I've spent the last few years perfecting my chocolate chip cookies recipe. I'll let you in on a little secret though. The recipe hasn't changed. I've handed this recipe out to many people and (I want to say this without sounding boastful) few can replicate the cookies that I serve. I'd like to tell you that the secret is “love”... But it's not. The method of mixing and brand of ingredients makes a big difference. So if you want my recipe, you'll need to pull up a chair and sit a while. It's more than a list of ingredients and a cooking time.
(You'd better pay attention. There won't be a quiz afterwards, but there won't be a traditional recipe either.)
You'll need to preheat your oven to 350 F when you're ready to start. Don't do it now though, you need to read the process before you're ready to get going. We start with ½ cup of Becel margarine in a medium bowl. If you just can't afford Becel (or can't buy it because you live in the States), you are allowed to use “Can't Believe it's Not Butter”. Please don't use other brands. And I love butter but you can't male these cookies with butter. They melt down into a flat pancake with butter.
Add ½ cup of packed, dark brown sugar. Please don't use light brown sugar. It just doesn't have the same depth of taste as dark brown sugar. With a fork, lightly mix the sugar and margarine, just until they're coming together. You can't over mix. Something bad happens when the sugar and butter spend too much time swirling around each other. It's like boys and girls in the pool at Camp Omagh... We need to be really careful how much contact they have.
So when your margarine and sugar are just combined, add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of real vanilla (if you use artificial, I will notice and it won't taste as good) and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix until just combined. Again with the swirling. Too much swirling is not good.
Put in 1 cup of all-purpose flour and throw in ½ teaspoon baking soda. Make sure it's fresh and hasn't been sitting around for a while. Stir until you start to see the batter mixing with the flour. Don't mix it all the way though!!
This is when you put in the fixin's. Start with ¾ cup of Chipits chocolate chips. (1 cup if you're just putting in chocolate chips.) I've tried a few varieties and these really are the best. If you must use a different kind, go ahead. But do so at your own risk. You can add in whatever combination you'd like at this point. I also like to add 1 ½ cups quick oats. It's entirely up to you, but they're much better with the oats!
At this point you can make the cookie your own. These are my current combinations:
Almond Cherry - ½ cup almonds, ½ cup dried cherries
Toffee Pecan - ½ cup Skor toffee bits, ½ cup pecan pieces
Peanut M&M - ½ cup chopped peanuts, ½ cups M&Ms
Stir just until everything has come together. You want it to hold nicely together but it won't want to if you beat it into submission. Spoon large spoonfuls, about 1 ½ to 2 tbsp onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. (Parchment paper can be reused and helps cookies cool and come off the pan in their own time.) Bake 10-14 minutes. (Smaller cookies can bake 8-10 minutes.) They are done when they still look a little under-done in the middle but the outer edge is starting to brown. Take them out and let them cool on the parchment paper for about 15 minutes before moving them.
Pour a glass of milk, grab a cookie or two, and enjoy a job well done.