Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Typical American: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Important: I made a serious error on the original recipe, so if you made note of the measurements, please look again. This recipe calls for TWO and one-fourth cups of flour (2 1/4 cups)! The recipe below is now corrected.  (Thanks, Mom!)

Coming to Germany and don't know what to bring as a gift for your hosts? Visiting an American expat in Germany and want to bring a little taste of home? Are you an American expat and want to bring something typical American to a German party?

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, Baby!!

For whatever reason, Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (chips) are not available in Germany. Ok, I found them on Amazon.de, but they are so expensive that I would have to be extremely desperate to order them. Instead, I stock up when I am in the States, and I ask any visitors coming from there to bring me more bags. There are chocolate chips in Germany, but don't use them. They're milk chocolate and too sweet for these cookies.

Of course I can get semi-sweet (halbbitter) chocolate here in the form of a candy bar, but then the pieces of chocolate won't hold their cute little signature chip shape.

I've been baking these tasty little buggers since I was old enough to turn the oven on by myself. Here in Germany by now when I bring them somewhere where I've brought them before, people say, "Oh my God, are these THE cookies?!"

In Germany cookies tend to be treats baked at Christmas time. In America, cookies are available all year round - chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, snickerdoodles, and of course all the processed pre-packaged ones like Oreos, Keebler Fudge Stripes, Windmill cookies, and hundreds of others.

But let's get back to home-baked Nestle Toll House cookies. I'm not going to worry about copyright infringement because in order to bake these you must buy the Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, and the recipe is on the back of the package. I'll just include the German measurements as well.

Here's what you'll need:


  2 1/4 cup flour (ca. 300g - online conversion says 280g)
  1 teaspoon baking soda (Backnatron)
  1 teaspoon salt

  1 cup soft butter (227g)
  3/4 cup sugar (135g)
  3/4 cup brown sugar (132g)
  1 teaspoon vanilla (1 Röhrchen Butter-Vanille Aroma)
  2 eggs
  2 cups Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (340g)
  1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (97g)*

*The nuts are optional. If you don't add them, though, you'll need to add more flour or the cookies will be paper thin with chocolate bulges. How much extra flour? I don't know because I haven't made them without nuts since I was a teenager. Probably 1/2 cup or a bit more.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C Ober- und Unterhitze).
  2. Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix together butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients, mixing well.
  6. Add chips and mix to evenly distribute. Use a wooden spoon - the dough is thick!
  7. Add nuts if desired, and mix well. 
  8. Drop small blobs of dough mixture onto a cookie sheet (Backblech lined with Backpapier*).
    *Backpapier is like parchment paper.
    If you keep them small enough you should be able to fit 20 blobs on one sheet.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown (I usually bake the first sheet for 11 minutes).
  10. Cool cookies on cooling rack.
The dough is distressingly delicious, but really bad for you (raw eggs and all).
Don't eat too much of it.

five rows of four dough blobs

first sheet done - do try one fresh out of the oven,
but careful not to burn yourself on the chocolate

Tips and tricks:

While one sheet is in the oven, tear off another sheet of Backpapier and drop 20 cookie dough blobs on it. When the first sheet is done, slide the Backpapier off the cookie sheet (Backblech) onto the counter, slide the next batch onto the hot cookie sheet, put it back in the oven, and start the timer again for 10 minutes. This saves time!
If you don't eat much or any of the raw dough and keep the blobs small, you can get 100 cookies out of one recipe!
If you're using the American measuring cups, use the same 3/4-cup measuring cup for the sugar, brown sugar, and flour to save on dishes to wash afterwards. 3/4 cup flour x 3 = 2 1/4 cups! I'm not sure how that dawned on me when I was young, because I've always sucked at math.
Don't store the cookies in an air-tight container or bag until a day or two after baking them. That makes them harder, but if they're stored uncovered, they stay softish. After a few days it doesn't seem to matter and you can put them in a plastic container or ziplock bag.
You can freeze extras! So, for instance, serve and eat half the batch, and put the rest in the freezer (after they're totally cooled). If you're lucky you'll forget about them, and then a month or more later you can thaw them and enjoy it again without the work of baking! Actually they're good straight out of the freezer as well.

Gluten-free Version

Use Buchweizenmehl (buckwheat flour) instead of regular flour. The taste is a bit different, but if you have to avoid gluten, this works!

Swabian Version

Re-use the Backpapier so that you're only using a total of two alternating sheets rather than a new sheet for each 20 cookies (five total!). I am not taking a cheap shot at the Swabians, whom I hope you know by now I adore! - I do this myself every time!!

Re-using my Backpapier - why wouldn't you?!?

A fun note about German and American recipes:
  In German recipes, TL means "Teelöffel", which means teaspoon.
  In German recipes, EL means "Esslöffel", which means "eating spoon" or tablespoon
  In American recipes, T means "tablespoon", which is an Esslöffel in German, but...
  In American recipes, t means "teaspoon", which is a Teelöffel.

My point is that in American recipes, the capitalization (or not) of the T makes a big difference. In German, all nouns (and tablespoon and teaspoon are both nouns) are capitalized.
I can't tell you how many times I've been using a German recipe, got to "TL", and added a tablespoon of the ingredient (salt, for instance) because of the capital T, when only a teaspoon was called for. Oops.

Anyway, have fun baking and enjoy the cookies!




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