What´s Wrong With American Desserts?

Foto: Mari og Annika

The dish (if it can be called a dish) I remember best from my childhood is cookies. There are loads of cookies out there, but the expression cookies refers of course to chocolate chip cookies.

Here in Norway they were first known as Maryland-kjeks (Maryland cookies). God knows why. These never-homemade, pre-packaged cookies weren´t very good, but they were an edible rendition of the real chocolate chip cookie I grew up with. In later years Norwegian bakers moved from making kjeks to making what they now call cookies, though most of the cookies sold here today are industrially-made, something a great cookie just doesn´t deserve.

As a child I was allowed to help my Mother make her cookies. I was a very willing participant. I don´t remember at what age I was too big to sit on the counter next to her KitchenAid, or maybe I came to a point when stuff like baking-with-your-Mom was no longer cool (since at that age everything worth doing needed a certain coolness).

I loved baking cookies with my mother. If she was still with us I would love to assist her in baking another batch or two of her wonderful cookies.

There are differing opinions as to which are the best chocolate chip cookies. I can settle this issue right now, mine are the best around –  at least here in the cold North. Why? Well, first of all, I took my Mom´s recipe, which was pretty much the original Toll House recipe, and just made it better. The primary difference between my cookies and her cookies, and for that matter other good cookies made in the US,  is the amount of sugar used in them.

I have lived in Norway for over 35 years. The food, the preparation of some foods, and the choice of (and amounts of) ingredients, are different in the States. My tastes have changed, and I truly believe mostly for the better. When it comes to dessert, Norwegian desserts are generally less sweet than American desserts. And you know what? Most American sweets, whether it is pies, cakes or cookies, will also benefit from a lesser amount of sugar than is usually called for. This allows the other flavors to shine, finally not being masked by too much sugar.

Any great food is all about balance and finesse, whether it is a piece of grilled steak, a fish soup or a cookie. Just the right amount of everything will decide just how great the dish is. Too little salt on the steak or two much sugar in the cookies is simply not good enough.

If you are an American, make your Toll House or nearly-Toll House cookies, but reduce the white and brown sugars by about 15-20%; ok, at least by 10%. If you are Norwegian, try these babies on for size. You´re gonna love ´em!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 dl meierismør, romtemperert (se tips under)

2 1/2 dl (totalt) sukker og tettpakket brunt sukker (50/50)

2 egg, romtemperert

1 ts vaniljeekstrakt (alt. frøene fra 1/2 vaniljestang)

5 dl hvetemel

1 ts natron

1 ts salt

200 g amerikanske semi-sweet chocolate chips (finnes i enkelte butikker i Norge)

Forvarm komfyren til 160° C.

  1. Bland sammen smøret og sukkeret i en bolle. Bruk helst en elektrisk mikser.
  2. Tilsett egg og vaniljeekstrakt og bland videre til du har en jevn blanding.
  3. Bland sammen mel, natron og salt i en annen bolle.
  4. Hell melblandingen, litt om gangen, oppi smørblandingen. Miks godt sammen.
  5. Rør i sjokoladebitene med en sleiv.
  6. Sett deigen på en smurt stekeplate, 1 toppet teskje om gangen. La det være ca. 5 cm mellom deigklumpene.
  7. Stek kjeksene i 10 – 12 minutter til de er gyllenbrune.
  8. Avkjøl kjeksene på en rist.

For å gjøre dette skikkelig, MÅ du smake på den rå deigen underveis. 

Tips

– I amerikanske oppskrifter blir smøret ofte målt i volum istedenfor vekt. Og jeg synes at denne oppskriften fortjener at du føler deg litt amerikansk. Ikke minst er det en artig prosess å måle smør i desiliter.

Fyll et litermål først med 5 dl kaldt vann. Ha deretter i nok smør til at vannet treffer 7,5 desiliter streken. Da har du målt nøyaktig 2,5 desiliter smør. Sil av vannet og ha smøret i bollen.

– Mengde/type sjokolade: Vanlig melkesjokolade blir for søtt til disse kjeksene. Bruk enten kokesjokolade eller en av disse litt mørke, og mindre søte variantene. Det står 200 g sjokolade i oppskriften, men du kan selv godt avgjøre hvor mye sjokolade du vil bruke.

– Det beste tipset jeg vet om for cookies er alltid å lage dobbel porsjon. Det vil du sikkert trenge …

 

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