Two years ago, I was about to graduate from college. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew where I wanted to go: France. It had always been my dream to live in France, and after I had a taste of life abroad my junior year of college, I knew I had to go back…It was one of those instinctual feelings, one that I knew I shouldn’t ignore.
However, I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there. I knew I wasn’t ready for Grad School, and after three years of stapling papers, filing, and photocopying as an on-campus “Office Assistant,” I knew that my skills were limited. What could I do, I pondered, that would lead me back to the country I loved, but also keep me from becoming destitute?
The answer, believe it or not, came from Google. Later, after I got back from France, people would ask me: How did you hear about the job? My answer? I didn’t. I googled the words, “Teaching English in France.” I knew enough about the English language to teach, I reasoned, and the position would allow me to live for at least seven months in France. I applied through the French Embassy in America, and voila- in the Spring of my senior year, I received an email telling me I had been accepted into the Teaching Abroad program.
Of course, Google only won me half the battle. I found the position and got accepted, but then spent eight months of my life learning about the trials and tribulations of teaching, as well as life abroad. It was an amazing experience; one that I know I’ll never forget. But still- I found that no matter how much I was enjoying myself, I still yearned for some uniquely American food items.
Chocolate Chip Cookies are a perfect example. Unsurprisingly, a Chocolate Chip Cookie isn’t the best thing to buy at a French bakery. They sell them, which many people don’t realize, but compared to buttery, flaky croissants and carefully constructed Strawberry Tarts, the Chocolate Chip Cookie barely can hold its own. I bought a Chocolate Chip Cookie from a Boulangerie a couple months before I returned to the United States, and made a mental note to stick to Pain au Chocolat; not Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Now I’m back in the Birthplace of the Chocolate Chip Cookie, and find them at every turn. However, the best cookies (in my humble opinion) aren’t the ones you buy, but the ones you bake. I like the chewy variety the best, the ones that stay soft in the middle and are still a little gooey the next day.
I came across my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in the same way I discovered Teaching in France. I had a craving for the softest, chewiest cookie, and didn’t want to leave my house to go find one. So I googled “best chewy chocolate chip cookies,” and met my recipe match. Interestingly enough, it was from Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies Special Issue Magazine in 2005. Mere months after she was released from prison, she was already creating cookie genius…
Anyway. This recipe never fails. Whenever I bring a tubful of cookies to the office, they quickly disappear, and my family still occasionally requests them. The dough is delicious (I’ve been know to indulge in my fair share), and the recipe is quick and simple. However, watch the baking time, because Martha’s recipe calls for 8-10 minutes, but I’ve found that 10-15 is more accurate.
You can use any brand of chocolate chips, and the first time I made the cookies, I used a mix of Ghiradelli’s dark chocolate and semi-sweet (it was all that was in the pantry.) Of course, Toll House Semi-Sweet Chips are the traditional choice.
Whatever chips you use, you can’t go wrong with these cookies. And as always, Google has served me well.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, Special Holiday Issue 2005):
- Yield Makes about 3 dozen
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.