Friday, July 19, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies aka Life

(Sighhhhhhhhhh.) Hello hello! Lately I've been completely and utterly outta the loop. I cannot let this blog slip away! So, I'm back and here, and very present.

I've had a bunch of feelings to sort through for the past few weeks. And honestly, I don't even know where they come from. But I'm slowly learning to accept whatever life throws at me no matter what size, shape or color. I feel good. And there's no denying Ramadan has everything to do with it. You naturally feel clean from the inside out and light and airy. Prayers are more focused, minds more relaxed and anxieties are not many. So I'm just going to bask in this time of year, and stir up things for iftar (breaking of the fast at sunset). Iftar and sweet stuff to nosh on all the way to bed. 

Though I loveeeee whisking up complicated things and trying my hand at new recipes, there's nothing quite like baking a simple, classic batch of chocolate chip cookies. There really really isn't. Warm and chewy in the center, slightly crispy on the outside...bursts of chocolate chips and a cold glass of milk (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). I cannot think of anything more comforting and heart healing. Especially in times of confusion and chaos, you really need nothing more than more cookies. 

So, a couple days ago, my brother joined me in watching the Food Network (which is basically the definition of my life) and The Pioneer Woman was making ice cream sandwiches. We were fasting...and he threw a pillow at me. So I told him to calm it and go get some ice cream while I bake. 

These were so so so perfect. I rested the raw cookie dough in the fridge for a couple hours before baking them, and since we were fasting, we were doing pretty alright in the will power department anyways. And now if  you don't mind, I'm going to get all technical and attempt a scientific explanation...but it's all in the name of goodness and virtue, trust me.

  • If you put a warm, melty dough into the oven, your cookies will spread before they even begin to set up. Too often they'll run into one another, becoming a single crisp, crunchy mess. The cooler the dough, the less it will spread! 
  • Chilling the dough also allows the gluten to relax. You don't want to mix a cookie dough any more than absolutely necessary. The more you mix, the more gluten develops, and the more rubbery (blekh!) your cookies will be. Letting the dough rest in the fridge for at least half an hour does wonders for relaxing the gluten and you'll learn that with a little patience comes cookies that are soft and chewy, but not tough and rubbery. 

Don't ask me how I know this but even Ruth Wakefield, creator of the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie, said she chilled the dough overnight. Bingo! 
 I think knowing the ropes to the perfect chocolate chip cookie EVERY TIME is a fundamental life skill. This is it for me
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies: 

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted room temperature butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Grease or line baking sheets with parchment paper.

1. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. (Very important it be room temperature!)
3. Add both sugars and beat to blend. Add eggs and vanilla, and do the same. 
4. Add flour in 3 batches and beat on low speed until it's JUST combined. 
5. Stir in the chocolate and gently fold in and possibly melt away. 

Cover and chill the dough for 2 hours. (But if you are in dire need of cookies and absolutely cannot cannot
wait..yes, you can bake them right away. Just preheat your oven first thing.) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Drop dough by a tablespoon or two full onto prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake for 11 minutes, until the edges are browned and tops are lightly golden. 

Sit, nibble, slurp and breathe. 

x Zareen 

1 comment:

  1. I have realized that too. We just need to accept things and take life as it comes...maybe then every part of us may get into coordination haha!

    Since the day you have started the blog, my main urge is to get an oven and try every recipe of yours and then share my experience with you!!