How to Use this Blog

This blog is designed to be used like a cookbook. I've put tags on each recipe so you can go to the section on that topic just by clicking on the word in the cloud or the list. Some recipes are under more than one category to help you find what you're looking for.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everybody needs on recipe they can depend on, a signature dish, so to speak.  This is my most trusted cookie recipe and it comes with a fabulous story that will explain why it's so good.

When I was working at the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance camp in Mississippi in December of 2006 we shared the camp with a famiy from California.  In lieu of their traditional ski trip that year, their Christmas present to themselves was to help with the rebuilding from Katrina. The father was a fireman, they had two teenaged sons and the mom was one of those ladies who I could tell spent a lot of time cooking. I would bet money she was the PTA president.

For dessert one night Susan looked through the pantry of the kitchen to take stock of what was available.  She had a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe she had used so many times that she carried it around in her head.  She told me she could substitute a lot of ingredients if she needed to as long as she kept the same basic proportions. 

That was the day she discovered a secret ingredient I have always used in this cookie, an ingredient no one ever guesses and one that adds a certain "something" that makes all the difference in the world.  The ingredient?  One staple all the PDA camps had on hand:  Raisin Bran cereal. 

I have changed only one thing in the recipe Susan Schwaiger gave me that day.  Instead of Raisin Bran cereal I use plain Bran cereal because I hate raisins.  You can put them in your cookies.  I don't care what you do with your own cookies.

PDA Cookies

Preheat the oven to 325 or 350 degrees

1 cup of butter (2 sticks) set out to soften
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

cream the butter and add the rest mixing well

This is the basis.  You can get creative as you go along.  I would stay with the flour and oatmeal but from then on you can do what you want as long as you keep the same number of cups of "stuff".  I personally don't mess with  these ingredients here since they've never failed me.

2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups bran flakes
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cups chopped pecans

I have a cookie/ small ice cream scoop I got at Walmart.  It looks like it holds a Tablespoon.  I scoop out the cookie dough with that and this recipe will make exactly six dozen cookies using the scoop.

Watch the oven.  Sometimes it takes longer than 8 minutes, sometimes less.

If you use Mexican vanilla it really makes a difference.  The easiest way to buy Mexican vanilla is to go on a mission trip over the summer and buy some while you're there.

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