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January 23, 2015

The best Chocolate Chip cookies

 The best Chocolate Chip cookies

2 3/4 c (14.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 c (4 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 c (4 oz) Crisco (plain or butter flavored, I prefer plain)

1 c (6.5 oz) light brown sugar
1 c minus 2 T (6.5 oz) white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c (10 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (Hershey's brand is best)

Mixing the flour allows the final dough to have an even distribution of ingredients without over-mixing it.
In a small bowl gently mix the flour, salt, and baking soda until the ingredients are evenly distributed.  Set aside.
Using the wire whisk attachment of a stand mixer, cream the butter and shortening on high until light and fluffy, 1-3 minutes.  Beating the butter and shortening gives the dough a better rise in the oven, making the cookies lighter. Butter is good for taste and shortening is good to make the cookie softer.

Add both sugars and beat on high 1-2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until fully incorporated.
Add the chocolate chips and mix gently.
Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.  Do not overmix!

Adding the chocolate chips before adding the flour evenly distributes them without over-mixing the final dough.  Do not over-mix or it will discolor the dough.

The flour to be just incorporated, is the point when you no longer see white spots of flour.  Do not overmix! Over-mixing will ruin the cookies.  They will bake flatter and look greasy.  See the problem section for a picture of a very over-mixed cookie.

Touch test the dough.  It should feel slightly sticky, but not much should stick to your finger.  If it is very sticky add flour 2T (.5 oz) at a time. Using your hands, roll the dough into balls 1.5 inches tall (1.5 oz).  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet 3 inches apart.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.  You can hold the dough up to two days in the refrigerator or up to six months in the freezer. 

When shaping the cookies, you will know if you have the fat/flour ratio right.
too little flour- it will stick to your hands, forms a messy looking ball
just right- won't stick to your hands, but just barely, forms a smooth ball
too much flour- dough has to be forced into a ball, crumbly dough, rough looking ball
Handle the dough as little as possible while still shaping them properly.

 15-20 minutes before baking, position the oven rack to the second highest setting. Preheat the oven to 375.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and bake 8-10 minutes.  They are ready to come out of the oven when they are domed and puffy, show a few signs of browning and look a bit underdone.
Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes.

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