Learn the basics of at-home baking with this perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe

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Baking is a science — when just one ingredient or proportion is off, it can seriously change the texture, flavor and success of your dish. 

In this episode of In The Know’s Cooking Class, host Caitlin Sakdalan of Be Fat Be Happy shared the basics of at-home baking while making the perfect chocolate chip cookie. 

First, she preheated the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then placed two softened sticks of butter into a mixing bowl. 

“The temperature of your butter will affect the final dessert and your product,” Sakdalan said. “The softer your butter, the more delicate and light and chewy. The colder your butter, it will give you a final product that’s a little bit more crispy and flakey on the outside.” 

Next, she added brown sugar and white sugar to the bowl. Sakdalan whisked the ingredients together and then threw in two eggs and one teaspoon of vanilla extract and continued to stir. 

Sakdalan weighed her flour on a food scale to get the most precise measurement. 

“Sometimes measuring cups can be wonky,” she said. “We want to be as accurate as possible because baking is a science, after all. If you have access, it’s super important to use something like this Levin food scale, which is made of stainless steel and tempered glass.” 

After, she added one teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt to the flour. 

“Salt is super important because it brings out the natural flavor of things, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s going to be savory,” Sakdalan explained. “But it will intensify the flavor that you’re trying to get. So when you add a little pinch of salt to your dessert, it will actually make it sweeter in the best way possible.” 

Next, she poured the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients one cup at a time, mixing in between each cup. 

“We do this so that it slowly takes in the dry ingredients so that it doesn’t ruin the texture of our cookies,” the chef said. “The consistency, we want it to be firm enough when we’re looking at our dough so that you can actually create and form these balls.” 

She took note of when the dough became less stringy and more “ball-like.” When it was the right texture, Sakdalan mixed in the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. 

“To prevent your cookies from getting flat and one big shape,” she said. “Put the dough in the fridge and let it rest for at least two hours. When you let it rest and have it be cold when you roll up the dough balls, that’s how you’ll get the shape that you actually want.”  

Finally, after rolling the dough into two-inch balls with her fist and placing them on a baking sheet, it was time to put the cookies in the oven for eight to 10 minutes. 

“We’re going to put our cookies directly on our Ultra Cuisine 100 percent stainless steel cooling rack,” Sakdalan said. “As your cookies are cooling, you can add a touch of salt. Remember salt does not mean savory, it just means intensified flavor.” 

If you enjoyed this story, read about how to make healthy popsicles at home.

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