I’ve always loved baking but as soon as stay at home orders were imposed in California, I found myself starting to bake more. Like, a lot more. My three year old son loves it, too and before I knew it, we were baking three to four times a week. Muffins, cookies, cakes and loaves. The house took on that sweet, comforting smell of something in the oven and together, we whiled away hours stirring and mixing our way through a morning.
I find something very therapeutic and comforting in baking. Always have. And it seems I’m not alone. At the time of this publication, the hashtag #quarantinebaking had 63,000+ posts on Instagram. And mental health experts say that baking actually is good for you. According to this Fast Company article: “Many people find joy and calmness in baking, because it is very tactile and typically commands your full attention, primarily when you use repetitive motions with your hands,” says corporate mentor and coach Kimberly Lou, author of Becoming Who You’re Meant to Be. “Because of this, it can have a therapeutic effect that calms the central nervous system and connects to the part of the brain that accesses creativity and imagination,â€ she says. In addition, Lou says the texture, smell, and taste of the ingredients stimulate the senses, tapping into the pleasure senses of the brain.”
So, when the folks at Hilton DoubleTree decided to release the recipe for their famous chocolate chip cookies last week, they helped quarantine bakers all over the world recreate a much-loved treat that came with a nostalgic reminder of different times when we used to travel and a dash of hope for when we might resume.
I tried the recipe this weekend and it’s super easy to make. I made a few minor changes – I didn’t add lemon juice (didn’t have any on hand), but I read that lemon juice makes cookies chewier. I also eliminated the walnuts since I’m not a fan. And lastly, I only baked the cookies for 15 minutes instead of the recommended 23. I felt that 23 minutes would have made the cookies too hard but if you like hard cookies, then you’ll want to bake them for the full suggested time. At 15 minutes in the oven, they came out on the chewier side, so maybe the lemon juice wasn’t even needed.
Anyway, my husband – who is well acquainted with the DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie – said that although my cookies were good, they didn’t taste like the DoubleTree cookies. Hmmm … maybe the adjustments I made to the recipe were more significant than I thought. Regardless, the cookies are yummy and I highly recommend you give them a try! Here’s what you’ll need and all the directions:
DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Makes 26 cookies
½ pound butter, softened (2 sticks)
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ¼ cups flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cups Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts
Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
Add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice, blending with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl.
With mixer on low speed, add flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds. Don’t overmix.
Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Portion dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center is still soft.
Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for about 1 hour.
Cook’s note: You can freeze the unbaked cookies, and there’s no need to thaw. Preheat oven to 300°F and place frozen cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is still soft.