Chewy jumbo chocolate chip cookies

Go big or go home.

The Pastry Chef's Baking
When making big chocolate chip cookies, be sure to chill the dough first so it doesn't spread out and become too thin.

Who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? Okay, there might be some people who don’t but let’s pretend that’s in another universe and not in the one I inhabit. It isn’t just about the taste and texture of an excellent chocolate chip cookie with crisp edges, chewy middles and melt-y chocolate chips. It’s about the memories they invoke. I've met many people whose early baking efforts started with following the recipe on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip package.

For many people, there are a lot of good memories that come with chocolate chip cookies. My funniest one from childhood wasn’t actually from my baking efforts but from my sister’s. Anyone remember a product called Mrs. Good Cookie? They were frozen cookie dough sold in “sheets” but already portioned into individual cookie sizes and all you had to do was break them apart, put them on a cookie sheet and bake them. Sounds simple enough, right? Unless you’re my sister and talking on the phone to her best friend after she put the cookies in the oven and let them bake … and bake … and bake. A sheet pan full of burned cookies later, Mrs. Good Cookie wasn’t that good. To this day, I tease my sister that while she's a good cook, she can’t even bake slice ‘n bake cookies. Or rather, she can bake them, she just doesn’t remember to take them out of the oven, haha.

Despite having two go-to recipes that I really like, I always love trying new recipes for chocolate chip cookies. Every new recipe is like a flag waving in front of me shrieking, “Try me! Try me!” I can’t resist. This one is from the "Land O Lakes: Cookies" cookbook. The only thing better than a chocolate chip cookie is a BIG chocolate chip cookie. You can’t make just any recipe be a big cookie simply by making the dough ball bigger when you bake it. The dough has to be firm enough to hold the larger shape and not spread out all over your pan when you bake it. Because the point of making a BIG cookie is to have it be thick.

I had typed up this recipe awhile back so it’s been sitting in my “Still to be made” folder on the computer. Since I couldn’t access the actual cookbook, I did wonder if I had copied the recipe correctly when I typed it up. For one thing, it doesn’t list any salt. For another, that seemed like a lot of combined flour and cake flour and made me wonder if the cookies would be dry. But, no guts, no glory so I went ahead and made the recipe anyway. I did add a couple of pinches of salt though, just in case.

My ice cream scoop isn’t large enough to make really big dough balls so I made them the old-fashioned way – with two spoons. Scoop a large amount of cookie dough onto one spoon and use the other to shape into (roughly) a round ball, working the dough back and forth between spoons until you get a sphere. I froze them first (as always). Lo and behold, they did make thick cookies!

Take these out of the oven when the edges are golden brown but the middles still look underdone. They'll keep baking on the hot cookie sheet after you take them out of the oven plus you don't want dry, overbaked cookies. These had great texture (crisp edges, chewy middles). I could've wished for a bit more flavor though. I think that's where it needs a little salt. And a tad more sugar. But that would impact the texture. All in all, this is a good "bake sale" cookie - they make a nice size and look good when wrapped plus they're not too fragile.

One tip: when you make chocolate chip cookies, do you run out of chips towards the end of the dough and by the last cookie dough ball, there are only one or two chips left? So that last cookie when you bake it is unbroken flatness with maybe 1 chip sticking out? That’s simple enough to fix. Just hold back a handful of chips from the bag and add them when you’re down to making the last few cookies. Sounds obvious but I’d baked dozens of chocolate chip cookies before it occurred to me to do that. Duh. Now my cookies uniformly have the same (copious) amount of chips. Oh, and the other thing I changed in this recipe is I added more chocolate chips than the 12 ounces the recipe calls for. With this much dough and if you’re really going for “jumbo” cookies, you need lots of chips. I almost doubled the amount. Go big or go home.

Jumbo chewy chocolate chip cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 12-ounce package (2 cups) plus 1/4 cup extra semisweet real chocolate chips or chunks

In medium bowl combine flour, cake flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside. In large mixer bowl combine sugar, brown sugar and butter. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy (2 to 3 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often until well mixed (1 minute). Reduce speed to low. Continue beating, gradually adding flour mixture, until well mixed (2 to 3 minutes). By hand, stir in chocolate chips.

Cover the dough and place it into the fridge until chilled, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown. (DO NOT OVERBAKE.) Let stand 1 to 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets.

Yield: 26 jumbo cookies

Source: Land O Lakes: Cookies

Carol Ramos blogs at The Pastry Chef's Baking.

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