Craig’s Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Pan Cookies

The smell of these alone will make your saliva glands start to flow!

The rich, chocolate goodness melts in your mouth. The brown sugar batter dances around on the tip of your tongue. And as you bite into each cookie, the buttery flavor swirls around and you can feel each morsel of chocolate explode. Overall, it’s a dynamite cookie! Kind of like a brownie (or a blondie if you’re familiar with those) it has a more pillow-like feel and is much thicker and softer than the average chocolate chip cookie. This was another favorite from my days as a child. My mom introduced me to this heaven-sent bite and since then I’ve worked on adding my own little touches to it. I’ve also included a gluten-free version which tastes great. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (if doing this gluten-free use gluten-free flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter plus 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/8 cup bakers granulated sugar
  • 3/8 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 oz chocolate chip morsels

Equipment:

  • 8″ x 8″ glass baking pan
  • Two mixing bowls
  • Wire rack (if you have one)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Into the first mixing bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt
  3. In the second mixing bowl, mix together the softened butter, both types of sugar, and vanilla extract
  4. Add in the egg, beating the mixture until well combined
  5. Mix in the dry ingredients from the other bowl about 1/3rd at a time, incorporating it fully before adding the next amount
  6. Once combined, add the chocolate chips (at this stage, if you choose to add nuts this is when you would do it) mixing until well incorporated throughout the dough
  7. Coat bottom and sides of pan with butter
  8. Spread dough evenly from edge to edge and place in oven
  9. Cook for approximately 25 minutes or when top springs back and turns golden
  10. Remove and let cool on a wire rack for about 15-20 minutes (unless you can’t wait anymore and need to dig in)

Director’s Commentary

Ingredients – as always, what you put into it usually determines what you get out.

Flour – If you’re making this gluten-free, there is no better flour than Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. It’s literally 1-to-1 unlike some substitute flours. And it tastes really good. It comes out slightly drier than regular all-purpose flour, but still darn good! I’ve tried other gluten-free flours and they just don’t come out as tasty or as simple.

Sugar – For sugar, you can use regular granulated sugar, but I’ve found that C&H Baker’s Sugar is the best! Now, I don’t use it for everything, but for baking it’s great because of how tiny the sugar crystals are. When cooking, they dissolve so easily it has a more even flavor. I don’t know if scientifically that’s true, but I do know it tastes better.

Chocolate Chips – And of course, it matters which chocolate chips you use is of VITAL importance. While you can’t go wrong with the original – Nestle’s – the best for our family is a local baker, Guittard’s Extra Dark Chocolate Chips. These 63% dark chocolate morsels are SO heavenly. I believe Nestle’s Semi-Sweet is 57%, but the extra dark adds more depth of flavor and a better contrast to the lovely brown sugar.

That’s pretty much it. When you bake it, just make sure the dough springs back before you take it out to cool. Once you start the cooling process that’s pretty much it. By “spring back” if you touch it and there’s no resistance at all, it’s too mushy beneath and you need to let it cook some more. I know the edges will look more cooked than the middle – because it is. But there’s only so much you can do. If you want to double the recipe, just bake it in a 9″ x 12″ glass casserole pan. Oh, and “softened” butter really does work better than “melted” butter – believe me I’ve done that before. I usually put the butter in a microwave safe bowl for about 30-45 seconds and once the middle starts caving in, that’s soft enough. If it’s all liquid, it loses something in the mix and doesn’t quite hold up as well. Plus, the chocolate chips seem to collapse to the bottom of the pan. You will love this cookie no matter what, though. I hope it puts a smile on your face like it does for mine every time!

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