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Toll House Cookie Variations

Thanks to enterprising Elayne Kitchen, one of my listeners, who wrote to the consumer services department of Nestle, here are the ways you can vary the classic Toll House Cookie recipe to achieve various results other than the thin, crisp cookie with which we are most familiar.

I had no idea these official variations existed – and I've been around. But a question on Food Talk prompted a discussion on how you might vary cookie dough (in general) to get cakey/soft, chewy/thick, etc. The question was: "If I substitute white shortening (Crisco) or margarine for half the butter in my cookie recipes will I get a thicker, chewier result?" Thanks to another listeners, Eleanor, a professional baker, we got the answer immediately, and it is yes. The reason: Margarine, and more particularly white shortening, melt at a higher temperature than butter and so cookie dough doesn't flatten in the hot oven immediately. The cookie structure gets a chance to form before the shortening spreads it and flattens it. I was a little squeemish about the thought of using butter-flavored Crisco. It doesn't really taste like butter to me. Eleanor agreed, and said that instead she uses plain Crisco and adds a bit of high-quality butter-flavoring, which you can buy in a good baking supply store.

Let me point out that the complete recipe for Toll House Cookies is still on the back of the package of Nestle's Chocolate Morsels. The following are merely the ways that recipe should be varied to achieve the different results.

CAKEY/SOFT: For a soft, cakey cookie omit granulated sugar. Use 3/4 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 3 eggs. Drop by well rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with back of spoon dipped in water. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. For a more rounded cookie, do not flatten. Bake 9 to 11 minutes.

CHEWY & THIN: Reduce granulated sugar to 1/2 cup and increase packed brown sugar to 1 cup.

CHEWY & THICK: Use only half the butter called for in the recipe. Drop by well rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 9 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Makes about 3 dozen cookies. Store in airtight containers to prevent drying out.

CRISPY: For a crispier cookie, use 2-1/2 cups flour, 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 1 egg. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet. flatten with bottom of glass dipped in water. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes.

PUFFY: For a puffier cookie reduce butter to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening.

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