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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Cookie Love

by Lori on February 11th, 2011

A slice of cookie

Ken loves those big chocolate chip cookie cakes from the Great American Cookie Company at the mall, so one year I bought a heart-shaped cookie pan to make them at home. I think I used the pan once in the several years I’ve had it. Whenever I make chocolate chip cookies, they end up being greasy and flat, and nothing like the ones at the mall. For Valentine’s Day this year, I went on a quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

The Rest of the Story

I searched volumes of cookbooks and surfed countless recipe websites and blogs. I found there are more ways to make chocolate chip cookies than Elizabeth Taylor has had husbands. I still didn’t know which recipe would work best for the cookie I wanted to make my husband.

Then one day, a co-worker brought into work the most amazing chocolate chip cookies. It was love at first bite. I got her recipe and found out what she was doing differently. Using a couple of her secrets, I adapted my recipe to make the perfect heart-shaped cookie for Ken for Valentine’s Day.

Moral of the Story

When your relationship with a recipe has gone bad, you don’t have to get a divorce. Get counseling from a friend on what you can try differently to improve the recipe. A few minor changes may turn a recipe from a loser into a keeper.

I heart this cookie tin

About the Recipe

If you read my post about making pie crust, then you know I’m a big Crisco fan. My original chocolate chip cookie recipe was from Crisco’s website. When I compared it to my co-worker’s recipe, I discovered three things she did differently:

  1. Baking the cookies at a lower temperature
  2. Using butter instead of shortening
  3. Adding a secret ingredient

I also added an additional secret ingredient of my own, and I made it as a bar cookie in my heart-shaped baking pan.

(Keep reading to find out the secret ingredients.)

The Cast of Characters

Vanilla pudding mix

Vanilla pudding mix was the secret ingredient in her recipe.

Chocolate and peanut butter chips

In addition to chocolate chips (pictured front), I also added a secret ingredient of my own: peanut butter chips (pictured back). Chocolate and peanut butter do go great together.

For a complete list of all the ingredients I used, see the recipe at the end of this post.

The Play-by-Play

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a jelly-roll pan with shortening. I used a heart-shaped pan that was about 13 x 12 inches. Since one end tapers for the heart shape, I think a standard 9 x 13 jelly-roll pan would work too.
Heart shapped cooking tin greased

In a stand mixer, mix together the brown sugar, butter, milk and vanilla extract.
Starting with brown sugar

Add the pudding mix, and continue mixing.
Adding the flour

Add the egg, and mix again.
Adding an egg

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the dough in the stand mixer, and continue mixing.
Adding the flour, take two

Stir in by hand the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and pecans.
Mixing cookie dough

Spread the cookie dough into the baking pan.
Cookie dough in a heart pan

Bake for 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of baking, cover the edges with foil to prevent from over browning.
Heart cookie in the oven

Let cool the cookie cool in the pan for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Cookie out of oven, take two

Remove from the cookie from the pan, slice and serve!
A slice out of heart cookie

The Footnotes

Here are a few tips for making this recipe:

  • Spreading the dough in the pan: If you use the back of a buttered wooden spoon when spreading the dough in the pan, it will spread easier and not stick so much to the spoon.
  • Preventing the edges from over baking: During the last 5 minutes of baking, cover the edges of the cookie with tinfoil to prevent over baking. This is similar to what you do when baking a pie to prevent the edges of the pie crust from burning.
  • Removing the cookie from the pan: Run a knife around the edges of the pan to help separate the cookie from the pan.
  • Adjusting baking time if making cookies rather than bars: If you are baking this recipe as drop cookies instead of a bar cookie, reduce the baking time by half. Drop cookies will bake faster.

Additional Resources

Here are a few other chocolate chip cookie resources I discovered during my quest for the perfect recipe. I have not yet tried all the tips from these resources, so I can’t comment on the results:

  • Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book: This book has been helping home bakers make all kinds of cookies since 1963, so I thought it would be a good resource. It includes a recipe called “Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies” that uses Bisquick instead of flour. Not sure if they would taste more like chocolate chip biscuits, rather than cookies, but might be worth a try if you are in a hurry.
  • Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book: This is my baking and cooking bible. Whenever I am making something for the first time, I usually start here to find the recipe. The chocolate chip cookie recipe in this book uses a mix of butter and shortening, just like I did when making my Best of Both Worlds Pie Crust. The book notes that subbing shortening for butter “will give cookies a softer, more cake like texture.”
  • The Fannie Farmer Baking Book: The recipe in this book mixes the baking soda in warm water before adding it to the dough mixture. This reminded me of the banana bread recipe from Ken’s great aunt, Maude. This trick definitely helped the banana bread to rise, and I think it would help cookies rise more too.
  • Best of the Best From Iowa Cookbook: This book has a recipe titled, “Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies,” which also uses pudding mix as a key ingredient, just like my co-worker’s recipe. This recipe bakes at a slightly higher temperature though, baking at 375 degrees instead of 350.
  • Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe: My research on chocolate chip cookies wouldn’t be complete without looking at this recipe. According to Wikipedia, Ruth Wakefield invented the Toll House cookie in the 1930s, using semi-sweet chocolate chips from Nestle. The Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is posted on the verybestbaking.com, and uses a mix of brown and white sugars.

The Recipe: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Cookie

Baking time:
15 minutes for bar cookies; 8 to 10 minutes for drop cookies

Servings:
36 bars or cookies

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (3.4 ounce) package vanilla pudding mix
1 egg
1 ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a jelly-roll pan.
  2. In a stand mixer, mix together the brown sugar, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Add the pudding mix, and continue mixing. Add the egg, and finish mixing.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the dough in the stand mixer. Mix until all ingredients are well blended.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and pecans.
  6. If making bar cookies, spread the cookie dough into the pan. If making drop cookies, drop rounded tablespoons of dough a couple of inches apart onto the pan.
  7. If making bar cookies, bake for 15 minutes, and cover the edges with foil during the last five minutes of baking to prevent from over browning. If making drop cookies, bake for about 8 to 10 minutes.

What’s your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

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