Comfort food, ch 2: Sweet Metric System Casserole Cookies

I love cookies. Or biscuits*, as my British based, adopted homeland calls them. I love pies and desserts, but my most favourite dessert is soft, buttery, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and creamy vanilla ice cream. /droooooool

Like most American kids, the first cookie I learned how to bake was from the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip bag. They’re an amazing, basic cookie – fluffy, tasty, heaps of chocolate. My fave cookies are crunchy and buttery on the edges, and soft as kitten paws on the inside (I didn’t mean that to be as gross as it sounded – I don’t eat kitten paws. But have you ever felt a kitten’s paws? They’re so soft it hurts). I love plain cookie batter, too. I’ve been known to make a batch of Toll House cookies without the choc chips, because the batter is so good. Eggs and butter and sugars and flour and vanilla OHMY!

I would make these cookies in double batches, throw in every cookie topping I could find, and pour the batter into a giant 10×15 glass roasting pan, bake them as one giant cookie cake, and cut them into little squares which were then passed off as cookies. It’s like my subconscious knew I had mid-west roots and wanted me to get really good at making bars. These are also called “lazy cookies” or as my BFF Kristin calls them, “cookie pan.” I call them casserole cookies, because there’s so much in them.

When I moved to Australia, I didn’t know how different it would be to shop for food. Butter is sold in grams. You can’t find Nestle Toll House Chips. Baking soda is bi-carb soda. There are more than one kind of powdered sugar. There is no self rising flour. And 350*F is roughly 190.267*C. Do you know what oven temps show on the dial? NOT 190 THAT’S FOR SURE.

There are more, but this really threw my baking for a loop. It took a few months of tweaking my American recipes to get them to bake just right using the metric system and centigrade. And the Nestle Toll House cookie recipe is the first one I tweaked. Behold, the NEW Metric System Sweet Casserole Cookies.

These cookies take me back to listening to music in the kitchen when I was a dippy kid. And then when I was a dumb teenager. And again when I was a train wreck 20 something. I like to make them when I’m having a rough time, because baking centers me. Joel calls them my therapy cookies. They’re the cookie equivalent of a nice warm hug from your mom. Make them. Stuff them with your hopes and dreams, and love them. Yum.

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My mom has had this recipe card box for as long as I can remember. I snatched it up when I finally moved out.

First up – measure your butter. Cube it and set it out until it’s room temperature. This can take up to an hour in a typical air conditioned house. In Sydney during summer with no air con, it can take like, 20 mins. Butter is room temp when you’re able to easily make a dent with your finger in it’s beautiful buttery surface – it should be firm, but definitely not squishy. Room temp butter mixes better and in my opinion, makes cookies taste better.

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buuuuuuuutter

When I was 15, I was an idiot – but I was also incredibly sick with tonsilitis and was prescribed codeine cough syrup for the pain. Under the guidance of Lady Codeine, I decided to bake all the cookies for my sister Mary’s Halloween party as a surprise. We were out of baking soda. And In my haste, I assumed baking powder and baking soda were interchangeable. So I used baking powder instead of baking soda. The result was 3 dozen cookies that tasted like dish soap. My friends like to remind me of this still, 17 years later.

The moral of the story here is: be sure not to use baking powder when you need to use baking soda.

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The dry
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The wet
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And the tasty (walnuts are optional. Joel hates them. But I lovvvve them.)

After your butter reaches room temp, cream it with the sugars and vanilla.

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Behold my $20 hand mixer: 2 speeds – FAST and INCREDIBLY FAST. My kingdom for a stand mixer.
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cream dat shit
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act surprised that sugar and butter bits fly everywhere, even though it happens EVERY time (see afore mentioned proposed Kingdom for mixer exchange)
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Remember to use a clean towel as a shield – it works!
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beat in eggs one at a time until just mixed

One of the first lessons I learned in baking was “scrape the bottom of the bowl to mix it all.” I have this vivid memory of my mom passing an empty mixing bowl that still had bits of flour visible and her saying “Your recipes don’t turn out right because you’re not using ALL the ingredients! You have to scrape the bowl.” I literally remember this every time I’m combining ingredients.

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scrape dat shit

Another very important lesson I learned is – for every pan of cookies you make, you get one spoon full of raw cookie dough. I learned this gem from my dad. Salmonella, schmalmonella.

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Hands down the reason why raw eggs can’t kill me

Sift together all your dry ingredients and SLOWLY mix in them with the creamed butter/sugar.

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or dump it all in at once. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. It just depends on how much you like cleaning up flour bombs.
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Don’t forget to scrape, scrape, scrape the sides, and mix until thoroughly incorporated

NOW IT’S TIME FOR TREATS

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yum!
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YUMM!
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YUMMM!
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mix mix mix

Grease up the pan – I hate cooking sprays. They smell like poison and they’re super messy. I use a tiny bit of butter to grease the bottom, then I lightly flour it. The cookies just sliiiiide off.

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butter – you are the best

Don’t forget to clean off the beaters by eating all the dough left on them. Joel doesn’t believe in licking the beaters. And that’s why I’m very in love with him. #moredoughforme.

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further salmonella proofing

I read in an article in some cooking magazine that said Americans don’t use the right amount of dough to make their cookies. It made me think back to my “drop a rounded spoon full of dough on to the cooking sheet” days. Now I use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop out the dough, and my cookies are thicker and fluffier.

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ball dat shit
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yesssss

Once the cookies are lined up, I bake them at 190*C/375* first for 12 mins, then 3 minute intervals until they are golden brown and the spear comes out clean. 3 minute intervals ensures I don’t over bake them. Over baking means they’ll dry out and get crunchy when they cool. 3 is just a magic number that works for me. 5 feels like too long.

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I’m nervous, ok

I bake one tray at a time, because I hate the way one tray bakes faster than the other when there is two at a time. In between rounds, I store the cookie dough in the fridge so it stays firm.

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yes, we always store the cookie batter next to the $2 Korean beer.

12 minutes and 3 minutes later…

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I want to sleep on these Heaven pillows

Et voila, cookies you’ll never want to stop eating. Serve with milk and sweatpants.

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GET INSIDE ME

Audrey’s Sweet Metric System Casserole Cookies

Ingredients –

  • 2 sticks/127g of butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 all purpose/plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda/bi-carb soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Whatever you want to put in – I use the following guidelines: sweet toppings (choc chips, m&ms, oreos, etc.) =1 cup each; Salty/savory (nuts, pretzel, etc.) = 1/2 cup each. For this recipe I used 1 cup choc chips, 1 cup white choc chips, 1/2 cup walnuts

How to –

  1.  Measure butter, and cut into cubes. Wait for the butter to reach room temp, usually between 30 mins – 1 hour. Butter is ready when it is easily dented by pressing down with your finger, but still firm.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 190*C/375*F
  3. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda, set aside in a bowl
  4. In a LARGE bowl, cream room temp butter, and sugars and vanilla. At low speed, drop the butter in a few cubes at a time until all butter is creamed (don’t pay attention to the photo I took at this stage, because I just realised I dumped all the butter in there at once. Whoops). Be careful not to over-beat the dough. It didn’t do anything wrong to you.
  5.  Mix in the room temperature eggs, one at time.
  6. SLOWLY mix in the flour and salts, using 1/4 cup at time. Once fully mixed, scrape down the sides and mix one more time to ensure all the ingredients are combined.
  7. Mix in your fave treats.
  8. Lightly butter cookie sheet, and lightly dust with flour. Tap the pan on all corners to shake off excess flour.
  9. Use 1/4 cup measure to make rounded balls of dough, and line on cookie sheet about half an inch apart
  10. Bake for 12 minutes, then 3 minute intervals until cookies are golden brown and a spear inserted in the middle comes out clean. Typically the longest they will take is 18-20 minutes, depending on how big your cookie balls are (heh).
  11. Cool on rack for 5-10 minutes
  12. Enjoy with a cold glass of moo-juice

I’ve tried heaps of other recipes, but I keep coming back to this one. I’ve made them so often, I’ve memorised the recipe. And I’ve certainly messed up this recipe a million different ways – here’s where I mis-calculated all the ingredients when I halved the recipe. Once I ran out of brown sugar and substituted Milo (Australian Ovaltine), brown syrup, and a splash of milk – and they came out pretty interesting. Not the best, but a lot thicker and lighter than most. My most popular mistake is to use too much butter, make them as a pan cookie, and they come out too greasy to eat (it’s possible). So don’t use too much butter or too little flour and you’re golden. Just like these sweet, sweet, cookies.

How do you enjoy your cookies? Hit me up with suggestions in the comments.

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xo, Audrey

One thought on “Comfort food, ch 2: Sweet Metric System Casserole Cookies

  1. You made balls…..huh-huh-huh…huh-huh! Shut up, Beavis!
    “Dang good cookies up the top of them steps thar!” — Jeff Foxworthy
    Excellent work!!! Eat more dough!!!! Love, Dad

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