Easy Family Recipes: Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

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cookiesHomemade cookies are one of my very favorite things. They're single-sized servings of love, butter, and sugar, and usually pretty darn simple to make. As a cook, sharing the food I prepare is an important part of the process, whether it's with the neighbors, family, or friends. Best of all, cookies are a breeze to bake with just a few simple tips.

Cookies 101

  • Build a great foundation of basics. That means using good quality butter, large eggs, and pure extracts. This will help make runny or lumpy batter a thing of the past. As for bakeware essentials, rimless light-colored baking sheets produce golden cookie bottoms and cookie scoops make picture-perfect batches.I'm also a huge fan of parchment paper for lining pans. It makes removal a snap and clean-up go in a jiffy.
  • Go nutty. To add extra crunch to nuts, try toasting them first to bring out their natural flavor and aroma. Stir small amounts over medium heat until fragrant, or for larger quantities place the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool, chop, and don't forget to try different varieties. Toasted, chopped hazelnuts are one of my favorites.
  • Share the love. Send travel-ready bar cookies, tea cakes, and biscotti to loved ones who live afar. Wrap cookies with plastic wrap or wax paper before placing in resealable baggies to secure contents during shipping. Use a sturdy box packed with cushion filler to help prevent breakage en route.
  • Bake your own chocolate chip cookies. For soft and cakey cookies, use 3/4 cup butter and reduce brown sugar to 1/2 cup. For thinner, crispy cookies, increase butter to 1 1/4 cups and sugar to 1 1/4 cups. For a richer taste, try substituting dark chocolate morsels for the traditional semi-sweet. And for extra-chocolatey cookies, add the following recipe to your collection.
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