I dream of being a domestic goddess, serving hot, fresh cookies to my guests. Truth is, that doesn’t happen very often. First of all, there’s the fact that I’m a messy cook, so if I want to impress with hot cookies, I’m going to have to sacrifice the neat kitchen I like to show my guests. Then there are those days when I just don’t have time to bake and end up serving store bought cookies. Don’t get me wrong, they can be very nice, but when people know you are a food blogger, they expect a little more. Frankly, I expect more of myself.
What I wanted to develop was slice and bake chocolate chip cookies that I could make myself from scratch, and keep in the fridge, or even long term in the freezer. I wanted to develop a dough that would roll into a nice log shape, and after chilling or freezing, slice and bake like the ones the Pillsbury Dough Boy makes. And last week, I decided to do it.
It was a wholly successful experiment, and led to the development of three basic cookies, all with variations. All of them can be sliced and baked from chilled or frozen. And in one of those glorious twists of fate that makes me smile, the cookies baked from frozen taste just as good if not better than those cooked from chilled. I’m going to share all three varieties with you over the next little while, but I wanted to start with the one I’m most proud of – my Slice and Bake Chocolate Chip cookies.
This recipe makes cookies with a lovely cake-y texture that keep well at in a sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. The logs of dough will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days chilled or freeze for up to one month. If you are going to freeze the logs of dough, chill them overnight first, and then pop in the freezer. You can build up a little collection of cookie logs in your freezer and glory in the knowledge that you are never more than 15 minutes away from hot, fresh cookies. I’m still not a domestic goddess, but this recipe makes me feel like I’m getting just a little closer.
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2¾ cups all purpose (plain) flour plus a bit more for rolling the dough into logs
½ teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Variations: Substitute any flavour chip – white chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, or peanut butter and chocolate – for the chocolate chips. Or use ½ cup flavoured chips and ½ cup finely chopped nuts instead (white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts make a fabulous combination).
You also need waxed or greaseproof paper, or baking parchment.
Cream the butter by hand or in an electric mixer. Add the sugar and continue creaming. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda and salt.
You will need to use a wooden spoon to stir the two mixtures together. Remove the bowl containing the butter and sugar mixture from the mixer. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture all at once together with the chocolate chips. Be sure to incorporate all the flour.
Take a large piece of waxed or greaseproof paper or baking parchment and sprinkle a little flour on it. Flour your hands a bit as well. Take half the cookie dough and put it in the centre of the paper. Using the paper to help you, shape the dough into a log about 11 to 12 inches (28 to 30 centimetres) long. Repeat with another piece of paper and the rest of the dough.
Wrap the dough up tightly in the paper or baking parchment.
Place the cookie dough logs in a plastic bag and put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. The next day, either freeze the dough, or bake it from chilled.
When you want to bake the frozen or chilled dough, preheat the oven to 350℉ (about 160℃ for a fan oven). Slice the cookie logs into slices just a bit less than one quarter inch thick (about half a centimetre) and place on baking sheets. They don’t spread all that much, but be sure to space them at least an inch apart. Each log will make about 24 to 28 cookies depending on how thick you slice them.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes from chilled (or 11 to 14 minutes from frozen) until they are lightly golden. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for at least five minutes. Carefully remove the cookies from the baking sheets and cool on a wire rack.