So today I decided to do an experiment because yesterday as Anna, from Cookie Madness, and I were emailing back and forth she made me think of my mom's (and therefore my grandma's) chocolate chip cookies that I grew up making at home. After thinking about the recipe, which I have not made for a long time, I decided to do a test. You see Grandma Farnsworth's cookies are made with shortening. I have recently only been baking with real butter. And Anna recently posted a chocolate chip cookie made with oil (to use when you're in a pinch and don't have any butter). That gave me three recipes to consider and try out. Since tonight is family night (every Monday night we do things together as a family--each taking turns with a little gospel lesson, an activity/game, and refreshments--or treats!). Tonight is Taylor's turn for treats so I asked him if he wanted to help me make three different cookies. He loves to help me (and I realize now I should take pictures of him doing so, and not just pictures of my baked goods). I measured everything and Taylor dumped them all into the bowls at the right times. He really is a good helper--when he isn't in the mood to eat all the chocolate chips! ;)
We started by making the Chocolate Chip Cookies made with oil. The recipe can be found here. I thought Anna's cookies looked decent, but mine for some reason are strange. The dough was VERY crumbly and just wouldn't come together. I added a bit more oil to see if that would do it and nope, just made it more oily. I had to take a handful of crumbles and really squeeze it together to get it to say in a ball. Then after they baked, which I didn't check on, they never really flattened out, so we have baked balls of chocolate chips dough. I wanted to like these, but they are very oily. I think any cookie is better with nuts, but my son does not, so today we left the nuts out. (Kinda glad I didn't use nuts in these anyway.)
I would probably only make these cookies again if I was REALLY needing a chocolate chip cookie and had no butter-or shortening. The recipe called for 3/4 cup of rice krispies, which I would not worry about next time. The baked cookies are just about as crumbly as the dough was.
Next up we made Grandma Farnsworth's Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies use shortening for the fat. I try not to use shortening in baking anymore, even though I know the trans fat has been removed, I still just like using butter better. But having made these cookies many, many times growing up, I wanted to see if they were still as yummy as I'd always thought and to pay respects to my grandma. I don't know where she got the recipe from. I had exactly 1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco shortening left, so I divided the recipe by four. It is a huge recipe and if you're wanting to make a bunch of cookies for a crowd, this is great. The recipe is:
2 cups shortening
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
5 rounded heaping cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups chocolate chips (or more)
Cream together the shortening and both sugars. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the hot water and vanilla extract and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then add to the wet mixture until combined. Add chocolate chips (nuts also optional). Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes 6-8 dozen. *Note--the recipe is large and if you use a Kitchen Aid type mixer, it is pretty full, but does the job!)
Again--I quartered the recipe today and it made just under 2 dozen.
The cookies are good, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, not really chewy, and not cakey. It was what I remembered it to be--BUT I do love a cookie made with butter instead. Hey Dad, I made the two on the right just for you--a little well-done and crispy. You're welcome.
And finally I made a cookie that used butter for the fat. As I was looking through my old recipe box (which still has some recipes in it that I wrote from my seventh grade home ec class--I don't think I've ever made any of those recipes since then--they just weren't that good!), but as I was looking through it, I found a recipe for Koi's (that's me) Chocolate Chip Cookies that I had written when I was a teenager. I also found one that I'd written for brownies, hmmm, maybe I'll have to thy those, too. I don't know where I got the amounts from or what, I probably just revamped a recipe I'd used or something. So the third one we made today was this one. While I have decided that I like a cookie made with butter the best, this one is just okay. I'll even admit my own cookie is just okay! ;) We baked some with just chocolate chips, but that was getting old, so I then added some mini m&m's and some of those Hershey's Kissables I'd bought earlier last week. The cookie really isn't too much different from Grandma Farnsworth's, slightly crisp on the outside, slightly chewy with a soft inside. But it does have more flavor with the butter and I definitely like it better. So the recipe is:
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups flour (not sure why I decided to make it so vague) When I made them today I used about 3 cups. I was probably just used to Grandma's recipe that used rounded heaping cupfuls and sometimes it really does vary a bit.
2 cups chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugars together well. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Mix in dry ingredients then chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
After everyone tasted each of the cookies tonight, it was almost unanimous that the butter ones were the better of the three. The only odd man out was Taylor and he strangely said he liked the oil based cookie the best! Silly boy! I would just like to say that as I also made the great Chock Full of Chocolate Chip Cookies again recently, I think they are still my running favorite. You can find the recipe on my blog here. I love these and will have to say the Levain's are right up there, which are also on this link.
Again, happy baking!