It's another snowy March evening here in the Colorado mountains. March, notoriously, is our biggest snowfall month. This one is proving to be no different. I love March snow. Big, thick, heavy snow flakes drifting around sleepily before settling softly on the damp ground. The air smells of sweet rain and pine needles.
In Colorado they say, "If you don't like the weather wait five minutes." So true! Just yesterday I was digging rich, dark compost into the garden under the hot sun. Now I'm wrapped in my warmest sweater, drinking hot green tea with mint, and writing while winter once again whirls and dances outside my window. I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing.
The snow quietly arrived as I was on the way to my son's school this afternoon. By the time we headed home the lazy flakes had swelled into an angry storm with nearly white-out conditions. I inched along the icy roads, while the kids, heedless of the treacherous conditions, talked joyfully of their favorite "snow foods" in the back seat. Someone mentioned chocolate chip cookies and milk, and I remembered that my husband asked me last week to make him cookies to take to work.
When, at last, we made it home I mixed up a batch of these wonderful white and dark chocolate chip cookies. I slid them into the oven to bake while the kids played on the living room floor, and the snow quickly enveloped the house. No better to spend a Friday afternoon, don't you agree?
I know most of you have your own favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and, if you're like me, you're not going to give it up. I'm certainly not asking you to. There may be a few of you out there, however, who just haven't found the right one yet. Or maybe you've recently moved - say to the Colorado mountains - and the higher elevation is wreaking havoc with your tried and true recipes.
I spent many years living on the sea shore before finally moving back to Colorado - first on the Mediterranean Coast of Italy, then the Gulf Coast of Florida. I'd built quite a repertoire of recipes that worked very well at sea level. Not so well up here!
When I moved back I nearly had to rewrite the entire baking section of my recipe box. Not to mention I now have a peanut allergy to contend with, as well. Some of the recipes I could adapt, others I had to throw out altogether. One of my greatest frustrations was finding that perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. You know, the ones that are crispy on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside. The ones the rise gently in the oven and then settle into delicious pillows as they cool. Those are the ones I sought.
I finally found a recipe on the Andes Mint baking chips package (which are gluten-free, nut-free, and peanut-free, by the way) that fit the bill. Here's the original recipe. They work perfectly at our high altitude, keep their shape, and don't melt all over the cookie sheet like the rest of them.
As usual, I've modified the recipe. I don't like my cookies overly sweet. So I've cut the sugar, and in our dry air I cut the flour as well. I make these with every kind of chip you can imagine. Mint, cherry, white chocolate, and semisweet - as long as they're peanut and tree nut free. I like to order them from here. The unique mixing order results in a tender, smooth, and chewy texture. Never again will I have to search for that perfect high altitude Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
-adapted from Andes Crème de Menthe Cookies
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
10 oz baking chips (Andes Mint, chocolate, butterscotch, etc.)
2 1/3 cups flour
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, salt, and eggs. Beat until well combined. Fold in the chips, then stir in the flour. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to one hour.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C) and line your cookie sheets with parchment. Scoop the dough out by rounded tablespoon and place on the cookie sheet. Press slightly to flatten. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges are golden.
shared with: full plate thursday, mangia mondays, melt in your mouth monday, family time tuseday, sweet tooth friday, sweets for a saturday