Who doesn’t love a fresh chocolate chip cookie hot from the oven?
America’s favorite hand-held confection is credited to Ruth Graves Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Mass. In 1938, Ruth made cookies with chunks of a Hershey candy bar, featuring them in her restaurant as the “Toll House Cookie.”
The popular cookie became revered during World War II when care packages shipped overseas to Massachusetts troops were shared with soldiers from other parts of the country. They wrote back to the States, asking for chocolate chip cookies, a nostalgic reminder of home.
Since then, there have endless variations of the recipe, basically a dough made of creamed butter, sugar and eggs, flour, a leavening agent and bits of chocolate. Nuts, dried fruit, M&M candy pieces are all fair game to enrich this sweet-tooth nugget.
When Gretchen Jost of Stonington, one of the many talented bakers who provide snacks and desserts for the Healthy Island Project’s Salt Air Senior Lunchbox program, dropped off a bag of perfectly baked, delicious-looking chocolate cookies, I had to try one.
The texture, just like a Toll House cookie, was buttery in the middle with a delicate, crisp edge. The intense flavor of chocolate was accented with more chocolate; milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, even bittersweet and white chocolate. Truly this cookie was a chocolate lover’s dream.
When Gretchen graciously shared her recipe for Triple Chocolate Cookies, I came right home and made a batch.
In this recipe, the traditional batter is flavored with unsweetened cocoa powder and espresso powder. The coffee works to intensify the chocolate flavor, and really makes it sing. Gretchen uses 2-2 ½ cups total of a variety of chocolate chips, depending upon what’s in the cupboard. She thought that dried fruit, like cherries or cranberries, would be a tasty addition also.
When I baked these morsels, I chopped up some block white chocolate to add with the semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate.
This is a very rich cookie, so when scooping out the dough, I made mine a bit smaller than Gretchen, yielding more cookies per batch. For the best flavor, store the cookies in an airtight container, or in the freezer.
Seems like today we all need nostalgic reminders of home. For me, I pour a tall glass of fresh Jersey milk and enjoy one of Gretchen’s Triple Chocolate Cookies.
Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected]
Gretchen’s Triple Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 48 two-inch cookies
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsps. espresso powder
2½ cups semi-sweet, bittersweet, milk and/or white chocolate chips
Assemble ingredients and tools. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of your electric mixer. Beat until creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa and espresso powder.
Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips to the bowl. Stir by hand and mix well.
Spoon dough onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes,
until cookies are just set. Remove from pan and let cool on a rack.
Nutritional analysis per cookie (varies with chocolate chips: 148 calories, 2 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat, 56 mg. sodium, 1-gram fiber.