It’s taken me quite a few tries and some misses (I tried substituting butter for shortening) to get the technique of these cookies just right. For as we all know, a recipe is just ingredients and the magic is in the hands that make it. Or in the oven you’re using, or the type of fat (as I discovered). Or just the fact that you don’t have to make it yourself.
When I think of chocolate chip cookies I think of 33 Snowshoe Crescent and Mrs. Neumann’s chocolate chippers. Some crumble but a chewy centre and the sweet balanced with a perfect hit of saltiness.
And if you’re thinking, “of course you can substitute butter crazy lady”, well, here’s the problem. In a pinch you can but you have to adjust the oven temperature. Butter melts faster than shortening and so at 350 °F the cookies just deflate into thin patties, becoming crispy and to brown. So the last time I had to use butter I rolled the cookies and put them in the fridge to chill while the oven preheated. I took the temperature up to 375 °F rather than 350° F to speed up baking and not allow them to spread so much. And I baked them for 9-10 minutes. They turned out better, did taste buttery, but I couldn’t get the same chewiness.
(One tray I baked for 15-17 minutes as I was checking email and finally the “DING DING DING” of the timer made it through my consiousness and I ran into the kitchen to find sadness in the oven.)
So embrace the shortening cookie lovers. At least this one time.
(courtesy of Mrs. Neumann though now that I think of it I never really asked if I could use it. Please still make me cookies for my birthday!!)
Mrs. Neumann’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
2. Combine the shortening, white and brown sugar, egg and vanilla and cream with a hand blender until light and fluffy. (do not just combine it–you want light and fluffy!)
3. In another bowl add the flour, salt and baking soda and stir well to combine.
4. Add the dry to the wet and blend well with a spatula.
5. Add the chocolate chips. (Resist the temptation of adding a zillion extra chips or the consistency of the cookie will be off. DO EAT a zillion extra chips).
6. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. Roll the dough into about 24 little balls (they’ll be about 1 1/2 inches diameter) and divide them between the trays. They will look small, resist making them super-size.
7. Press down lightly on each cookie with a fork until you leave an indent. (I wet the fork in water between cookie so it doesn’t stick.)
8. Bake on middle rack (do each sheet individually if you can’t fit both). The recipe says 9 minutes (which is pretty right on) but in my oven sometimes I go up to 11 minutes. You want them browning on the edges but they will still be pale-ish on top.
9. Remove from oven, cool and eat them! Eat them all!
Then imagine if you made them with THESE.