Donna Andert's Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies
(as adapted by Bill Evans)
flour 4 1/2 cups
unsweetened cocoa 3/4 cup
salt a ceremonial amount
margarine 2 1/4 cup (4 1/2 sticks)
granulated sugar 1 1/2 cup
brown sugar 1 1/2 cup
large eggs 3
vanilla extract 3 tsp
peppermint extract 6 tsp
milk chocolate chips 3 cup (two 11.5 oz packages)
A half hour to two hours in advance: remove the margarine from the refrigerator.
Mix dry ingredients together. Set aside.
Mix margarine and sugars together.
Into that, mix the eggs, vanilla, and peppermint. Then mix in the dry ingredients.
Add the chips, preferably by removing the bowl from the mixer and using your fingers.
350 degrees, about 11 minutes, less for fresher flavor, more for structural intecgrity. Your mileage may vary.
Salt or no salt? Your choice. Salted butter or unsalted butter? Your choice. I prefer no salt at all in these cookies.
Butter or margarine? Some say that butter tastes better in these cookies. Consider how cows are treated to maximize milk production. If that turns your stomach (as it does mine), go for margarine.
Unsalted margarine can be difficult to find. But if you're willing to go for a margarine that's techincally a spread (meaning less than 80% fat), I have found one brand: Country Crock. It can be difficult to find, so shop around. I've found more and more sources drying up. My new secret weapon is my local (small town) grocery store. They'll special order a case of the stuff for me. So if all else fails, try special ordering it at your local store.
When you go to the store, you're looking for something that looks like the product to the right in this picture (the one with the blue, not the red). Don't use the tubs of whipped stuff; use the sticks.
Country Crock, by removing artifical flavors, has upset some people. Check out the wikipedia article for details. "You have ruined waffles", for example. I think butter and margarine are like milk: people don't want the taste to change. They should get a grip and learn to like healthier food.
I found that the cookies taste slightly different, but not particularly worse.
When mixing the butter and sugars, I think that using your fingers is the best way to go.
I like to open the eggs into a separate, very small bowl rather than straight into the dough. That makes it easier to fish out tiny bits of eggshell.
If a bit of eggshell is in the small bowl, you can chase it out by scraping it up the side of the bowl with the side of an ordinary table-style teaspoon.
Since the recipe calls for 6 tsp of peppermint extract, if you buy a 1 fluid ounce bottle, it'll be tempting to just dump the whole thing in there. If the brand is McCormick, that could be a mistake. I've often found their 1 fluid ounce bottle to be generous enough that the mint flavor becomes far, far too strong.
For placing the cookies on the cookie sheet, I recommend using a 3 tablespoon ice cream scoop, the kind with a curved blade inside the scoop to release the content easily.