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Bear Chocolate Chip Cookies

Author/Submitted by: DERYL BEAR, FRESNO, CALIF.
Servings: 8
Categories: Chocolate / Cookies / Desserts

8  Ounces  Butter, Unsalted, cut in pieces
1  Cup  Packed Brown Sugar
3/4  Cup  Sugar
1  Teaspoon  Salt, optional
1 1/2  Teaspoons  Vanilla
2  Large  Eggs
2 1/2  Cups  All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4  Teaspoons  Baking Soda
2  Cups  Walnuts, coarsely chopped
3  Cups  Semisweet Chocolate Chips

In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt with an electric mixer until creamy and no butter flecks remain. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended. Add flour and baking soda. With a spoon, stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. With a small ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure (fill cup about half-full), shape dough into 1 1/2-inch-diameter balls (about 2 1/2 Tbsp.) and place close together on 10x15-inch baking pans. Cover and chill at least 6 hours or up to four days. (If time is short, you can omit chilling step, but cookies may not brown as rapidly.) To bake, transfer cooky balls to 12x15-inch baking sheets, ungreased or lined with cooking parchment; space balls about 2 1/2 inches apart. Flatten each ball to a 3/4-inch-thick round: make sides go straight up and depress center of each cooky slightly. Let cooky dough warm to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Bake in a 400 degree oven until cookies are golden brown all around edges but center 1-inch is still pale, 8 to 10 minutes. (If you bake 2 pans in 1 oven, switch pan position halfway through baking for more even browning.) Remove from oven and cool on pans until firm, about 5 minutes. Then transfer to racks. Serve cookies warm or cool. If made more than 1 day ahead, cool, cover, and freeze in an airtight container. To reheat, place frozen cookies slightly apart on 12x15-inch baking sheets and bake in a 200 degree oven until warm, 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 3 to 3 1/2 dozen BEAR CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE IS THIS THE PERFECT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKY? "The perfect cooky should have a slight crunch on the outside and be soft and very moist on the inside. It should be thick enough that you can feel your teeth sink into it. Its flavor should perfectly blend the sweetness of a buttery dough with the semisweetness of the chocolate." This is the standard Deryl Bear sets at his Hungry Bear Cookies store in Corte Madera and Fresno, California. Before entering the professional cooky business. Mr. Bear experimented with batch after batch of cookies to find the secret to moist chewy chocolate chip cookies. He found his answer in a combination of recipe proportions, shaping technique, and baking precision. His recipe portions are much like those for traditional chocolate chip cookies, except that he adds more flour and chocolate. The extra flour helps maintain a plump shape and keeps the cooky from spreading. Brief baking at a high temperature forms a crust on the outside and maintains a moist, chewy interior.

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