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Rachael's search for a soft and chewy cookie in yesterday's column produced a lot of advice from readers. My suggestion was to add more flour, because that's what I do here in Florida when the humidity messes with my cookies and they fall flat. But readers said I was wrong and offered their own soft and chewy tips.
"Foolproof soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies--use butter flavored Crisco. Guaranteed."--Allison Williams
"Dear Suzanne, I must disagree with you. The flour does control the density of the cookie somewhat. Perhaps in Florida altitude and humidity flour power works. However, my north-westerly advice would be to shorten the time the reader/baker allows the cookie to bake. If the cookie 'looks done' then it is already over-baked. Cookies should come out of the oven before the center looks done. This allows the center to remain chewy because of the dough. I try to have the edges crisp but the center soft. It takes guts. Your mind says 'No, they are still raw.' But the proof is in the pudding...I mean cookie. Move them to a cookie rack to cool and then into an air tight container pronto. Well, eat one or two first. The best cookie ever is right out of the oven, cooled enough to prevent scorching your tongue."--Wendy
But a different Wendi says the proof IS in the pudding...
"Try this recipe and you will never make the old ones again. I love the fact that you can use any flavor pudding...I thought I would try strawberry pudding with white chocolate...yum."--Wendi Morris
Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips (12 oz.)
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Mix flour and baking powder, set aside. In large bowl cream margarine, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in pudding mix. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Place rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased tin and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes till edges are golden. You can use any flavor pudding mix...peanut butter chips and chocolate pudding sounds fantastic!
Debra H. sent her mother's recipe...
Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. butter or margarine or 2/3 c. canola oil
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. water (mix all above ingredients until creamy) Add: 3 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda Add: 12 oz. chocolate chips (stir in)
Drop by rounded tsp. on cookie sheet. Bake @ 400 for 8-10 minutes till med. brown.
Helene agrees that NOT over baking is the secret to a soft cookie...
"My late mother-in-law was a fantastic baker and she told me the secret was in not over-baking. She said cookies continued to bake for a couple of minutes when you take them out of the oven because the cookie sheet retains the heat. She took them out just as they started to brown at the edges and immediately transferred them to a cooling rack."
And finally, if you figure out how to bake soft cookies, but they get hard in the cookie jar, Lori's husband and Dawn Ibach remind us that adding a slice of bread will soften them right up.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about baking soft and chewy chocolate chips. Don't forget to dunk!
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
** Congratulations to the winner's of the piggy giveaway. The stuffed pig winners are: Millie Jolley and Linda Hinricksen. The pig key chain winners are: Floyd Bateman, Pegeen Sheakoski, Marnie Castleberry, Samantha Bellefeuille, Isaac Valencia and Brandy Standefer.
* This month's Penguin Classic book is The American by Henry James. Tell me what you think of the book, and I'll put your name in the free Penguin Classic's Drawing. Go to: