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The 'secret' behind 207's favorite cookie

Peggy Keyser makes a memorable chocolate chip cookie and reveals her secret ingredient

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — I get the impression that a lot of folks are 'taking to baking' while hunkered down to ride out the coronavirus. I love to bake chocolate chip cookies -- I know, plenty of people do! And we all have our little 'tweaks' we use to make our cookies stand out. I thought this was a good time to share some of the tips I have figured out over the years from making this cookie MANY times!

First off, I use the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House cookie chocolate morsel package -- ! I do make one big change though -- rather than add 1 cup of nuts at the end, I add one cup of RICE KRISPIES. And that tweak is thanks to my sister -- she shared that with me years ago, and I have been making them that way ever since. I also use a stoneware cookie sheet -- and I put the stoneware pan in the oven to preheat while the oven is preheating. You will be putting your dough on to a hot pan! Which -- for some reason -- seems to make a difference. Many thanks to my daughter, Addie Thompson, who did the deft camera work here...despite the temptation of the batter. So here goes:

I preheat my oven to 365 degrees. (The package calls for 375 degrees, but I like my cookies soft and chewy.) 

You will need:

2 sticks of butter (salted, not unsalted) - I usually set the sticks of butter out so they are softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix those ingredients together in a mixer until creamy.

Then add 2 eggs -- one at a time -- and beat thoroughly. 

Add in your dry ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour (I prefer King Arthur All-Purpose Unbleached)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

Mix dry ingredients with butter/batter thoroughly. When all ingredients are added and mixed, add your package of chocolate morsels, with your mixer on a slow speed. At this point, you can take your bowl of batter off the mixer, scraping the beater clean. Now, add a cup of Rice Krispies and gently mix by hand. (If you add the Rice Krispies and use your mixer, they will just get  crushed. Mix by hand!) And now you are ready to bake. 

Put teaspoonfuls of batter on to your heated stoneware pan, 12 cookies to a pan. I bake them in a 365 degree preheated oven, and watch them closely! I start out timing them at about 8 minutes, 45 seconds. And then I check them -- I am looking for the edges to just start to turn golden brown. It is important to keep a close eye on them when they are finishing up! If the edges have not started to turn golden brown, put them back in the oven for 20 or 30 more seconds. Seriously! You want the edges to look golden brown, and the center to be a little puffy and almost looking a bit under-cooked. When your cookies look perfect (!) -- take them out of the oven, and let them sit on the pan for about three minutes. They continue to cook a bit, and settle. After three minutes, use your spatula to lift the cookies off the pan and on to a cooling rack. I let them cool for about six to eight minutes, and THEN I put them in a plastic bag, and freeze them. I think freezing them actually seals the moisture in. I freeze them, then tie a bow around the plastic bag -- and voila! You are all set to either give these away or enjoy them yourself. They take about ten to fifteen minutes to defrost (at room temperature) once you pull them out of the freezer. Enjoy! Any questions? You can email me at peggy.keyser@newscentermaine.com. 

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