I confess that I’ve sampled my fair share of prepared chocolate chip cookie dough throughout the years. I purchase the dough, I eat the dough, I bake the dough, I eat the baked dough. So, actually, probably a bit more than my fair share.
And since I’ve been doing this since high school, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert in chocolate chip cookie dough assessment and consumption. I’ve recently been putting those skills to good use: in search of easy, easy comfort I’ll hit up the market for a package, come home and force myself to bake off a few cookies, then get out my spoon and go to work on the rest. I know the package says not to. I know someone, somewhere is judging. But I just don’t care.
Lately, however, I’ve noticed something troubling about store-bought cookie dough: I’ve noticed a mild metallic flavor to the dough. I tried switching brands and I’ve even tried actually baking the dough into cookies (!!!), but that odd, off-putting flavor is still there.
Now please don’t think me a conspiracy theorist or anything, but I do believe that packaged foods, even ones from different brands, tend to reflect market trends; they’re very frequently made with ingredients that are sourced from the same places and are effected by the same economic conditions, so it’s not all together unlikely that cookie dough made by Pillsbury may have similar features, when all is said and done, to those of cookie dough made by, say, Toll House.
Or maybe my palate is just broke.
Either way, I needed to come up with my own chocolate chip cookie dough recipe, which brings us to this gem du jour.
Let me tell you a bit about my thinking behind these cookies:
1. I personally prefer soft chocolate chip cookies (if you’re in the crispy or chewy camp this recipe is probably not for you), which means that you’re going to need to cream the puppies and rainbows out of your sugars and softened butter. You’re also going to want to make sure not to overbake these cookies.
2. I like sweet cookies. Obviously. But I don’t like sickly sweet cookies that taste like biting into a sugar cube. For this reason, I used slightly less sugar that I think you’ll find in conventional chocolate chip cookie recipes.
3. The chocolate… the truth is that I strongly suspect the chocolate chips as the culprit of the metallic flavor in my store-bought cookie dough. Just like pre-grated cheese, I feel like I can almost taste that extra step of store-boughtness that goes into forming those chips. So I went with Mexican chocolate. Now I know what you’re thinking: ‘M., Mexican chocolate is processed too, you seeeeelly, seeeeeeeelly goose.’ And you would be correct. But Mexican chocolate tastes both less processed than chocolate chips to me, and also tastes less like super-strong chocolate. It’s just a nice, flavored, sweet mild chocolate. So I went with it.
And you’re now looking at my favorite, favorite chocolate chip cookie evah. Evah!
I no longer have to do the walk of shame down the refrigerated dough aisle in my market. I no longer have to feel hatred in my heart for that odd metallic aftertaste. I no longer have to suffer, just suffer, by being without chocolate chip cookie dough that makes my heart smile.
Perfect. Just perfect.
Soft-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. light brown sugar, tightly packed
3/4 c. white sugar, granulated
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tablets Mexican chocolate (I used Abuelita brand here; each disk is just over 3 ounces. Please read below for instructions on chopping Mexican chocolate for this recipe.)
3 c. all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350º.
To prepare the chocolate, carefully cut a tablet in quarters by slicing along the pre-scored lines along the top. Continue by vertically slicing through the quarters to produce smaller piece, and finish by roughly chopping. Mexican chocolate is hard and coarse, and can be difficult to break down; you may, at times feel like you’re shaving it into a coarse powder and that’s OK. You generally want to end up with pieces that are just slightly smaller than sugar cubes. Repeat with remaining disk. Set chopped chocolate aside.
Place softened butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together on low speed just to combine. Once roughly combined, increase speed just one level and cream mixture together until light and fluffy and able to hold its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda. Beat in the chocolate pieces. Finally, with the mixer still running on low speed, beat in the flour one half cup at a time. Note that it is important to add the flour last as this finished dough, like so many other cookies doughs, is quite stiff; adding the chocolate before the flour just makes it that much easier to evenly distribute it throughout the dough. Mix in the flour just until you have a uniform dough.
Form cookies using a three tablespoon-sized scoop and place onto parchment-lined sheets trays approximately 2″ apart from each other. Bake for just 17 minutes. Note that I prefer these cookies large, which requires the longer baking time. If you form smaller cookies you will likely need to bake for less time. Either way, finished cookies will be puffed, spread, and just beginning to turn light brown at the edges. Do not overbake these cookies.
Remove baked cookies, noting that I recommend not moving or even touching these cookies until they have been allowed to sit and set their shape for at least a few minutes.
YIELD: 22 cookies