'Who dat?,' Peter called out playfully as he opened the front door. Hearing giggles, he knew it would be our neighbour's children back for a another helping of my freshly-baked triple chocolate chip cookies. I had made a double batch and, judging by the delicious aromas wafting from my kitchen, and the look on the little ones' faces, they were really good.
To my mind, there is much pleasure to be gained from the sharing of food and I've always been one to 'pop next door with a plate of biscuits' or other baked goodies. When Peter and I moved house on a rainy and bitterly cold July day in 2009, there was a knock at the door and to my absolute delight one of my most dearest friends, Diana (a great cook who was also my neighbour for 20 years) had come to deliver a hamper of food for us. We were weary and hungry, and Diana's visit was perfectly timed. She reminded me of the day in 1984 when she and her husband, Bryant, moved into their new home next door to mine, and she told me how much they had appreciated me dropping in with a plate of food as a welcome gesture. That's what being neighbourly and looking out for each other is all about, no?
Bailey, Evelyn & Petria agree happiness is a chocolate chip cookie...
Someone once said 'Happiness is a chocolate chip cookie' (hmmm, perhaps it was me?). Well, I think they're right, for there's nothing quite as delicious—before, during AND after baking—as a chocolate chip cookie, especially one with three kinds of chocolate chips or chunks. You'll note that I said before, during and after baking. We all know there's how delicious cookie dough tastes (just ask the people behind Ben and Jerry's). The 'during' part covers those moments when one is salivating as the cookies are baking. Peter and I find it quite exciting to stand by the oven and watch those balls of yumminess form into molten cookies. And of course, 'after' needs no explanation (she said, munching on a cookie).
I've been baking biscuits or cookies for as long as I can remember, and chocolate chip or TOLL HOUSE® have always been a favourite. I remember cutting out the original recipe from the side of a box of NESTLÉ® chocolate chips many, many years ago. It was pasted into one of my recipe scrap books, but sadly the glue disintegrated over time and somehow I misplaced it. So I've been making my own concoction for a while now, based on snippets compiled from a variety of recipes in some of my favourite cookbooks. Incidentally, there's an interesting story to the TOLL HOUSE® cookie, which you'll find here.
There are plenty of excellent chocolate chip cookie recipes to be found on the inter-web, and a couple in particular caught my eye. An in-depth article titled 'The Food Lab: the science of the best chocolate chip cookies' featured on Serious Eats in December. The author, J. Kenji López-Alt, baked 1,536 cookies and conducted 100 individual tests in order to present interesting findings that cover all aspects of various ingredients that can be used and how that and the different methods of preparation result in crisper, flatter, chewier cookies. Now that's what I call dedication! Me, I just want cookies (oops, I'm starting to sound like the Cookie Monster).
More recently, a post titled 'The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie' featured on FOOD 52. It was written by Phyllis Grant who blogs at Dash and Bella. I love this writer's approach and she aims for what she calls a 'dreamy, gooey interior and a crispy outer border'. Yeah baby, that's just how I like 'em! The recipe I'm sharing with you here is my adaption of that one and is pretty close to how I've made these cookies for at least the last four decades. Enjoy, and don't forget to serve them with the quintessential glass of milk.
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1/2 cup/75g of white chocolate buttons
1 cup/150g milk chocolate buttons
1 cup/150g dark chocolate buttons
125g walnuts, finely chopped
2 cups/350g plain (AP) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
250g butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup muscovado or light brown sugar
1/2 cup golden caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
Heat your oven to 190 degrees C or 375 F. Line three cookie sheets or biscuit trays with paper in preparation for baking.
If the chocolate buttons you are using aren't small, chop them into chunks by hand or in a food processor. Combine the chopped walnuts with the chocolate buttons or chunks and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate container.
Combine the butter, vanilla extract and both kinds of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until the mixture is light and creamy. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl again. Now add the flour, half a cup at a time, with the mixer set onto medium speed. and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Finally add the chocolate chips or chunks and fold them through by hand.
With clean hands, shape the mixture into spheres the size of a golf ball, perhaps a wee bit smaller. Leave space between the balls as you place them onto the lined baking sheets, as the cookies will spread as they bake. Bake for ten minutes until they are turning golden brown on the outer edges. Remove from the oven, all to cool slightly, then transfer the cookies carefully to a cooling rack (I suggest you use an egg flip to do this).
This quantity will make 28 cookies, so take some to your neighbours, and store the remainder in an airtight container.
Note: I'm using Sicao chocolate these days, thanks to my lovely friend Celia at Fig, Jam and Lime Cordial, who pointed me in the direction of bulk ordering.
The process in pictures...
Allow the cookies to cool on a rack before you indulge...
Cookies and the quintessential glass of milk...
Happiness is a chocolate chip cookie...
Tell me, do you believe that happiness is a chocolate chip cookie? Of course, that's a whimsical saying, but it's fun. Do you and your neighbours cook and look out for each other? Do share your stories.
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.