Baking Case File 1: Cinnamon-Chocolate Cookie Strips

When I was starting college, my dad gave me a cookbook as a present.  It is Betty Crocker’s Quick & Easy Cookbook: 30 minutes or less to dinner every night.  I was appreciative but skeptical.  For one thing, my parents’ cookbook shelf is full of Moosewood tomes, full of lovely vegetarian dishes by the lovely Molly Katzen, who writes things like “Pile up everything in a provocative yet compelling arrangement” in the margins of the recipes.

Whereas Betty Crocker seemed too… old-fashioned?  Midwestern?  Full of recipes like “Cheesy tuna broccoli skillet casserole”?  Yes, all that.  So I wasn’t sure why my dad thought I needed the Betty Crocker.  And yet, it was a great choice for a beginning cook.  It has big color pictures, and easy instructions, and while some of the meals (see above casserole) do not appeal to me in the least, I’ve found some reliably tasty dinner options.

But this post isn’t about those.  It’s about cookies.  I love cookies.  I love eating them, naturally, and I also really like baking them.  I like the fact that baking cookies is fairly straightforward, that there’s not a lot of improvising.  It can be kind of relaxing, almost meditative.  Or, alternately, social, since cookie baking is a great activity while gossiping with friends.  Plus, obviously, there’s the eating of cookie dough, which is often the best part.  And then smelling the dough turning cookie-ish in the oven…  and eating a few chocolate chips while waiting…

I have a number of favorite cookie recipes, and this is definitely one of them.  It is SO easy and such a surefire crowd-pleaser.  I made them Sunday night with J., who supplied a second stick of butter when I realized I didn’t have enoough, and who said they’re like “snickerdoodles with chocolate chips,” which is true.  We ate a bunch of them still warm and gooey, and then I brought a bunch to work today to rave reviews.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips*
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

*I think it’s worth it to go for the really good chocolate chips, especially when they’re on sale, like they were last time I went shopping.  But look, I suppose Nestle is good too.  Just don’t wuss out and get milk chocolate chips, ok?

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Beat the sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl either with an electric mixer on medium speed (if you’re lazy but have a dishwasher) or mix with spoon (if your arm wants a mini-workout and you don’t want as many dishes, or you don’t have an electric mixer).  I go with the spoon.
  2. Stir in flour and baking powder.  I told you this was easy– you don’t even need 2 bowls.  Now stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Divide dough into fourths (doesn’t have to be exactly even).  Shape each fourth into a roll, about an inch in diameter and 15 inches long, and then place rolls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Or make three longer rolls that fit length-wise down the cookie sheet.  Either way, now flatten the rolls a bit with a fork.
  4. Mix the 2 tbs of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the dough.
  5. Bake for 12-13 minutes and take them out while they still look kinda gooey.  Let cool for at least 5 min, then cut the rolls into about 1 inch strips.
Mmmmmm.

And whatever you do, do not try to take these cookies into the Capitol.  I had a meeting there tonight, and the very nice security guy told me I was not allowed to bring food inside, but that he would, for me, keep my cookies there at the entrance so I could claim them on my way out.  Which was a relief.

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