Thursday, March 6, 2008

Snow Day Baking: Ghirardelli's Chocolate Chip Cookies

There's just something about a snow day that makes me want to bake. It's not that this happened in my youth, there wasn't a lot of baking going on in my house growing up. A bag of Chips Ahoy was a treat for me back then. These days, being stuck inside on a cold, snowy day gives me the urge to fill the house with two things: warmth from the oven and the wonderful smells of goodies fresh from the oven. Plus, it gives me something to do on a day where I'm a prisoner in my home, my kids are going haywire and I need the psychotherapy that baking delivers!

This winter has been particularly harsh, and we have had a number of snow days, so I've been doing a lot of snow day baking. Granted, my daughter is only in preschool now, so snow days are not what they will be in a few years, but I take full advantage of the snow day joy I used to feel as a student and teacher! Yipeeee, a snow day!

Last week, we had not only a snow day but an ice was falling from the sky leaving us in a cocoon of ice. It was cold and grey, and I needed to bake something...the urge hit me. Looking in my cupborads I found that I had some Ghirardelli chips and all the fixings for chocolate chip cookies, and I was elated to know that I would soon have some chocolate chip cookies. But which recipe to follow? Such a conundrum.
I'm always looking for the Holy Grail of chocolate chip cookie recipes. I've tried so many. Martha Stewart has a few, the chocolate chunk recipe I've done on this site is good, but still doesn't wow me. I tried her daughter's (Alexis) "favorite chocolate chip cookies" and was kind of disgusted by the results...very flat, very chewy and oily as can be. I don't like that kind of cookie. I tried giving them away and was given a look of confusion by the recipient.

So the search goes on. This day, I decided to flip the Ghirardellis over and use their recipe since it was new to me. (I have since discarded the package, but you can find the recipe on the back of any Ghirardelli chip package).

What I liked about these cookies was that the end result had a perfect chocolate chip cookie shape (they didn't spread out too much) and a ton of flavor. Of course, I toyed with the recipe and used three kinds of chips: milk, dark and white, plus added some toasted walnuts. So good. Eaten straight from the oven, they were a dream. I liked them better than most chocolate chip cookies I've made.

The only down side I found was that once they cooled they got rather hard. Not "too" hard, but they totally lost their softness and chew. They were still excellent and looked and tasted just as good as anything I've ever seen for sale, but they were too hard for my taste.

So, I'll keep looking for the perfect CCC recipe. I think I'll try America's Test Kitchen next, those look good, they promise their secret methods will produce a chewy cookie, and to top it all off tomorrow might be another snow day!
In the meantime, don't be shy.... go grab a bag of Ghirardelli (whose chips are excellent by the way) and try out their recipe, it's a good one especially if you enjoy a crunch.


Robert said...

Ghirardelli is having my all time favorite milk & caramel prestige chocolate bar.

Colleen O said...

Any thoughts on the perfect cut-out cookie? I believe my High Altitude rendition of Ghiradellis chocolate chip cookie is THE ONE, and I also believe Martha Stewarts cut-out cookie recipe is the best. I ask because tomorrow, we bake halloween cookies! It may not be snowing, but there's a cold front coming through, and that's close enough for me after a long hot summer.

Lesley said...

My favorite is the cut out cookie I have posted in my blog...I believe it is under October 07 or November 07. I got it from Williams SOnoma and it is perfect.