Delicious Reading: Averie Cooks’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brooke Clubbs

As I write this, we are in the midst of Christmas baking season. I’ll be cutting out gingerbread shapes, supervising my youngest pressing Hershey kisses into peanut butter cookies and dipping Oreos in melted almond bark this weekend. But, when you read this in January, the festivities will have ended and 2018 diets may have begun. You still need this cookie recipe.

My Grandma Rell was the first person I knew to put pudding mix in her cookies. It was a wonderful “secret ingredient” that almost made up for the fact that she halved the amount of chocolate chips the recipe called for (growing up during the depression and then, rationing during the war, forever affected her cooking habits.) So, for years, I have made a similar recipe (with the full amount of chocolate chips) to serve as Santa’s cookies. But, I was looking for a way to make them better: softer, denser, and more decadent. An internet search led me back to the Averie Cooks blog.

Back in March of 2016, I wrote about this blog and shared the author’s recipe for S’more Bars. Averie Sunshine has cooked up lots of ingenious ways to enjoy favorite flavors. She has written two books, “Peanut Butter Comfort” and “Cooking with Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie.” In addition to devoting whole books to favorite ingredients, she provides lots of easy meals and fuss-free dessert recipes.

The little things are what makes this recipe turn out so well. Details like chilling the dough, making the cookies in large mounds, and baking them for only 11 minutes make the difference. These cookies can brighten up any bleak midwinter day. Christmas might be over, but chocolate chip cookies are forever.

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INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

one 3.5-ounce packet instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar-free and not ‘cook & serve’)

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt, optional and to taste

one-12 ounce bag (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used half chocolate chips and half m&ms)

DIRECTIONS:

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the chocolate chips, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Put the dough in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days. Averie advises, “Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.”

After dough has chilled, using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 14 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly.

Preheat oven to 35 degrees, line a baking sheet or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (about eight cookies per sheet) and bake for about 11 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don’t overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. Averie said she lets them cool on the baking sheet, so I did too.

View the recipe online here: https://www.averiecooks.com/2014/02/the-best-soft-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cooki...