We all have a sweet we can’t resist. The one indulgence there is always room for and if marooned on an island with nothing but this treat, we’d survive. Mine is the classic chocolate chip cookie. It brings back childhood memories and there is something about it when fresh out of the oven that few things can compare to. It’s my comfort sweet. I make them for myself or those I love when I wish to massage a bit of warm wonderfulness onto the soul.
Until recently I hadn’t given much thought to the plethora of recipes out there. I had my standard – Betty Crocker edition or even the Toll House version on the chocolate chip bag or in a pinch when I’m not up to the task, and yet I want the end result, I’ll cut hunks from the ready made Toll House frozen dough.
Upon deeper investigation, the February issue of The Food Network magazine (The Chocolate Issue) I found several recipes for different textured cookies. Let’s get technical. How do you like your cookie? Soft, crunchy, chewy, cake like, thin & flat, small & plump, dense or light. Ingredients? With or without nuts, what kind of nuts, what flavor or brand of chip, dark dough of a double chocolate or a blondish cookie? Anybody want a cookie yet?
Now, for me personally I like a chewy cookie, with walnuts, classic recipe. I don’t prefer a soft cookie. I want some “toothsomeness” to it, like pasta, a little resistance to the bite. Crunch is good, but not too much, I don’t want to loose a tooth! The Il Fornaio chain of restaurants also has a bakery chain (like in Pacific Place, Seattle) and they have one of my all time favorite versions. It’s a larger cookie, with big hunks of chocolate and walnut. They have an interesting honeycomb texture with lots of air pockets, which make for a lighter cookie. But they are a tad on the greasy side. I’m not a fan of the small bit of oil on your fingers when finished. Oh well, I’ll make do.
You really can’t argue that chocolate chips are better cold. They are adequate and certainly worth eating if lying around, but fresh out of the oven is the absolute best! Plus you have the added bonus of the wonderful smell that can only mean good things are about to come out of the oven. Tell me, who isn’t into that?
Next time you are in Las Vegas, go to the Grand Lux Café inside the Venetian (casino level). It’s owed by the Cheesecake Factory and delivers similar fair and a rather nice meal. When in Vegas, Michael and I go there for lunch and order their fresh baked chocolate chip cookies for dessert. A dozen come in a take home box so if you don’t polish them all off, you have cookies for your hotel room later.
Funny story: on an episode of the documentary TV series, Bomb Patrol Afghanistan the unit was eating lunch inside a Humvee. One of the guys reached inside his MRE (meal ready to eat) and in a funny voice said, “Oh snap, it’s a chocolate chip cookie!”