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  • Mary Kay

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies - without the big buck payout! Panera Bread Inspired

With all the cleverly created gargantuan cookies making their mark in the retail cookie shops, did you know that you can make your own WITHOUT paying $5-$10 per cookie? You'll basically use the same ingredients as your regular sized cookies, but you're baking them a little differently, a little longer at a lower oven temp. Plus, you have these delightfully ginormous cookies at your fingertips WITHOUT having to stand in long lines for them. Just bake them while you're reading a book or playing with your puppy dogs.

Or, mix and freeze them for later indulgence. Look at all the money you save! It's fun for the kids to roll out the humongous cookie dough balls. And you can freeze them ahead and bake just a few at a time - whatever you like.

Make the cookies as directed, roll them into larger dough balls. Freeze the dough balls and bake later, or bake them right now. That’s about as easy as you can get these huge cookies. They are chocked full of semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips all throughout the dough. Yum!

NOTE: You may have noticed that some of the cookies in the above photo are smaller than some. That's because during my testing runs, I made some larger than others. I wanted to see how the different sizes related to different temperatures and bake times. In my oven, the larger dough balls baked better in the lower temp (350F) at a longer bake time (13-15 minutes). The smaller cookies baked nicely at a higher temp (375F) and a shorter bake time (9-11 minutes). Ovens may vary on bake times and temps - make sure you try baking one or two cookie dough balls before baking the entire batch.

This Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe makes about two dozen extra-large cookies, 4-5” diameter.

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees a few minutes before you’re ready to bake.

Prepare your pans:

Cover 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Pull out your large cookie scoop:

You’ll need a 2-3 tablespoon sized cookie scoop. If you don’t have one, use a ¼ cup measuring cup, but the scoop will be much easier and faster to use.

Gather your Giant Cookie Ingredients:

20 tablespoons Butter, soft (2 ½ sticks or 1 1/4C)

1 ¼ C Brown sugar, dark

¼ C Sugar

2 T Vanilla extract

2 Eggs

3 ½ - 4 C Flour

1 T Cornstarch

1 t Baking soda

1/4 t Salt

30 oz Chocolate Chips, mini, semi-sweet

Get Mixing:

- With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until well combined.

- Add and slowly beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside.

- Whisk all but ½ C of the flour together with the cornstarch, baking soda and salt.

- Slowly beat the dry mixture into the web mixture.

- The dough should begin to separate from the sides of the bowl as you beat the dough. If it’s too sticky, gradually add the extra ½ cup, and slowly beat in, a few tablespoons at a time.

- Fold in all but one cup of the mini-chocolate chips.

- Using a large cookie scoop, about 2-3 tablespoons worth, scoop the dough into balls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I place 6 dough balls on my cookie sheets.

- Before baking (but not before freezing the dough balls) press each dough ball into the extra chocolate chips, so the top side is covered. Doing this adds an added punch of the semi-sweet chocolate to each and every bite of your GIANT Chocolate Chip Cookie.

- Bake at 350F degrees for 13-15 minutes. Because my oven bakes hotter in the rear of the compartment, I check them at the 10-minute mark and rotate my pan 180 degrees so they bake evenly. They will be golden brown.

- Remove the pan of cookies from the oven and let them sit on top of the stove for 10-15 minutes, to continue baking. Then remove them from the pan onto a cooling rack.

It’s okay to FREEZE the dough:

- If you don’t want to make all the cookies right away, freeze the excess dough balls in a sealable plastic bag. They will last up to a month or longer in the freezer. It usually double bag them to ensure freshness.

- If you're freezing the dough balls, do NOT roll them in the extra chocolate chips. I don't just in case I decide later to roll them in a different flavor or color of chocolate chips for variety - white, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch or semi-sweet chips.

- In fact, I make a couple of batches, bake a few and freeze the rest in plastic bags. Then I have them whenever anyone in the house is hungry, or when I need to bake a bunch for an event.

- If I have room in my freezer I load up a 9"x13" parchment paper lined cake pan with plastic wrap over the top layer of cookie dough balls. Otherwise, I freeze on a flat open pan and store just the dough balls in sealable plastic bags. They last about a month, not because of being perishable, but because we bake them up for events, family or friends well before the month is up.

It's fun to do your own bake-testing:

- Don’t be afraid to test your own favorite cookie recipes to see how they bake when the size of the individual cookie is doubled or tripled.

- Just make the dough balls larger and bake a couple at a lower temperature of 350F for a longer period of time.

- Look for a golden light brown finish. The cookies should not look wet, if they are bake them a little longer.

- Let them cool completely on the cookie sheets for 10-15 minutes.

- Or, try a couple of cookies at a higher temperature for longer. See how they compare when completely cooled.

- It’s fun to try just a couple of cookies at a time to see how they bake in your oven. Be patient to get a great product.

This is an impressively large and delicious cookie to make for your work mates, family or special events. Because they are covered with extra mini chocolate chips on top, you get an extra punch of chocolate in each and every bite. Whatever size you make these Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies, “Bake your own Memories!”

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