Chocolate chip cookies. I can wax poetic on the iconic status of this hallowed treat, contemplate the abundant research conducted on ratios of white sugar to brown sugar, the merits of cake flour vs. all-purpose, and the infamous “to chill or not to chill?” mystery, and perhaps even ruminate on the special place the chocolate chip cookie holds in my heart with a tender anecdote from childhood.
However, all I am actually going to talk about is the glory that is…the store-bought bakery chocolate chip cookie.
Now hear me out. We all know that the cookies churned out of commercial bakeries in grocery stores and warehouse stores like Costco and BJ’s are filled with processed fats and oils, refined sugars, and generic chocolate. But in the same turn they are, quite simply, Freaking Amazing.
They’re chewy, chock full o’ chocolate chunks, and yield an ever so slightly crunchy edge to contrast with the delectably molten centers, which—though they have long-since cooled—magically retain their original texture via the unfortunate but admittedly delicious hocus pocus of shortening and hydrogenated oil blends.
Walking through Costco or Stop N Shop, my eyes always drift to the bakery section, the cold and impersonal plastic containers of cookies, sealed by a sticker label with the laundry-list of unnatural ingredients that you always read when you first—lunge at the cookies; second—have an internal debate on just how willing you are to run a marathon to work off said box of cookies; and third—grudgingly put the cookies back, far away from your shopping cart and your thighs.
This same exact scenario replayed itself today at our local grocery store, but today was the day that I decided to take action rather than just slink off to buy my weekly supply of veggies.
So upon returning home, I scoured my log of favorite online recipes and uncovered one I’ve had bookmarked for 2 years. It’s a gem of a recipe from Iowa Girl Eats for Copycat Double Tree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies. Jackpot.
However, I wanted a little more pizzazz from my chocolate chip cookies.The situation called for something more special. Specifically—nuts. Not just the cookie-cutter walnuts or pecans (pun intended)—no.
Instead, they would be pistachio, pecan, chocolate-covered almond, chocolate chip cookies. Oh yes, friends—they’re Chock Full O’ Nuts Chocolate Chip Cookies, and by the time you’re done baking these, you will be tingling with anticipation to try one—trust me.
Let’s crack on!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse all the nuts until finely chopped. It’s all right if there are a few large chunks left.
Place the oats in a food processor, and process until you’ve got a fine oat flour.
Place this in a medium-sized bowl along with the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. You’ll add this to the butter mixture in a bit.
With an electric mixer (if you’re lucky) or with a whisk/brute force (if you’re unlucky, as I am when I’m at school…), beat together the butter, sugars, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
If the mood for baked goods strikes at the last minute and you don’t have the foresight to take butter out of your freezer to let it soften naturally (which, let’s be honest—how many people really do?), just warm up your sticks in the microwave in 15-second increments until soft.
Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2 batches, mixing well between each batch.
Finally, add that blessed and tantalizing mixture of nuts and chocolate as well as the additional chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
(Now, per your personal opinion on the big cookie debate that is to chill or not to chill, you can either cover your cookie dough, chill overnight, and bake the next day; or just bake ‘em off RIGHT NOW DARNIT! I’m a no nonsense type, so the dough went into the oven as soon as it was ready.)
For small cookies: drop 1 Tablespoon cookie dough on parchment paper lined baking sheets, then bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. For large cookies: drop 2 Tablespoons cookie dough (I used a regular ice cream scoop), and bake for 12-14 minutes. For me, the time fluctuated a bit. Watch them carefully, and remember to rotate the pan halfway through the baking time!
Let cookies sit for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely—This step from the lovely Iowa Girl is KEY. I wish I had read this because I accidentally let two cookies sag through the spaces of my cooling rack before realizing I had made an egregious error!
If you get the baking times right, these cookies will be gooey out of the oven and wonderfully soft and chewy after they cool.
Enjoy with the requisite glass of milk.