Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Version of Nestle Toll House Cookies

It’s hard to improve on the perfection of Nestle Toll House cookies, but over the years I’ve made a few changes to the ingredients that seem to be well received. I think the taste is a little more sophisticated, but kids are just as likely as adults to scarf them up. You’ll need a large mixing bowl, a small mixing bowl, a teaspoon, an ice cream scoop, a sifter, three large ungreased cookie sheets, a cup measure, a ¼ cup measure, and (ideally) a ¾ cup measure (otherwise you’ll be dipping that ¼ cup measure seven times; tedious). As for the ingredients, you’ll need two sticks of softened butter, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, ¾ cup of granulated sugar, ¾ cup of dark brown sugar, 1 ¼ cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking soda, and a teaspoon of salt. You’ll also need a 12.6 oz. bag of M&Ms; I definitely prefer dark, but milk will do (these happen to be leftover from last fall; I love those colors and stock up on them to get me through the boring summer months when bags of M&Ms are only readily available in standard colors). 
Before we dive into this recipe, I want to show you a few hints. Like I said, a ¾ cup is a real time-saver. If your set of measuring cups doesn’t include a ¾ measure and a 2/3, it may be time for an upgrade.

 I’m rather particular about which brand of vanilla I use. Kirkland (Costco’s signature brand) is by far my favorite.
 This is my favorite style of ice cream scoop; no moving parts. It dishes up the perfect amount of cookie dough.
 Finally, regarding the teaspoon of salt, I believe this is what’s known as a “scant” teaspoon. It's just the right amount. Don’t go with “heaping” in this recipe.
 Turn on your oven to 375 degrees. Start by sifting the flour, baking soda, and salt together into the small mixing bowl. Set it aside.
 Dump the softened butter into the large mixing bowl. The cleanest way I've found to do this is to pinch the butter's wrapper against the plate with a thumb on each side…
 …and then flip the butter into the bowl. Of course I couldn't really show you this myself, as I'm holding the camera ;)
 Mix in the white sugar, and then the dark brown. Yes, there is a small man living in our brown sugar canister.
 Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla. The original Toll House recipe calls for 1. I think it's practically impossible to use too much. Beat in the vanilla, then beat in the two eggs.
 Dump in about a third of the flour mixture. Stir until smooth.
 Repeat. Repeat.
 Dump in the bag of M&Ms…
 …and stir.
 Scoop up about this much dough…
 …and place on the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. One 14"x16" sheet will hold 20 cookies. This recipe yields about 55 cookies, so you'll need 3 cookie sheets. Bake them for 8 minutes, but check on them after 7; if they're already golden brown, they're done.
 If any of them are touching, stick a small spatula in between them and wiggle it back and forth…
 …to form more rounded edges.
Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes before removing them. Serves 2 (just kidding). 

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