I love a good homemade chocolate chip cookie. I've been trying my hand at the Tollhouse recipe for just about as long as I can remember. My sister and I used to beg my mom to let us get all of the ingredients down from the cabinets, lug out the mixer, and make the recipe from the back of the Toll House bag. For a long time, our cookies were always flat when we made them with butter. Then, my mom got on a Crisco kick (gross, mom!), and bought those Crisco sticks that they made as an attempt to get us to use partially hydrogenated oils as if they were butter in our recipes. But, as anyone who has stirred up cookie dough made with Crisco knows, it just isn't as good. Butter wins. And in my humble opinion, butter always wins.
But butter also needs a bit of care. Throughout my CCC (choc, chip cookie) making years, I've learned a few tricks. First of all you need to use unsalted butter. The reason for this is that unsalted butter has a much different water content than salted butter and thus can effect the texture and taste of your final product. Salted butter also has a longer shelf life, so it can sometimes be made with older cream or be kept on the self longer, which often means that unsalted butter is fresher when you buy it at the grocery store. It also means that unsalted can spoil more easily (3 month shelf life, generally), but you can always freeze it! And I've never had a problem with butter going bad. Anyone else?
Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from the back of the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip bag)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I like to take mine straight from the fridge and put it in the microwave for 10 seconds per stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped (you can increase or decrease this depending on how much you like ginger)
Heat the oven to 350F and cover one or two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat. In a stand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy; add sugar and beat again until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Add vanilla and mix that in, too.
In another bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture slowly to the butter mixture while mixing. Then add the chocolate chips and the chopped ginger, stir until combined and spoon onto cookie sheets.
Bake @ 350F 10-11 minutes (this can vary between ovens -- keep an eye on them!) until golden brown and set around the edges. After removing from oven, let cookies sit on the hot cookie sheet for just a minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. You can store them in an airtight container at room temp for a few days, or in the fridge or freezer for longer.