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Food Forum

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These chocolate chip cookies look 'just like the picture'

“How is it when you make cookies they always come out looking like the picture?” said Mary recently. “They never do for me.”

It’s the time of year when I find myself making Nestle’s Toll House cookies using the recipe on the back of the yellow bag, something I’ve done for so long that I’ve figured out how to make them come out “Like the picture.” Or more like it, anyway.

It frustrated me that the chips got covered by the dough as they cooked, with only bits of some showing. It was especially annoying with the colorful M & M baking chips. Now I’ve learned not to use all the chips in the dough; I keep back about a quarter of the bag. Then I bake the cookies partway, take them out and press some chips into the tops of the cookies, which have already started to set. I use one or two extra chips if there are some showing, and more if they are not. You can evenly distribute the chips, and they don’t sink.

This time I rolled them by hand, kind of big, about 1 and 1/2 inches across. Alternatively, I’ll use a number 70 scoop, which measures about a half-ounce, the size of chocolate truffles. But since the dough was chilled it was just as easy to roll them myself, and they come out more uniform that way. The package says to bake them at 375 degrees for six to 11 minutes. I set the timer for eight, slid them out of the oven and pressed in the chips then. Since I like them brown and cooked through, I baked them another six minutes, for a total of 14 minutes.

I have come to appreciate mini chocolate chips. Smaller chips melt sooner in your mouth, delivering chocolate flavor more quickly. I also keep back part of the bag when I make the dough with them, but before they are baked I dip the dough balls into a small bowl containing the reserved mini chips. They look a bit like hedgehogs going into the oven, but the chips spread out over the tops of the cookies as they bake, in a somewhat uniform fashion.

Another tip: before I pack the cookies to give away, put them on a plate or into the cookie jar, I refrigerate them until the chips are set. Otherwise, the chocolate smears and they make a mess.
The Toll House recipe doesn’t make the prettiest cookies, I’ve learned. They don’t come out looking like commercial cookies, and they are always kind of flat across the top, even if they’re undercooked a bit, as some folks like them. A friend makes picture-perfect browned and bumpy chocolate chip cookies using vegetable oil, of all things.

The bottom line is, no one really cares what Toll House cookies look like once they take a bite.

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