Cookie Monster

I have a monster in my home. A seven year old monster, with brown eyes and dirty blonde hair. It weighs 45 lbs, and has the face of an angel. It’s obsessed with the color pink, and has an affinity for fluffy stuffed things. It also gobbles up anything sweet, in the blink of an eye.

The monster of course is my daughter. She loves cookies, but what kid doesn’t? She also loves to help in the kitchen. She gets in the way more than helping actually, but that’s ok. My hope is that one day she’ll share Dad’s passion for food. Letting her participate in making meals can only foster that. We even bought a little stool she can stand on to reach the counter. It’s pink.

This past Sunday was a cold blustery day and having a bored child stuck in the house, as anyone with children knows, is not conducive to a relaxing atmosphere. Even a glass of wine doesn’t help. (No, not for the child, for the adults). We had just been to Trader Joe’s earlier in the day and Mom bought two bags of chocolate chips. She, like her daughter, also has a sweet tooth. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

To keep the monster happy, I decided to make chocolate chip cookies.

I don’t bake often. Maybe once a month, sometimes less. But when I do bake, I generally like to bake from scratch. Opening up a box of something, and throwing it in the oven, just feels like cheating to me. Besides, that stuff is full of crap. And—most of the time anyway—scratch made bakery items just taste better. Plus you get the warm and fuzzies knowing you made it yourself. I think my left arm is now longer than my right from patting myself on the back so often.

The monster is old enough now that she can start to use things that plug into the wall. It thrilled her to use the hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar. She did a good job, I was proud, and most of the sugar and butter stayed in the bowl. She also helped fold in the chocolate chips, while at the same time helping herself to quite a few of them when I wasn’t looking, this, despite my protestations that they were for the cookies only. She’s a sneaky little monster.

I wrote all that silly nonsense above for the sole purpose of sharing a tip for better chocolate chip cookies.

I used this Ghirardelli recipe. This one and many other good ones—Nestle’s Toll House recipe included—use only butter. Butter is great, I love butter. There’s few things in this world with the uncanny ability to make almost anything taste better. Butter is one of them. But using only butter, causes the cookies to flatten out and crisp up. That’s fine, but if you want a softer, fluffier cookie, here’s all you need to do. Substitute half the butter for Crisco. That’s it. Shortening lightens the cookies and helps to keep them soft. With half the butter still in the dough, they still taste buttery. Voila, happy monsters.

And finally, a video. Enjoy.

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