Offer fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, and Bob will agree to just about anything. Pick up groceries? Move furniture? Spend hours shopping at the outlet mall (IF we are in Alabama)? No problem!
But making these favorites can be a chore. That's why I wanted to try this simple recipe from Southern Living Classic Southern Desserts (Oxmoor House, June 2012, $21.95).
Besides having only three steps, this no-guesswork-required spin on our go-to goodie is practically guaranteed to be a hit! After all, it's been perfected in the test kitchens of Southern Living, one of my most-trusted sources for cooking inspiration.
You need only nine ingredients, most of which I had on-hand: butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, baking soda and salt. We had to get chocolate chips (yum!), eggs and dark brown sugar.
The dark brown sugar gives these little treats a molasses-like sweetness that's worth a special stop even if you're like me and usually use the light brown variety. Worried about storing what's leftover? Divide it into 1/4-cup servings and freeze in airtight bags. That way it won't go hard in your pantry. Next time you're ready to bake, just microwave the frozen sugar a few seconds and it'll soften right up.
To make the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, begin by beating the butter and sugars until creamy; then blend in eggs and vanilla. A stand mixer makes this job really easy because you can walk away while it does the work.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add them to the butter mixture a little at a time, beating after each addition.
Here I had a light-bulb moment. Why not toss in some pecans since Bob loves a little crunch? Just as I was debating how many to add, I noticed the folks at Southern Living had been there, done that. And they'd spelled it out in a variation (shown below) for Pecan-Chocolate Chip Cookies, which advised baking the pecans BEFORE stirring them into the cookie dough with the chocolate chips and then baking the cookies. Twice-baked pecans? Now, that was a different and downright delicious way to increase the munch factor.
After adding the chips and pecans (if desired), you drop the cookie dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets (yes, no mess!). Although the recipe suggests tablespoon-sized creations, I used a small ice cream scoop to dole out the dough.
Like your cookies soft and gooey (ahhhh!)? Bake them for 10 minutes. Want crisper concoctions? Keep them in the oven a little longer.
I went the chewy route but, either way, these tasty treasures are winners. They keep well stored in an airtight container. They're yummy served as is or, for the ultimate pleasure, pop them in the microwave for about 20 seconds to play up the fresh-from-the-oven flavor.
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
3⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1⁄4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3⁄4 teaspoons salt
1 (12-oz.) package semisweet chocolate morsels
Pecan-Chocolate Chip Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Proceed with recipe as directed, stirring in toasted pecans with morsels.
Oatmeal-Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies: Reduce flour to 2 cups. Proceed with recipe as directed, stirring 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats into dry ingredients in Step 2 and 1 cup raisins with morsels.
Recipe from the Southern Living Classic Southern Desserts*
Author: The editors of Southern Living
Publisher: Oxmoor House
Penned: June 12, 2012
What's Inside: More than 200 favorite recipes for cakes, cookies, pies, puddings, cobblers, ice cream and other goodies fine-tuned in the Southern Living Test Kitchens over the past 40 years.
Time Out: 344 pages
Available: $21.95 at Amazon and most book retailers
* Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Here are some other delicious dessert ideas:
Love FREE stuff? We've teamed up with Stubb's Legendary Bar-B-Q to give away a $30-value coupon bundle good for an assortment of their fast, smokehouse-flavored favorites. Click here for details on how to enter. Contest ends Aug. 21, 2014.
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