March 21, 2011

My favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before I got into cupcakes I loved making cookies and brownies (and I still do). I have to credit the start of my baking career to my brothers. They would go off to college and I would make goodies for them. My brownies were and continue to be from the box. Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownies are hands-down the best brownies ever!! You can't go wrong, I promise. As far as cookies are concerned, my favorite recipe is from Giada De Laurentis from the Food Network. I started making this recipe many years ago and I love the results ever time.

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
courtesy of Giada De Laurentis

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces English toffee candy (recommended: Heath or Skor bar), finely chopped
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, and chopped
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper. Finely chop the oats in a food processor. Transfer the oats to a medium bowl. Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the toffee, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips.

For each cookie, drop 1 rounded tablespoonful of dough onto sheet, spacing 1-inch apart (do not flatten dough). Bake until the cookies are golden (cookies will flatten slightly), about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. (The cookies can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

I've made my own changes to the recipe.
1. I don't put the oats through a food processer. I really like the texture of oats.
2. I add about 1/4-1/2 of a cup more of oats
3. I only put in 3/4 of a cup each of brown sugar and regular sugar
4. I never, ever melt my butter in the microwave. It changes the consistency of the creamed butter and sugar mixture.
5. I cream the butter and sugar until it is quite light in color
6. I always add more vanilla extract
7. I rarely use hazelnuts. I personally like using walnuts better because I think it tastes better plus, it's cheaper.
8. I don't put an entire bag of chocolate chips in the the batter, I usually eye-ball it. Most times I use about 3/4 of the bag.
9. Lastly, I don't line the baking sheets with parchment paper. I usually shmear butter on the baking sheets and wipe them down before I scoop more batter onto them. This is more messy and time-consuming but I like the way they turn out.

I hope you enjoy your delicious cookies!!

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