What is it with cupcakes, brownies and muffins?  And don’t get me started on the donut.  Yes, they are all three über American, and delicious (well, I am not such a donut fan, but I can see their appeal).  But the hype?!  And the quality of these, in Berlin at least, usually has much to be desired.  Industrial, bland, super sweet, and with no soul.  It is hard to go wrong with a Mohnstrudel or Zupfkuchen, but stay away from those muffins at your local baker.
Then there is the chocolate chip cookie.  Simple to make, utterly delicious, easily pimped with other ingredients and the best “bread” for a vanilla ice cream sandwich (oink!).  Despite this, the CCC hardly ever makes an appearance outside of the USA.  In Berlin, Hudsons does a proper one (with the correct sugar!) and Alpenstück Bakery does an acceptable one (though not fabulous).
But really, it takes all of 20 minutes to make them from start to finish, and even though you won’t find good chocolate chips in Germany, you don’t need them!  Chocolate chips, after all, are just pieces of bittersweet chocolate.  Use the best you can afford, but don’t stress if that means the EUR 0,35 bars from Netto, they work too!
The gold standard for chocolate chip cookies is of course the Toll House Cookie.  I make toll house cookies for me, my boyfriend and visiting Americans.  I make another recipe for friends and for my shop.  Why two recipes?  Two reasons:
Toll House cookies require “American brown sugar”.  This is not the brown sugar you can get at any supermarket in Germany. American brown sugar has molasses in it.  And it MAKES a cookie.  The combination of American brown sugar and granulated (regular, white) sugar creates a sweetness that is different than anything you can achieve with just granulated or brown sugar. American brown sugar is not expensive, but it is not so easy to come by (newsflash: reliable sources claim it can be found at Asian supermarkets in Germany! Will confirm).
People who did not grow up with Toll House Cookies don’t seem to necessarily prefer them to other chocolate chip cookies.  If
you are American and reading this, I assure you this is true, and I don’t understand it any more than you. Hence the two recipes.
I will share the alternate recipe, from Donna Hay.  The Toll House recipe is here:  Toll House Cookies
If you can track down some American brown sugar, try both!
The technique and equipment are the same.
You will need:
Mixing bowl
Sturdy rubber spatula
Hand mixer (in a pinch you can do this by hand)
Measuring cups (for Toll House)
Kitchen scale (for the alternate recipe)
Measuring spoons
Cookie sheet or baking sheet
Baking paper
Cooling rack
Flour sifter
This recipe is adapted from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics Book 2 (Modern Classics Süß in German).  More on her later!
125g soft butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (use REAL vanilla people!  not vanilla sugar, not imitation vanilla)
200g brown sugar (“regular brown sugar”)
2 eggs (large)
270g flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
200g bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 190°C
Tips:  Preheat the oven, make sure you are using soft butter
I hate recipes that say “makes 20 cookies” and then you end up with 12, or 40.  You can make these as big (one giant cookie) or as small as you like.  Just note that cooking times will vary depending on size.
Combine butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer until very well mixed and smooth. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add them to the butter mixture a little at a time (mixing all the while) Once eggs are fully integrated, sift the flour and baking powder onto the mixture.  Add the chocolate and mix well. Now, you can either bake now, or chill for up to a day. Chilling allows you to easily portion the dough, but is not necessary. Divide the dough as you wish, and back for roughly 10 minutes.  Again, this will depend on your oven and how large the cookies are. They are done when lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and put the cookies immediately on a cooking rack.  Let cool at least 5 minutes before eating.
Aren’t they delicious?  Just as good as a brownie, no?  Sexy, even.

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