May 4, 2012

Choco- Walnut cookies

  Baking is a passion with my mother. Such is her dedication, that she has at times gone to the extent of baking an entirely new batch of cookies with freshly made dough if she wasn't happy with the previous batch :) Ditto for her cakes! I have eaten so many varieties of her home made cookies....pinwheel, salted, almond, nan khatai,pista, ice box,cornflakes cookies to name a few.In fact, I think there were hardly any times when we ran out of home made cookies.... she enjoyed baking so much :) Anyways ,the recipe I have here was my very first attempt at baking cookies.These are actually sugar cookies, but I added walnuts and few choco chips just for taste.When starting out with the measurements, I had no idea I would have so much dough that it would bake almost five batches of upto forty cookies. So watch out if this is your first time and halve all the ingredients, else be prepared to stand an extra hour in the kitchen.....hmm worth the effort though as these came out just great! My family and friends enjoyed them thoroughly.

Choco-Walnut sugar cookies

All purpose flour- 2  3/4 cups
Unsalted butter- 1 cup (2 slabs, at room temperature)
Baking soda- 1 teaspoon (tsps)
Baking powder- 1/2 tsps
Sugar- 1 1/2 cups
Salt- a pinch
Eggs- 1
Vanilla extract- 1 tsps
Almonds- 3/4 cup (roasted and coarsely chopped)
Chocolate chips- 1/2 cup or more
Cookie sheet, wire rack and parchment

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour,salt,baking powder and baking soda. Set this aside.Always remember that unless specified in the recipe, all measurements are flat and not heaped. So do not pack the flour in the cup while measuring.Ditto for the baking powder and soda.Take a heapful in a teaspoon and using another spoon or your finger, flatten it out.Add the almonds and chocolate chips, mixing them once.You can add more or less depending on your taste.
2)In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer.I made the mistake of using cold butter as I read somewhere that it will automatically melt while being creamed.I must say that it is easier to cream 1/2 cup of cold butter, but 1 cup is a whole lot. I almost ruined my hand mixer doing this.So soften butter till it is at room temperature. If you are in a hurry, you can try microwaving it maybe for about 20 secs till it is just soft, not melted.First beat the butter till it is all mushy, then slowly add the sugar.You should get a pale yellow and smooth texture.
3)Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat again.Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.You can use a spatula for this.Keep in mind that you will be mixing a very large quantity of dough, so use an appropriate mixing bowl.
4)Line the cookie sheet with parchment.Scoop a heaped teaspoonful of the dough, make a small ball and place them on the parchment, 2 1/2 inches apart. You should be able to place 9 such balls on the sheet.Don't worry about the size of the balls as they will spread while baking.
5)Bake them in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes for soft cookies. If you want crisper and slightly harder golden colored cookies, bake for 15 minutes.Once done, remove the sheet from the oven, leave the cookies on it for a minute and then transfer to a cooling rack. The cookies will appear soft initially, but once cooled they will harden.Will make about 40- 45 medium sized cookies.

Note: Cool the cookie sheet completely before baking another batch, or else use another sheet. If not completely cooled, it will alter baking time as the cookies will start to bake even before they hit the oven. 

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