Monday, February 4, 2008

Long Over Due

How it’s possible that I have a blog called the Dough Ball, with a picture of chocolate chip cookie dough as my backdrop and have not yet actually posted about chocolate chip cookies, I don’t know. So finally, here it is. There’s not really much more to say. Cookies were one of the first things I learned to make as a kid, and it has stuck with me. It’s the best quick sugar fix you can get, and one of the most satisfying.

I always use the Nestle Toll House recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips without fail or problems, however, I’ve found that in Spain, as most foods go, the cookies don’t turn out exactly the same. For some reason here (I’m attributing this to the lack of baking soda and my subsequent necessity of using basic ‘levadura’ or rising agent), they kind of blob out and are very thin, not as thick as normal. I really prefer mine thick and still doughy in the middle, but these get crispy at the edges because they thin out, so I have to take them out even sooner than normal to keep them soft. Or it could also be the brown sugar, which isn’t as fine as I’m used to, but more like crystals.

So for a Christmas get-together I spiced up my regular, reliable cookies with clove and orange. Seasonal and very tasty with that extra spice, and for the rest of the year I suggest chocolate and orange.

Chocolate Chip Cookies to the Orange and Clove
from Nestle Toll House

2 ¼ c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ c sugar
¾ c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 c (12 oz.) chocolate chips (I just buy some dark chocolate and chop it up)
zest from one orange
orange flavoring
about 1 tsp clove (you really want to be able to taste it)

First, preheat your oven to 350-375 F. Now soften/melt your butter and mix with both sugars, then beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. A lot of recipes will tell you to mix the dry ingredients together separately before adding, but honestly, most of the time I don’t and I can’t tell a difference. So pour the flour, then salt, and baking soda into the sugar mixture and mix everything until you have your dough. Now you add your extras, so in this case it was chocolate, and then I zested the orange directly over the bowl because some of the juice squirts out when you do this, so you want it to go into the bowl. If you have some good orange flavoring, add a touch of this too, and finally, put in the clove. Give it another good stir to incorporate everything and taste. I had to keep adding clove because I didn’t want there to be any question about it’s presence, and I think it turned out really well, with the orange, and it’s not too strong b/c the cookies are so sweet. And I threw in an extra pinch of salt to help bring those flavors out. Then take spoonfuls of dough and put them on a baking sheet (non-stick or covered with foil) in big blobs (I like my cookies big) and put them in the oven, usually for about 8-12 minutes, but keep an eye on them and take them out when done on the edges but soft in the middle. Let cool a bit and then remove from tray and enjoy!

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