Remember when you were a kid, and every chocolate chip cookie recipe turned out pretty much the same cookie? Sure, some were crunchy and some were chewy, but they all basically consisted of a sweet dough encasing half-melted chocolate chips.
Thanks to the foodie revolution, those days are fast disappearing. Walk down your grocery store's bakery aisle now, and you'll find not just your old-fashioned semi-sweet chips, but a dizzying array of other flavors in chip form. There are peanut butter chips, which taste great right out of the bag, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, toffee chips, chips based on candy bars like Butterfinger and many, many more. Even the traditional chips come in sizes ranging from tiny ones that look like periods up to thumbnail-sized monsters.
If you choose to try one of the "alternate" chips, the big decision to make is whether you're going to go with them totally or mix them in with your chocolate chips. Your recipe won't help you here, most likely, especially if it's an older one. A good rule of thumb is, at least the first time, to swap out no more than half the chocolate chips for an alternative. Make a half-batch, if you'd like, or make a full batch and split it if you'd like to try a couple of different add-ins.
Beyond the new chips lies the territory of your imagination, and that can be a truly fertile ground. Nuts, of course, are classic additions to chocolate chip cookie recipes, with many even including them as mandatory. Walnuts and pecans are the traditional nuts, but almost any nut will do. Whichever one you choose, make sure to avoid flavored or overly salted ones, such as "smoked" almonds or honey-roasted peanuts.
Finally, here's a neat idea to try for the holidays: Take candied fruit and chop it very small, about half the size of your chocolate chips. Mix a few handfuls into your cookie batter, but don't decrease the amount of the chips. Your "new" chocolate chip cookie recipe will produce colorful cookies that will be the hit of any holiday basket or cookie swap!
Ann Marie Krause has been making cookies for over 30 years, at persent I am retired, for over 23 years I owned a Gourmet Bakery called The Cheese Confectioner.You can visit my site at http://www.annsgoodies.com
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