No, I’m not being self-absorbed. I’m quoting only one of the best food critics out there, Jeffrey Steingarten (Vogue) who is also a regular Iron Chef America judge. He’s my favorite judge, other than Bonecrusher, and no one ever believes me when I say Bonecrusher was an Iron Chef judge. In his latest collection, he finishes the book with an essay titled “Standards and Practices” of which the basic jist is: If there is a standard recipe out there which is of x quality, then no variant of that food should ever be worse than that quality. I quite agree. He uses, as his prime example, the chocolate chip cookie. The Nestle Toll House recipe makes a very good, very acceptable, and very regularly predictable chocolate chip cookie. Why is it, then, that so many chocolate chip cookies are, frankly, terrible!?

Griping aside, dear Jeffrey claims to have improved upon the Toll House recipe, a claim I had to take to the test for my at-home insatiable cookie judge. These cookies passed the test the instant I tried to cool them on a wire rack and they oozed right through- a soft, gooey, chocolatey, doughy, sweet, sticky, warm mess on my counter. I like my cookies crunchier than the cookie dough fiend in the house, but no fear- after accidentally par-baking a batch when I forgot to turn the oven back on, 8 of them turned out perfectly for me.

Jeffrey Steingarten’s really good chocolate chip cookies

(from It must have been something I ate)

Combine 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda in a bowl. In a mixer, cream 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, and 3/4 cup granulated white sugar. Add 1 tsp vanilla, 2 T water, 1 egg. Add flour mixture. Add 1 1/2 cup semi sweet morsels. Drop onto baking sheet (teaspoons! tablespoons I think were part of the problem) and bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Longer if you like firmer cookies. Cool on a rack at your own risk.