One thing that annoys me about American baking recipes is that ingredients are always noted in volume. For example, rather than saying 4 ounces of butter, a typical recipe will say 8 tablespoons of butter. This is no good for an obsessive person like me. I need things to be PRECISE. (And I’m not the only one fighting this battle. Alton Brown notes items like flour in weight, as does Marion Cunningham. Jeffrey Steingarten has ranted about the weight vs. volume issue. No surprise that all three are some of my favorite cookbook authors and food writers.)
This issue is especially problematic now that I’m living in Europe. Not only do I have to deal with the imprecision of “1/2 cup” in a baking recipe, but now I have to make the volume conversion to metric. Thankfully, I don’t have to do this too often because I have American measuring cups, but it’s a problem with butter. Butter is an issue because it ought to be noted by weight, as it is in European recipes, but too often it’s noted by tablespoon volume in American recipes. In America, you just slice the stick of butter to the “3 tablespoon” hashmark, right through the paper. Here, because it’s noted in metric on the butter wrapper, I would actually have to break out the tablespoon. Have you ever put butter in a tablespoon? The consistency makes it a horrible thing to measure, and half of it stays in the tablespoon or measuring cup or whatever.
So, lazy me, I’ve been doing the conversions in my head and basically eyeballing the 250-gram stick of butter. Fortunately, the other day this half-witted methodology resulted in an excellent chocolate chip cookie, so I’m reproducing the accidental recipe here (complete with volume measurements for butter– lucky you!)
Metric Mismeasurement Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Normally my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies is the excellent Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Best Recipe (one of my favorite cookbooks for American standards). I started mixing the ingredients before realizing that I may not have enough butter, so I added light cooking oil to make up the difference. Turns out I had too much butter, which is what ended up making the end-product so good: they were huge, flat and chewy and not overly sweet.
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (4 oz.), melted and cooled until warm
1/4 cup light cooking oil (i.e. sunflower oil, which is what I used)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, and 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (i.e. Ghirardelli bittersweet)
1 cup toasted and chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the melted butter and cooking oil.
- Beat the butter/oil and sugars at low speed in an electric mixer until combined. Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined, at low speed.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts until just combined.
- Drop the dough by the tablespoon on the cookie sheet, leaving about 2-inches space between the dough. Flatten the doughballs slightly in the center with your fingertips or the back of the tablespoon.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are golden brown at the center, medium brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on the cookie sheets, transferring to a wire rack once cooled.
Flat and chewy (and chocolatey)