Question: When is a biscuit, not a biscuit in Ireland?
Answer: When it’s a chocolate chip cookie!
Say: Chocolate Chip Biscuit……………now say: Chocolate Chip Cookie……………Do you hear it? It’s just not right. The biscuit doesn’t roll off your tongue the same way the cookie does. I’m not for changing the biscuit/cookie reference for all treats…just the ones with little morsels of chocolate as a main ingredient.
I remember years ago when a group of women from the American Women’s Club in Dublin sent a letter to the Nestlé Corporation in Switzerland asking them to please sell their famous yellow bags of chocolate chips in Ireland. I don’t think the reply was ever made public but the gist of it was, most politely, “No – but thank you for asking.”
What Americans living in Ireland can’t understand is why (or is it, why not)? Nestlé products are readily available in Ireland. There is, for example, bottled water, coffee, breakfast cereals, sweets and dairy products in every corner shop and supermarket across the nation. One can even buy Nestlé’s Nesquik to turn their glass of milk chocolaty. You’d think that bags of chocolate flavoured chips would be equally popular?! But, alas, it must not be or else the corporation that is Nestlé would be selling them.
Thankfully one can buy non-Nestlé chocolate chips from places such as Avoca Handweavers and Caviston’s Food Emporium and, maybe, even Donnybrook Fair. I’ve never had a need to know but, most likely, they are also available elsewhere sold in small plastic tubs or from large glass jars on shelves behind counters. If one is truly desperate, it is possible to make excellent chips by chopping up a bar of good quality chocolate into small pieces, much the way Ruth Wakefield, the inventor of the first chocolate chip cookie, did long ago in her B&B in Massachusetts.
Once you have your mind set on making these crunchy yet soft, sweet yet salty, treats, a recipe must be found. I love the original recipe baked accidentally by Ruth and made famous by Nestlé but I am told that Alton Brown and the New York Times have excellent versions worth considering. What follows below is the original recipe and links for the other two for your consideration.
And, if I may, here are four suggestions I have found helpful in making the chocolate chip cookies. I hope they are helpful to you too.
2. Use room temperature eggs.
3. Take the cookies out of the oven before they bake past a “golden” colour: brown cookies are hard cookies.
4. Be sure your oven is set at exactly the right temperature. If not, your cookies may sink in the middle.
Makes 5-6 Dozen Cookies
1 cup/8oz butter
3/4 cup/6oz sugar
3/4 cup/6oz packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup/13oz self-raising (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (bread soda)
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 package Nestlé Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips or 12oz/340g chopped chocolate or chocolate pieces
1. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
2. Combine flour, baking soda (bread soda) and salt in a small bowl.
3. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet (baking tray) and bake for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Cool on baking tray for about 2 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes: For High Altitude Baking (5,200 feet above sea level): Increase flour to 2 ½ cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookies for 17 to 19 minutes.
NY Times Article about the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/09chip.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=dining and cookie recipe at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html?ref=dining
Alton Brown’s Recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, which he calls The Chewy at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-chewy-recipe/index.html
The History of the Toll House Cookie at: http://www.nestleprofessional.com/united-states/en/Documents/TollHouse/NESTLE%20Toll%20House-%20Story.pdf
May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day in America.