I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions (which is probably for the best as I am both indecisive and writing a baking blog!). So, no need to fear: Expatisserie is not going detox for the first part of 2015. As evidenced by the title of this post.
As I shake off the January blues, I’m going back over the recipes I made in the lead up to Christmas and would like to share some of the best with you. I spent a wonderful two weeks over Christmas and New Year’s with my boyfriend’s family in a beautiful town on the Lancashire coast. The bracing wind, grey sea, and clear blue skies were breathtaking and a very welcome break from the grey air of London. On top of this, I had my first real British Christmas, complete with trips to the local pub, country walks, Yorkshire puddings, many games of charades and plenty of milky tea and G&Ts (not at the same time)! It was fantastic.
In the weeks leading up to our trip, I asked my boyfriend if his family makes Christmas cookies every year. I know my family (and many others all across the US) view making and giving away batches of festive cookies to friends and neighbors as an annual tradition. Apparently, it’s not so much a thing here. So I got it in my head to bring loads of Christmas cookies with me to Lancashire. In an attempt to please everyone I ended up baking two recipes: a batch of gingerbread biscotti (from this recipe) and a double batch of classic Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies. That way there was something a bit more sophisticated and seasonal for the adults, and also something kid-friendly and typically American to please any sweet tooth. Both went over very well, but I am sharing the chocolate chip recipe as it will likely be much more useful in late January, and indeed throughout the year, than a gingerbread-scented recipe which is so inextricably linked with the festive season.
I’ve made many a chocolate chip cookie in my life, and tested lots of recipes, but you just can’t go wrong with the Nestle Tollhouse recipe. It’s not fancy, there are no clever shortcuts, tips, or surprise ingredients, but that’s what’s so great about it: it is just a good chocolate chip cookie, plain and simple. It’s also such a basic cookie recipe that it is a good introduction into cookie making; a place to start for even the most novice baker. And if it’s been years since you’ve had a chocolate chip cookie, make this recipe and it will take you right back to your after school cookie-and-milk dunking days, I promise.
Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies
The original recipe says this makes 5 dozen cookies, but when I make it I usually get more like 3 dozen. They must use very small scoops of dough! Recipe can be found here or on the back of Nestle chocolate chip bags.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir together the first three ingredients in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, mix together the butter and both types of sugar, beating with an electric mixer until creamy. Add in the vanilla and eggs, mixing well. Gradually stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon then stir in the chocolate chips (and a cup of chopped nuts, if you fancy it).
Scoop out rounded tablespoons and place on ungreased baking sheets, leaving a couple of inches in between each ball of dough. Bake for about 10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them after 6-8 minutes. If you don’t want to bake them straight away, the dough will keep, well-covered, in the fridge for a week and you can bake from chilled.
Eat them while warm with milk or milky tea!