Tag Archives: chocolate chip cookies

behold! the fancy pants cookies

I know what you’re thinking about this blog, and I want to set the record straight. It’s not always about babies. Sometimes it’s about cookies.

Take note, gentle reader. This is the post that will change your life. This is where you learn how to make the most salty-chewy-sour-cherry delicious of all chocolate chip cookies. This is the cookie that will make you stop mid chew, while you’re typing an e-mail to a co-worker at the job that you loathe (totally hypothetical situation) and think: I. Am. AWESOME!!! Just for having baked such an amazing treat. And that last part, you’ll sing! Just like these cookies do.

But don’t take my word for it. (Here’s looking at you LeVar Burton.)

A few words before you begin.

These cookies take approximately 36 hours from start to finish.

Take a moment. It’s okay. I understand.

They have to marinate, if you will, in their own ridiculous juices. I don’t pretend to understand the chemistry of this, I just accept it. Like a religion, but even better. Have faith and you will be rewarded. Like for real. In the corporeal flesh. In the very near future. You can’t beat that with a stick.

Also. These cookies, they’re not cheap. You should use the very best ingredients you can get your hands on. That means real vanilla (not imitation) and a full pound of Ghirardelli chocolate pieces (or even higher quality high cacao bittersweet chocolate).

Oh, and a cranberry flavored with cherry juice does not a cherry make. Yeah, that’s right, Craisins. Dried. Cherries. That’s what you want.

And even more annoying, where applicable, I’ve listed measurements in ounces, which means you’ll need a kitchen scale. Don’t fight it. Just go buy one. Seriously, the cookies are worth it. The New York Times recipe that my recipe is adapted from lists measurements in ounces and also in cups, but I can’t vouch for the cookie made without a scale. Why even risk it?

So. Let’s just all  take a deep breath and embrace the fact that these cookies are neither cheap or easy to make.

I should also say that the Fancy Pants were inspired by this cookie at the Metropolitan Bakery and the aforementioned recipe from The New York Times that I found on the food blog Orangette.

After making my first batch, I knew I was on to something.

And that, friends, is when my life began in earnest.

Fancy Pants Cookies

Adapted from The New York Times, David Leite, and Jacques Torres via Orangette

makes about 2 1/2 dozen

8 1/2 ounces cake flour

8 1/2 ounces bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

10 ounces light brown sugar

8 ounces granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, at least 60 percent cacao

1 bag of dried cherries (about 8 ounces)

Sea salt.

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt together into large bowl. Set aside.

Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, cream butter and sugars until fluffy (a few minutes). Add eggs, mixing well after each one. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and attach plastic pouring shield (this thing here) to mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture until just combined. ***IMPORTANT*** Do not over mix! Pour chocolate pieces and cherries into batter and mix briefly. Press plastic wrap on top of dough as well as plastic on the top of the bowl and refrigerate for 36 hours.

36 impatient hours later, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Use an ice cream scoop to fashion six generous sized balls of dough per cookie sheet. Sprinkle dough with sea salt. Place one sheet (and mixing bowl of remaining dough) back in the refrigerator. Put the other cookie sheet in the oven. Bake cookies for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, turning baking sheet about halfway through cook time. Place cookies on wire racks to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

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cookie perfection

Ahem…sorry. I’ve been gone, but I’ve been thinking about you! And look what I have: cookies!

These are my new favorite things in Philly. Seriously. I’ve eaten two today. The Metropolitan Bakery sells these amazing Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies Sprinkled with Sea Salt. Umm, yum! It’s like the Fancy Pants Cookie (recipe forthcoming) with fat, gooey cherries and big, solid pieces of sea salt thrown in. Cookie perfection, that’s all I have to say. Things to know: They only seem to have them after 11 a.m.

Love the bakery too. It has an awesome Parisian vibe. Here’s a photo with S. sitting on the bench outside. All my favorite things in one place. How did I get so lucky?

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the toffee chocolate chip cookie

These are not my go-to chocolate chip cookies. These are a little more laid back, a lower maintenance cousin to the Fancy Pants cookie, which calls for extra bittersweet gourmet chocolate chips that I have to order online. These, on the other hand, are made from ingredients you should be able to buy at a regular grocery store (as opposed to Whole Foods). They are neither finicky or expensive, and they’re pretty delicious!

When I first took a look at the recipe on America’s Test Kitchen website, which I surfed my way to via one of the blogs I read (can’t remember which one),  I was intrigued because it didn’t read like any cookie recipe I’d made before. It was the browning of the butter and the use of dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar that sold me, and I knew I had to try it. I also liked that I didn’t have to use my mixer. I told you, easy-peasy.

The toffee pieces were a bit of inspiration from Karen, who once made S. and I cookies that had little surprise pockets of caramelized perfection. Karen and I decided that it may have been toffee. (She says it was probably a Karen experiment, so we’re not 100 percent on what that ingredient was.) I added the toffee bits to this recipe because I just wasn’t convinced that this chocolate chip cookie could hold its own against the Fancy Pants. The jury’s still out on that.

I’ll share the Fancy Pants with you at some point too, but let’s ease into this cookie-making magic with an easy-going number, shall we?

Before we get started, I should tell you that I took several liberties with the original recipe that I will explain here. The major change was I “aged” the batter in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baked them. The result was a thicker, cakier cookie. When I cook them again, I think I will bake them right away. So I will give the recipe as if I did that.

For those of you who want a cakier cookie and opt to refrigerate the batter for 24 hours before baking, I use an ice cream scoop to spoon out balls of batter. I would also recommend letting the batter warm up for 10 minutes at room temperature before scooping.

I used regular old bleached all-purpose flour instead of unbleached because that is what I had, and I don’t have enough cabinet space to be buying unbleached flour when I have a full bag of bleached. I’d love to try these with unbleached flour, though. I also added toffee and sea salt, and while I say that the sea salt is optional, I don’t think it’s something you want to miss.

Okay, let’s get on with it.

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, with a heaping dose of inspiration from Karen Suderman.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)

1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)

3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)

1 teaspoon table salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1  cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

1 cup Heath toffee bits (These if you can find them. I couldn’t and had to individually unwrap mini Heath bars, put them in a plastic Ziploc bag,  and beat them with a mallet. Such was my commitment.)

Sea salt to sprinkle on top (optional)

 

Makes about 18 cookies.

Put your oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Whisk flour and baking soda together and set aside.

Over medium-high heat, melt 10 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch skillet. Once butter is melted, swirl pan and cook butter until it browns and smells nutty. Place remaining (solid) butter in glass bowl. Remove browned butter from heat and pour it into the glass bowl. Mix the butter until it is all melted.

Add sugar and brown sugar, table salt, and vanilla to butter and whisk together. Add egg and yolk and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat this two more times. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until it is just combined (about a minute). Fold in chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets. I make big scoops of dough, with only six cookies on each cookie sheet. While cookie size is a matter of personal preference, the larger the cookie the more opportunity for varying degrees of consistency – a crunchy outside that gets chewier and softer toward the middle. It’s hard to argue with that. Sprinkle some sea salt on top of each scoop of dough. Place one sheet in the oven at a time. Cook 10 to 14 minutes, turning cookie sheet halfway through. Cookies are ready when edges are brown and center is soft and puffy. Remove cookies from oven and cool on wire rack. Repeat.

Voila! Enjoy!

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sneak peak

(photo by Steven Stanek)

Can you guess what my next post is going to be about? Stay tuned!

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