebody. This is the key to the chewy core, and these cookies will not work without it. In Italy, I have found soft brown sugar at the Coop. Otherwise, you’ll need to look around stores with foreign imports, or health stores.
The second key ingredient is vanilla essence. Once again, I mean the good stuff. Not the clear fake vanilla that comes in little glass bottles, I mean the kind that is dark brown bordering on black and tastes awful if you try it pure. Without it, the cookies just wont be the same.
With that said, I went with a good old fashioned American classic: chocolate chip cookies. With a twist, because I had some Cacau Presado on hand.
When my father came to visit me, he brought me some real Brasilian chocolate. What I mean by that is that these bars are not your average chocolate bars, they will not melt if you put them in the microwave, for example. Instead, they are literally bars of pressed Brasilian cacau and sugar. They look funny, but taste intense and marvelous.
Only thing is, he gave me far too many. So, I decided I’d chop some of them up and use them as the “chips” in my chocolate chip cookies. Whichever chocolate chips you do go for in the end, I have two suggestions: choose chips that are slightly larger, about the size of a pinky nail, and ones that are dark chocolate. If you go for chips that are too small, they melt and don’t contrast nicely. If you go for milk chocolate, these cookies end up being very, very sweet.
So, with that said, here is the recipe:
1 cup/227gr butter, room temperature
3/4 packed cup/150gr brown sugar
3/4 cup/150gr white granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups/280gr white flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups/350gr chocolate chips
All of these kinds of cookies follow the same pattern, and it is easiest to do this with an electric beater:
First, cream the softened butter with the sugar and vanilla extract
Then, blend in one egg at a time
Lastly, add the sifted flour, baking soda and salt.
After the dough is made (which is amazingly delicious raw, btw, don’t forget to lick the bowl), stir in the chocolate chips, and a few chopped nuts if you want to as well.
Once all is done and blended, use a tablespoon to measure out the cookies and put them on an ungreased, nonstick baking tray
Bake them at 180°C for about 5 minutes. How long you bake them is critical, because if you let them brown on the edges, they will transition into crispy cookies, and they will be sweeter. Some people prefer them that way but for me, nothing beats a chewy chocolate chip cookie, so I only let them go slightly golden on the bottom
And there you have chewy, delicious chocolate chip cookies, just like in the movies.
One more little troubleshooting advice: American cookies are very buttery, and as such they can spread a lot when they bake. If they are spreading too much, and all you get is a little lump of chocolate chips in the center of a puddle of dough it means your butter is too melted, so just throw the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge for half an hour before you bake the rest.