The Perfect Chocolate-Chip Cookie (for altitude)

By Ellen Miller-Goins

When I was 7, I discovered baking. Soon afterward I discovered the recipe for Nestles Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies. Over the years I have modified this recipe to suit the altitude and my own taste. People like ’em. But here’s the deal — I’m not sure how this recipe will work if, for example, you make substitutions like margarine, fake vanilla, etc.

A few explanations: Real butter has lots of flavor but it tends to flatten your cookies while shortening by itself lacks flavor, hence the half-and-half solution. Similarly, whole-wheat flour by itself can make your cookies too dry but white flour by itself also flattens — hence the proportions below.

A word on chocolate: Never use fake chocolate, use the real thing! I like Ghirardelli 60 Percent Cacao Chocolate Chips!

Over the years I have tired a few variations that are good such as: Using half Chocolate Chips, half White Chocolate Chips (or half Butterscotch & Chocolate, half Peanut Butter & Chocolate, etc.); adding 1 cup Hershey’s Skor English Toffee Bits

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter — softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons REAL vanilla
  • 2 eggs (I use extra large)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup white flour (start with 2 1/4 cup if using medium or large eggs)
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag or 2 cups chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli, 60% Bittersweet Chocolate)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat butter, shortening and sugars until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs. Beat 1 minute. Add baking soda and salt. Beat until creamy and a bit stiff. (Sometimes I put a cold pack under the mixing bowl to help achieve the right consistency.) Fold in flour* (if white flour is lumpy, sift or pour through a strainer). Add chocolate chips. All cookie recipes say drop by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet. I wash my hands thoroughly and use my fingers – it’s easier! Bake 7 minutes for soft, chewy cookies. If you like them crispy, bake until golden brown – about 9 minutes.

* Note: Dough should be tacky but you should be able to make cookie balls by hand with little to no dough stick to your fingers. Too dry and your cookies will be dry. Too moist and they go splat! It’s all based on the size eggs you use and flour amounts. I’m afraid you may have to experiment a bit but start with less flour until you get the right consistency. Enjoy!

Editor’s Note: The Chronicle welcomes submissions of tested recipes. If the recipe is from a copyrighted source, please be sure to credit the writer or source. Submit to egoins@sangrechronicle.com.