Friday, August 27, 2010

Cookies! Ranger Cookies! Oatmeal Cookies! Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Cookies! Ranger Cookies! Oatmeal Cookies! Chocolate Chip Cookies!
We like cookies!

And we especially like the cookies we make ourselves.

Because, if we do say so ourselves, these cookies are REALLY GOOD!

Our current pleasure and satisfaction with cookies started out just the other way around -- we did not like most of the commercial cookies we bought and didn't like the cookie dough-in-a-log cookies from the refrigerated section of the supermarket. They had a funny taste.

And as much as we cook and like to cook, we are not bakers. So .. what to do?

But we decided, after all, how hard could it be? They're just cookies, right?

The internet is FULL of recipes for cookies, so we decided to start with well-recognized recipe sources like Food Network, Nestle (Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, don't you know?), Epicurious, Martha Stewart, and so on.

And we discovered that there are only so many basic recipes, and most are more similar than they are different.

Our current favorites include:

Ranger Cookie Variation (no coconut), other ad-ins:

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Baking Soda
2 sticks, 1/2 lb Unsalted Butter at room temperature (you can nuke it soft -- do not melt it)
2 TSP Vanilla (the real stuff, not artificial)
1 cup refined White Sugar
1 cup light or dark Brown Sugar
2 Beaten Eggs
1-1/2 cups crushed Corn Flakes
1-1/2 cups Quick Oatmeal -- optional
2 cups dried Cranberries
2 cups chopped Walnuts
1 cup Nestle Heat Bar crushed Toffee and Milk Chocolate
1 cup Nestle or preferably Ghirardelli White Chocolate

The last 2 items are available in the Baking Section of your supermarket. If you don't like nuts, leave 'em out -- same for any of the other ingredients

Mix the first 3 ingredients together in a mixing bowl, reserve, and add the next 4 ingredients to another mixing bowl and roughly mix by hand/spoon, then switch to a hand mixer or stand mixer and mix for 1 to 2 minutes or until the mixture lightens in color noticeably. Then add the beaten ages and continue mixing for another minute or 2 until well incorporated..

Add the flour, salt, baking soda mixture to the sugar, butter, etc. mixture and fold/mix together for a couple of minutes with a big spoon or a silicone spatula -- you hand or stand mixer will have a tough time with the mixture as it becomes increasingly stiff.

Add the Corn Flakes and optional Oatmeal (if you want), and mix again until well incorporated.

Last but not least add the remaining 4 items, Cranberries, Walnuts, Toffee, White Chocolate and mix again. The cookie dough mixture will be VERY stiff by now. Persevere! It's worth it.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and grab your biggest sheet pan(s). If you have parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, so much the better, but the plain baking sheet will be fine. You will just have to do more pan cleaning between batches.

Drop large golf ball sized  spoons of cookie dough 3 inches or so apart onto the pan or use wet hands so the dough will not stick, and then with a wet spoon or hand, lightly flatten each ball to about 1/2 an inch thick.

Bake in the middle of the oven for anywhere from 15 to 22 minutes according to your oven and personal taste. I like well-cooked cookies, and my oven runs a little cool, so I bake them for about 20 minutes.

The will be great from about 15 minutes after removal from the oven, but best the next day.

Do you have cookie recipes you like?

Yours in cookie dough,

~Ted and Emma

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