Showing posts with label comfort food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comfort food. Show all posts


Nathalie Dupree's Fudgy Brownies and Cooking Classes at Harmons!

THE Guide to Southern cooking. 

If you were able to sit down with one of the most popular cookbook authors in the US, what would you want to know (insert emoji with wide eyes and hand over mouth)?  Nathalie Dupree is coming to SLC to teach cooking classes at Harmons, and they asked me to do an interview with Nathalie to promote her upcoming visit and classes. We had a lovely conversation about everything from Julia Child and the influence she had on Nathalie's career path to her preferred fat in biscuits and pie crust. Some people want to know how to achieve world peace, I just want to talk crust, dough and chocolate. Nathalie is a gracious Southern Lady, so of course, she obliged and gave me all kinds of insider tips about one of her areas of expertise, biscuit making. Nathalie is the Queen of Biscuit Making. She's written a whole book about the subject.

One of Nathalie's 14 cookbooks...

Here's a bit of our conversation:
First, we discussed how her name is properly pronounced.  Since we have that in common ( you have no idea how many variations I have heard of my name- Sayuri (Si).  Her name is pronounced Natalie, not Na-THalie. Apparently her mother wanted Natalie, and her father wanted NaTHalie, and dad got his way in spelling. She was raised in Virginia and in her early years and had an opportunity to cook for her college dormitory one summer. Her mom didn't want her to be a cook, it wasn't "suitable work for a lady" back in the day. Her mother knew it would require working at night with men (yikes!) and lifting heavy equipment. It was not typical work for a woman in 1959.
But Nathalie loved cooking.
After she was married, she moved to London and while looking for a job, she "stumbled into" the Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School. She took a class, then went home and tried to duplicate what she had learned.  Everything she made flopped!  Nathalie said she considered herself a good cook and decided at that point she didn't want to be a "lady" and instead wanted to go to cooking school. A year later, she earned her advanced certificate.  At graduation, Nathalie talked to Julia Child about her future.  "Julia was very generous and available to people, I asked her - what I should do now and Julia told me I should teach cooking."

Nathalie instructing at Rich's Cooking School in Atlanta

The rest is history.  Nathalie has owned multiple restaurants, opened and enrolled more than 10,000 students at Rich's cooking school in Atlanta during her almost 10 years there. She has hosted more than 300 television shows on PBS, TLC, The Food Network and countless other appearances on national television shows. Nathalie has been the recipient of the prestigious James Beard award three times and was recently inducted to the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. Whew. And she's still going strong in her 75th year. With a reputation like that, I knew I had to honor Nathalie by making one of her recipes. We were in the mood for chocolate, so I made some of her Fudgy Brownies.
Oh my. They did not disappoint!

Ani could not wait to get her hands on a homemade brownie...

kid approved!

They lived up to Nathalie's amazing reputation.
If you want to learn from Nathalie, and live in the SLC area, she will be teaching  Southern Desserts, Cool Summer Eats, Southern Breakfast, and Southern Menus for Two at Harmons Cooking School, City Creek on May 22 & 23. I highly recommend taking a class. This would make such a fun girls night out or mother-daughter date.  Hurry and sign up the slots are filling fast...Hope to see you there!
Oh and the biscuit making tips? We'll have to talk about that on another post.


Nathalie Dupree's Fudgy Brownies


Smashed Potatoes and Buttermilk Fried Chicken

What says comfort more than fried chicken? This dinner takes just a few minutes to cook after the chicken soaks in buttermilk. I usually place the chicken in the buttermilk early in the day (If the chicken is frozen, I just plop it in the buttermilk as-is.

If you are a little skeptical about cooking fried chicken you're going to love this recipe. It's easy to put together and you can fry batches and then place the cooked chicken in the oven to keep warm. I put the potatoes in the oven about an hour before eating dinner. Then just steam the veggies while you're saying a blessing. What could be easier than this? Ok, besides KFC.

And the leftovers (if you have any)?
You might be tempted to give up your firstborn for a piece of this cold leftover fried chicken.
I'm serious.

Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Smashed Potatoes
original recipe adapted from Mad Hungry  originally posted here

1 quart buttermilk or milk
2 tablespoons Tabasco or other hot sauce
about 4-6 chicken breast halves
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus a little more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Smashed Potatoes:
12 small red potatoes, or white will also work
olive oil
coarse ground salt
ground pepper

For potatoes:
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and dry all potatoes, remove any eyes from potatoes with paring knife. 
Grease a 9x13 or jelly roll pan with cooking spray. 
Rub each potato with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.
Place pan in oven and bake potatoes for about 1 hour  or until knife inserted in center of potato easily goes through potato. 
Remove and Smash each potato with a fork. Sprinkle each potato with a little more salt and pepper. Drizzle with additional olive oil. If desired, spoon about a teaspoon of butter on each potato, top with Parmesan cheese, grated cheddar, chopped green onions if desired. Or just serve with olive oil and salt! Keep warm in 200 oven until ready to serve. 
-Use whatever amount you need for this recipe. Usually, about 2-3 small potatoes per person. 

Early in day:
In a 9x13 baking dish or gallon sized Ziplock bag, stir together the buttermilk and Tabasco. Place the chicken in the liquid mixture and leave as long as possible. (I soaked the chicken overnight. Place in refrigerator.)

When ready to cook chicken:
In a plastic or paper bag combine the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Shake the chicken pieces two to three at a time, in the flour. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
In a skillet heat one half inch of oil over medium high heat. Test with a tiny bit of chicken. If it bubbles immediately, it is hot enough.
Place the chicken into hot oil. Distribute as many pieces as will fit in a single layer in the pan, leaving one half inch between pieces. Leave to fry undisturbed for about seven minutes. Lower the heat as necessary to prevent excess browning. The oil should continue to bubble steadily. Turn the pieces and cook for an additional seven to ten minutes.
Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat process to cook remaining chicken. To keep first batch warm, place on a rimmed baking sheet in a 200 degree oven.

-The original recipe calls for two cups of oil. I used about a quarter to a half inch of oil in the bottom of the pan.
-I used 4-5 boneless chicken breast halves. 
-This was delicious served cold as a leftover the next day.


How to Host Thanksgiving Dinner 101 and a giveaway with Mint Arrow for my favorite Thanksgiving cooking tools!

It's your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner?
And you've never cooked Thanksgiving dinner?  Ever? If you're 25 or 55, you've come to the right place. Planning, recipes and step by step timeline to help you get Thanksgiving dinner on the table- without a meltdown! And guess what? I've partnered with my daughter, Corrine at Mint Arrow, to bring you my  favorite tools for Thanksgiving dinner and a chance to win them all!

Thanksgiving 101:

My first piece of advice is stick with traditional. Trust me. Traditional is best for Thanksgiving. That means turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, salad and of course, pie. 
A couple of suggestions before we start:

  1. Take a deep breath. This is just a meal. Sure, it's the most anticipated meal of the year, but in the end it's only a meal. Meat, potatoes, gravy. You can do this.
  2. Take any help offered. If you're hosting, and others want to help, LET THEM HELP.  It's okay if you don't have total control. If Aunt Betty's pie is a runny mess, no big deal. Remember, although I'm a bit of a food freak, it's okay if everything doesn't taste exactly as you planned or if every dish doesn't turn out to look like it could be photographed for the next issue of Martha Stewart Living. This holiday is about family and friends and blessings. If a guest offers to help, or if you ask them to help, I've found the best way to end up with the best dishes at your feast is to let guests bring what they love to cook. Every year my sister in law Sheri makes Southern specialties, because her husband is from the South, and she learned how to make broccoli casserole and cornbread dressing and Southern specialty pies while they lived in Alabama for years. Those are always her assignments. She makes them better than anyone else. Period.

Now those two important items are out of the way, I'm going to point you in the direction of recipes on A Bountiful Kitchen I believe are  both delicious and simple for first time cooks or hosts to use on Thanksgiving. After the recipes, Ill break down the timing as far as when to cook what, so it all ends up on the table hot, at the same time.
Here we go.

Typical Thanksgiving eve scene in A Bountiful Kitchen...

If you can get a fresh turkey and you like fresh better than frozen, great. Order one. Don't plan on running to the store on Wednesday to pick up a fresh turkey up without ordering in advance!  
If frozen, make sure to start thawing it about three days before cooking. If I purchase a 24 lb turkey, I start thawing it (at least)  Saturday or Sunday before Thanksgiving. Place it in the fridge in a pan. You can leave it in the wrapping.  Don't ever thaw a turkey on the counter. Unless you want to end up in the bathroom or the ER for a very long time after Thanksgiving dinner...
Here's my tried and true most simple way to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. It involves a roasting bag, a few seasonings, butter and a roasting pan. A few minutes of prep and a few hours in the oven. That's it. No basting, just slide in the oven and bake.  Are we best friends yet?
And yes, it really does brown up nicely inside of a bag. Isn't that a thing of beauty?

Pan Gravy

Using the drippings from the turkey for the best gravy. If you have a roasting pan, you'll be able to roast the turkey in the pan and then make the gravy right in the same pan.

This recipe isn't up yet, but will be on Saturday. You'll need a few cans (2-3) of chicken broth, butter, flour, salt, pepper and chicken flavor booster (I like Swanson brand or Knorr) . Check back for recipe link...

Mashed Potatoes: If turkey is king, mashed potatoes are queen.

After you've made these, you'll never, ever go back to boiling on the stove.
Plug in the slow cooker early in the day, mash up your potatoes right in the slow cooker and keep your prepared dish on the warm setting until showtime!

Cranberry Sauce:

Fresh Cranberry Sauce (basic recipe)
look on ABK's index for a few variations of cranberry sauce

One of those- never, ever, EVER  buy in a can items. This is the most simple recipe of all. The difference in taste? Not even comparable.
You can make this up to a week in advance.
Takes about ten minutes total to make. Let cool, refrigerate and take out a few minutes before serving dinner.

Start drying your bread now.  Here's a few tips on preparing the bread for your stuffing. If you don't have time or just can't face cutting up and drying your own bread, grab a couple of boxes of bread cubes at the grocery.  This is my moms tried and true crowd favorite stuffing. you can make it a few days ahead and refrigerate until ready to heat up. Also, cooking tip- I stopped cooking stuffing in the bird a few years ago. It slowed the cooking time of the turkey considerably and made predicting the cooking time more tricky.  

Sweet Potatoes:
If you're a Southerner, you can't have Thanksgiving without at least one sweet potato dish. This is my sister in laws famous dish. So good, you'll be tempted to fill up on these before you get the rest of the meal on your plate. I like this dish,  again, because it's a total make-ahead dish.
Make it this weekend, and then place it in the fridge and follow the recipe directions for make ahead.

Green Salad:

Every Thanksgiving dinner needs a green salad. I love this one. It's simple and fresh. Cut the fruit the day (or two) before.  Use a Spring Mix or Spinach leaves for the greens. Make the dressing up to a week ahead. All you have to do the day of the meal is place the greens on salad plates on the table, top with fruits and drizzle with dressing. So simple.

Jello or fruit salad

What's Thanksgiving without J-E-L-L-O ?
You'll love this recipe. Make it on Tuesday. Let it sit until the big day. You can make it in a 9x13 or individual custard cups.
So good, it will turn a Jello hater into a fan.


I like this recipe for beginners because there's no rolling out and shaping. Just let rise once, scoop into pan, raise again and bake. You can make these the night before.

And finally, Pie.
Really now. Who can have Thanksgiving without pie? Can you fully trust a person who says they don't like pie? Maybe, but my inner voice tells me they really do like pie, they've just never eaten good pie.
I chose two recipes I think are simple and most people will love.
Pecan pie being the first. Pecan pie is probably the easiest pie to make for beginners.
Make the crust, shape and place in pan. Follow my tutorial on crust making here.
The second recipe is for classic pumpkin pie. My recipe takes the classic Libby's recipe and adjusts the spices and milk so you won't end up with a runny filling. Perfect pumpkin pie. Every time.

Oops, almost forgot. Ice Cream. No, you don't have to make your own. Just don't forget it.
If you DO want to make your own, here's the link to my Dark Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream.

Complete Menu and Links:


5-6 days ahead-  
-Thaw the turkey in refrigerator if you are cooking over a 20 lb turkey. Remember, the insides need to be completely thawed before cooking. 
-Print out recipes, gather in one folder or binder and make grocery lists. 
-Buy all non-perishable groceries (and some fresh, depending on how early you are preparing dishes). Don't forget items like spices, jam, drinks, ice.
-Make cranberry sauce.
-Cut up bread, dry in oven. 
-Make dressing for the green salad.

3-4 days ahead-
-Cook the yams or sweet potatoes for the sweet potato casserole dish. Let cool, mash in bowl. Refrigerate until ready to complete recipe. 
-If you are making ice cream, mix it up, follow directions and keep frozen until Thanksgiving. 
-For the stuffing, cook the sausage and all of the veggies. Refrigerate until ready to add to the rest of the stuffing ingredients. 

2 days ahead-
-shop for any remaining perishable items- greens, dairy (don't forget the sour cream and whipping cream), flowers, if you like fresh flowers on your table. 
-Make the jello
-Complete the stuffing, mix together, place in fridge. 
-Cut up fruit for the green salad, place in separate bags. 

1 day ahead-
-Make pies. Set in a cool dry place. If you make pumpkin pie, refrigerate after completely cooled. Pecan pie may be left on the counter. 
-Wash potatoes.
-Make rolls, let cool and place in a plastic bag so they don't dry out after they are completely cooled.
-Gather ingredients for roasting turkey, place in one spot in kitchen. 
-Set out all serving platters, bowls, and utensils. I like to set the serving utensil right in the dish, so I don't have to look for (or direct someone to look for) serving utensils while I'm in the final stages of preparing the meal.  If you can, set the table for dinner. Don't forget the salt and pepper. 

Thanksgiving Day-
-Put on your apron and some comfy shoes. 
-Prepare turkey for cooking. Do this about 4-5 hours before serving dinner. 
-Cut up potatoes and place in slow cooker about 5 hours before dinner is served. 
-Cook Turkey according to chart on recipe notice how many pounds your turkey weighs BEFORE tossing the weight tag on the turkey. 
-About 2 hours before turkey is done, remove the sweet potatoes and stuffing from refrigerator. 
Let sit on counter for one hour. 
If you have a second oven, place these dishes in oven to warm at 325 for about one hour, loosely covered with foil. If the stuffing is too dry, add a few tablespoons of chicken broth and gently fold the stuffing a bit to loosen the bread and allow the broth to moisten the stuffing. 
If you have one oven, Place these dishes on another rack in oven with turkey if possible for about an hour. If you have to wait until the turkey is done, cook both side dishes at 375 for about 30 minutes on middle rack, uncovered. Check to see if they are warmed in the middle of dish before serving. They can go into the oven immediately after the turkey is removed, adjust the heat and start cooking right away. 
-After the mashed potatoes are cooked (about 4 hours), complete recipe and keep slow cooker on warm setting. 
-Place any frozen veggies (corn, green beans, etc) in pans on stove with water and butter in pan. Do not cook yet. 
-Place the rolls on table in basket. 
-Place butter, jam, cranberry sauce etc on table. 
-Plate and dress salad, set on table. 
-Place jello salad on table.
-Remove turkey from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Follow directions for removing bag.
-Transfer turkey to platter to serve. Cover loosely with foil while making gravy. 
-Have someone fill drink glasses. 
-Make gravy according to recipe. While making gravy, cook corn. 
-Transfer turkey to table.
-Remove stuffing and sweet potatoes from oven and corn from stove pour into serving dish, place on table. Place mashed potatoes in serving bowl on table. 
-Place gravy in bowl with ladle and place on table. 
-Take off your apron, gather with your loved ones at the table, and thank the Lord for all you have. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 


Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

If you are like me, no matter the size of your kitchen, when Thanksgiving rolls around, it never seems big enough. There are never enough cooking surfaces, oven space or counter space to fit all of the dishes you are hoping to serve piping hot, at the same time for your Thanksgiving feast.
So many dishes, so little space.
Enter the humble and oft forgotten slow cooker. Dump the potatoes in,  add a little water and salt. and in about 4 hours. BAM. You're in business.

It really is that simple.
Why didn't I think of this years ago??
Why doesn't my keypad have multiple emojis so I can insert the - bewildered, embarrassed, and now totally happy emoji  face parade??!! I'm sure you can picture those faces.
Happy days are here again my friends.
One less dish to keep warm on the stove or in the oven!
Happy cooking.
Here's a fantastic gravy recipe to go with your mashed potatoes- Simple Pan Gravy
PS are you following on INSTAGRAM? Look to the right, see the icon?  If not, do it. now. You'll be glad you did. Next week, I'm partnering with Harmons and 4 other bloggers to bring you original recipes for a delicious holiday meal AND  a big giveaway just in time for your multiple trips to the grocery store!

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

5 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into fourths (I leave the peels on)
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2- 3/4 cup butter, cut into tablespoons
half and half, about 1 1/2 -2 cups
1 cup sour cream (optional)
pepper and more salt if needed

Place potatoes in large 6-7 quart slow cooker or crock pot. Pour in water. Sprinkle salt over potatoes.
Place lid on slow cooker and set on high heat. Don't lift the lid! Cook for about 4 hours.
Leaving the insert (bowl) in the slowcooker do the following:
Do not drain the potatoes. Place the butter in with the potatoes. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes and butter together.  Add the half and half (about 1 1/2 cups). Continue to mash until desired consistency. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of half and half,  if needed.  Add sour cream (if using) and mix well. Taste and add more salt and a little pepper if desired.
Turn the heat to warm and keep warm until ready to serve for up to two hours. If needed, just before serving, add additional milk or half and half and fold the potatoes

-Do not over mix, or beat the potatoes for a long time with a mixer. The potatoes will  take on a gluey type texture.  It is almost impossible to over mix the potatoes with a potato masher.  If you don't have one,  I highly recommend buying one.  I've had mine for at least 25-30 years,  and it's still going strong.
Click on the photo below to order yours for just a few dollars:


Old Fashioned Coca Cola Cake

Is there anything better than a cake that tastes like a slice of your childhood?  This recipe is an updated version of a classic favorite, made into a layer cake to dress it up a bit. The combo of Coke and buttermilk in the batter turns out a light, tender cake that stays moist for days.

I don't know about you, but I love homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and pecans on top.   Pour me a glass of cold milk and I'm a happy girl.

Old Fashioned Coca Cola Cake
A Bountiful Kitchen

1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, I used pecans
Frosting (below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in middle of oven.
Mix Coke and buttermilk together in a measuring cup, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars together until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients all at once. Mix and add the coke mixture all at once. Fold in the marshmallows.
Spoon mixture into two greased and lined 9 inch cake pans or one greased 9x13 cake pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes for layer cake and about 35-40 minutes for 9x13. Cake is done when a few moist crumbs are attached to a toothpick.
Remove from oven and if using layer pans, run a butter knife around edges and invert onto a rack to cool, placing the parchment side down so it won't stick to the rack. Make sure to peel parchment paper off before frosting cakes.
Cool completely.

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coke
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream as needed

Mix the butter in a bowl with powdered sugar and cocoa. Add salt, vanilla and coke. Beat until creamy. Add milk until desired spreading consistency.
Place cake on a platter. Spread 1/3 of frosting on layer. Top with other layer. Spread frosting on top and sides. Place chopped nuts on top of cake.
Serves 12

-This cake is very tender, or falls apart easily because it is so moist. Be careful to not over bake. The first time I experimented with this recipe, it came out dry. I think I baked it for 40-45 minutes. I found that about 35 minutes worked perfect in my oven.
-The cake will come out with little indents where the marshmallows have melted and sunken into the batter. No worries. The frosting will fill in the indents.
-You may add up to another cup of marshmallows to the cake batter if you wish. Only use fresh marshmallows.
-Don't use Diet Coke. Or I'll have to come hurt you.


Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies (2014)

School starts up next week in our community. Is there anything better after a long day at school than a melt-in-your-mouth homemade chocolate chip cookie?
If you've ever made chocolate chip cookies, you've probably had a baking failure. Am I right?
Today, we are going to solve that problem. Once and for all.

In 2010, after months of testing methods and ingredient combinations for baking chocolate chip cookies, I came up with a recipe that works.  Every. Single. Time.
Since then, I've continued to update, simplify and improve this recipe. For the original recipe, with step by step photos, check out  this post.  This recipe is a one bowl, 20 minute (start to finish)  success.

I've made these cookies a few hundred times. Everyone- from young neighbor kids to folks in nursing homes love these cookies.
I know you're going to love them too.
Happy Baking!

ABK's Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies (updated 8/2014)
A Bountiful Kitchen (adapted from Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe)
print recipe

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened *
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt ( I prefer coarse salt)
2 cups  or 1 (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375° F. If using convection, preheat to 375 as well.
For regular oven, place rack in middle of oven. When using a convection oven, you should be able to bake on all racks at one time.
Cut butter into pieces ( about 2 tablespoons each) and place in mixing bowl. I use a Kitchen Aid and power it on 2 (low).  After a few seconds, add granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until creamy (this takes just a few seconds). Add eggs, beating just until incorporated and smooth.  Never turn the beaters on high. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and bottom of the bowl to insure all ingredients are incorporated.
Dump 2 cups of the flour, soda, salt and chocolate chips all together into bowl with butter mixture. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour to the top of this mixture. Slowly mix the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips together.  Do not over mix.  Turn the dough with a rubber spatula so the bottom of the dough is mixed into the top of the dough. This will insure the flour is mixed in properly and the chips are distributed evenly.
Using a cookie scoop, drop onto un-greased baking sheets, or baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place 6 scoops of dough on each baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
If using convection, bake for 7-10 minutes until golden brown. If using regular oven, bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Cookies should be slightly golden and the cookie should not be wet on top.
Cool on baking sheets completely.
Yield 18 large cookies.

(or my mini-epistle on cc cookie making and baking)
-Only use butter. Unsalted is best. The butter should be more firm than room temperature butter. I take it straight out of the fridge, and microwave it for about 20 seconds.
-*Our altitude is about 4,400 ft. So, I use about 2 3/4 cups flour total. The original Toll House recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups. If you are at sea level, you will probably need less flour than the 2 3/4 cup.
-Don't over beat the butter-sugar mixture, or the batter will become too soft, and your cookies will not be beautiful and puffy. They will resemble pancakes. 
-Don't sift the flour.
-There is usually a notable difference between using a convection and a standard oven. If you bake at the same temperature, for the same amount of time, the convection cookie will be done, with a beautiful, golden, slightly crispy outer layer. Still soft on the inside. And it will be taller than the cookie baked in a standard oven. Not everyone has a convection oven- if you don't, you can still bake a great cookie using a standard oven!
-I think two of the biggest mistakes made while baking cookies are:
1-Over mixing. This will cause the batter have too much air incorporated, producing a fluffy, instead of a chewy cookie.
2- Over bakingUnder baking is good! Not under baked to the point the cookie is wet and doughy, but just until the top sets, and the dough looks like it has a bit of a crust.
-Chocolate chips - For semi sweet,  I use Nestle Semi Sweet chips. You can't go wrong here. But for Milk Chocolate, we prefer Guittard . The chips are called Maxi Chips and are sold in a silver colored bag.
-If the cookie spreads too much, or the edges are not even, I take a small spatula and push the edges inward to create a cookie that is round. This has to be done immediately after removing from the oven. 
- High Altitude info: Not recommended-directions on Nestle Choc Chip package for high altitude- I have tried this variation, and don't like the result. The cookies aren't quite sweet enough, and have a crispy more cake like texture. Here are the directions on the package: (again I do NOT recommend using this method, but have printed it here as an FYI)  Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.
-Last tip. Mound the cookie into a ball. I make them about the size of a golf ball. I use a cookie scoop, because it's easier for me. For years, I just used a spoon, and then shaped them by hand. Make sure to flatten the cookie just a bit before baking. To yield 18 cookies use a  2 1/4 inch scoop.