Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies
When I was around ten years old I started 4-H with grand dreams of entering something in the Fair. Sadly, that dream was soon dashed when my 4-H leader kicked me out of 4-H and told me not to come back. (Just for the record, I was not making faces at her, I was making them at one of the other girls.) After that, I was too emotionally unstable to participate in food-related Fair contests---too many debilitating 4-H flashbacks. But after years of intense therapy and a strict regimen of large doses of Diet Pepsi, I was finally ready to face my demons.
So last week I entered a Wild Blueberry Pie and a batch of chocolate chip cookies in the County Fair. The judging at the Fair was nothing like I expected. I imagined a panel of professionals testing each entry meticulously and fairly. Instead, I was surprised to see one grandma named Mabel or Madge just randomly sampling entries as they were brought in. I have no idea what her credentials for judging food were---she was probably the only person willing to sit there for two hours and sample food baked by weirdos like me. I stood there and watched from a comfortable distance as Mabel/Madge tasted the pie. She smiled. I figured that was a good sign.
To sum it all up, I entered the Fair out of spite, and let me tell you, it was totally worth it---I won a First Place ribbon for the cookies and a Best of Division ribbon for the pie. Take that 4-H Leader Lady---I'll bet you're sorry now!
Here's my cookie recipe for anyone else who may need to enter the Fair to kill a few inner demons.
Jill's First Place Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 C. Bleached All-Purpose Flour (can add more or less, depending how thick you like your cookies)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (this is the secret ingredient---shhh, don't tell anyone!)
1 T corn syrup (this gives them a nice chewy texture---if you like them softer, omit)
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 C. brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 C. Butter
12 oz chocolate chips
Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Beat the butter, sugar and the eggs. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
Plop oval-shaped dough chunks onto baking sheet. I like to keep the balls rough, and craggy---this makes them look more bakery-like.
When I make the big ones, they are probably 1/4 C. of dough each -- a little bigger than a golf ball.
Bake at 375 degrees until they look done (9-18 min---depends how big you make them).
They are done when they start to crack, but are still soft in the middle.
To make them have that delicious carmely tasting golden brown looking mottling on the top and around the edges, use the following baking technique:
Preheat Oven to 450 degress
Bake cookies at 450 for a minute and a half.
Turn the oven down to 375 degrees and continue baking until done