Secret-ingredient chocolate chip cookies

October 9, 2009 5:02:16 PM PDT
A secret recipe for chocolate chip cookies that the kids will love to make and eat.

Secret ingredient chocolate chip cookies
Makes about 25 big cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (see page 10)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canola or corn oil
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 2? cups old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats (not instant)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2? cups Kellogg's Corn Flakes (for best results, stick to this brand)
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Tools:
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 large bowls
  • Wooden spoon
  • Whisk
  • 1-gallon-size resealable plastic bag
  • Spring-loaded ice-cream scoop (optional): 3 tablespoon (for big cookies) or 1 tablespoon (for regular-size cookies)
  • Oven mitts
  • 2 cooling racks
Method:
  1. Before you begin. Position 1 oven rack in the top ?/? of the oven and 1 oven rack in the bottom ?/? of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350?F. Line the baking sheets with the parchment paper (see page 4).

  2. Mix the dough. Put the butter, eggs, and vanilla in 1 of the large bowls and stir with the wooden spoon until blended. Add the oil and beat well until combined. It will look like a mess, but that's okay. Put the flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, salt, and baking soda in the other large bowl and whisk until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir well with the spoon. You can even use your hands to squish all the ingredients together. Sometimes your hands are the best tools. Put the corn flakes into the resealable plastic bag, squeeze out the air, and seal the top. Squeeze the bag until the flakes are broken into tiny pieces (do not use a food processor; it grinds the flakes too small). Add the crushed flakes and the chocolate chips to the dough and stir until evenly blended.

  3. Shape the cookies. Use the large (3 tablespoon) or small (1 tablespoon) ice-cream scoop to shape the dough into cookies. You can also shape the dough by measuring out level tablespoons-3 for each big cookie, 1 for each smaller cookie-and then rolling the dough between your palms into balls. If you are making large cookies, bake only 6 at a time on each baking sheet, spacing the balls about 4 inches apart. These cookies spread when they bake, and if you put too many on the pan, they will run together. If you are making the smaller cookies, you can fit 12 cookies on each pan. Space them about 2 inches apart into 4 rows with 3 cookies in each row. Press down on each ball with your palm to flatten slightly.

  4. Bake the cookies . Place 1 baking sheet on each oven rack. Bake the large cookies for 7 minutes or the smaller cookies for 6 minutes. Using the oven mitts, switch the pans between the oven racks. Bake until light golden brown, another 7 to 8 minutes for the large cookies, or 6 to 7 minutes for the smaller cookies. Using the oven mitts, transfer the pans to the cooling racks and let the cookies cool completely (if you can wait that long). You may need to reuse the pans to finish baking all the cookies. Let the pans cool before you put more dough on them for baking. Store the cookies in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 1 week.
Thinking ahead:
You can bake some of the cookies today, and freeze the rest of the dough balls for another day. Put the balls close together on a pan and freeze for 30 minutes, or until hard. Transfer the frozen balls to a resealable plastic freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, take out as many cookies as you need, and space them on parchment-lined baking sheets as directed. Let them thaw for 15 minutes, then press down on them to flatten slightly, and bake as directed.

About Cindy Mushet:
Cindy Mushet has been an pastry chef, culinary instructor and award-winning author for over 20 years. She began her career at the famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, and went on to head pastry kitchens in restaurants and bakeries across California, from Napa Valley to San Diego. She is currently a Chef-Instructor of Patisserie and Baking at the California School of Culinary Arts (Le Cordon Bleu) in Pasadena, California. She has also taught at the Culinary Institute of America, and the New School of Cooking, plus hundreds of recreational classes at schools across the country. Her website (cindymushet.com) offers links to her videos and books, as well as recipes, baking tips, and information on upcoming classes.

Her newest book, Baking Kids Love, will be released in September 2009 and was written with her 11-year old daughter Bella, which means it's full of fun, kid-accessible recipes that the whole family will love.

Her most recent book, The Art and Soul of Baking (Andrews McMeel 2008) won the prestigious IACP award for Best Baking Book in 2008, and was also a finalist in the baking category for a James Beard award. The book was chosen from among thousands of books by Gourmet Magazine for its October 2008 issue Cookbook Club pick.

Her first book, Desserts: Mediterranean Flavors, California Style, was published by Scribner in 2000. For five years she wrote and published the highly regarded "Baking With The American Harvest," a quarterly baking journal with subscribers nationwide. She was also a contributing writer to The Joy of Cooking, The Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies, and The Baker's Dozen Cookbook. Her recipes and articles have been featured in Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Gourmet Magazine, Food and Wine, Country Home and The New York Times, among others. Her recipes were among the few to be chosen for inclusion in The Best American Recipe books (Houghton Mifflin), including the recently published 125 Best American Recipes of the Last 10 Years.

Cindy is a regular guest on KCRW's Good Food radio show, and has been a guest chef at food conferences around the country. She founded the San Diego chapter of The Baker's Dozen. She helped to organize and moderate the first annual Worlds of Flavor Baking and Pastry Retreat at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. She is a long-standing member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, as well as a member of The Baker's Dozen San Francisco and Slow Food. She received her culinary diploma from Tante Marie's Cooking School in San Francisco, and in addition holds a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, a certificate in Marketing from UCLA, and a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture from UC Davis.
Website: http://www.cindymushet.com

Book Signings:

October 9:
Sur La Table
23 University Avenue
Los Gatos, CA
Phone: 408.395.6946
7:00-8:30 PM
Book signing

October 10:
Omnivore Books on Food
3885a Cesar Chavez Street
San Francisco, CA
Phone: 415.282.4712
2:00 PM
Book signing

Sur La Table
855 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA
Phone: 650.289.0019
4:00-5:30 PM
Book signing

October 11:
Sur La Table
77 Maiden Lane
San Francisco, CA
Phone: 415.732.7900
2:00-4:00 PM
Book signing and reception with kids in the book


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