Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is based on the “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipe in Cook’s Illustrated (May/June 2009), with some modifications. Personally, I prefer a cookie with less sugar than most, so be aware that these are not overly sweet; also, the bit of rye flour is important, because it gives them a lovely texture.

Start with:

  • 1/4 cup rye flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (you can buy it at Whole Foods, or take rolled oats and work them through a clean coffee grinder, or Vitamix)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp chunky salt (Fleur de Sel is nice, but kosher salt will do just fine. Just don’t do something like Morton’s Table Salt. You want the occasional crunchy bite of salt in the cookie)

Sift all of these together in a bowl and let sit. Then, in a sauté pan, melt

  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter

and swirl until the butter starts to brown (about 1-3 minutes). Transfer the butter into a largish glass bowl and add

  • another 4 tbsp unsalted butter

into the browned butter, and whisk until everything’s melted. Now, add:

  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg (optional) OR
  • 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper and a dash of cinnamon (optional)

Whisk this together until it’s fully incorporated, then add:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk

and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Let it sit for 3 minutes, then whisk for another 30 seconds, then let sit again for 3 minutes, then whisk another 30 seconds. For those counting, that’s whisk for 30 seconds 3 times, with 3 minutes between each whisking episode. The mixture should be smooth, thick and shiny, similar to melted caramel sauce.

Add the flour mixture slowly, and stir everything together with a rubber spatula until it just comes together (about 1 minute). Then add

1-1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped nuts (if you like)

and mix everything together into a nice, lovely dough.

Now, you can drop them on a cookie sheet covered with a silicon sheet (or parchment paper), about a tablespoon at a time, and bake at 375°F for about 10-14 minutes until the edges are set, but the center’s still soft. Cool on a cookie rack and enjoy.

By the way, these also store really well as dough. Just roll them into balls, put them on a silicon-covered cookie sheet (flatten them a little bit so they’re easier to bake later), and pop them in the freezer until set. Then remove them from the cookie sheet and store in a gallon Ziploc in the freezer until you need them. When you’re ready to make them, bake at 375°F (or in a toaster oven on the “Bakery” setting) for 20–25 minutes.

Jazzy No-bakes

I learned this recipe as a little girl from my mom, and modified it as I got older. My version incorporates some orange zest, garam masala and candied ginger. Mind, they’re insanely rich - so you don’t want to eat too many of them.

To make it: 
  • 6 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth)
  • 2 tbsp candied ginger, chopped
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats

Melt chocolate over double boiler and add in honey and cream. Fold chocolate into peanut butter along with zest, garam masala and chopped ginger. Fold in oats. Drop spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Stick in the fridge for about 3-8 hours until set.

Killer Holiday Shortbread

This is one of the regulars (pretty much the only regular) on my holiday cookie list. The combination of oat flour and whole wheat pastry flour offers a whole-grain kick and a bit more body to the cookies while still being a bit light; although you can buy oat flour in the supermarket, I make my own oat flour by grinding rolled oats in a coffee grinder. It comes out exactly the same, it’s significantly cheaper (about 50%, at least), and I use oat flour in pretty much all of my baking, so I just make a bunch at a time and keep it handy.

To make it: 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cups raw sugar (if you don’t like your cookies super-sweet, use 1/3 cup less sugar)
  • 1-2 tsp fresh orange zest (about half of a large orange)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry flour
  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 1 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • sugar for sprinkling.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In medium-sized bowl, sift flour and cornstarch together with cinnamon and orange zest and set aside. In larger bowl, cream butter with sugar and candied ginger until fluffy. Slowly add dry ingredients (about a half-cup to a cup at a time), and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated (electric beaters work wonderfully for this, as would a KitchenAid mixer if my boyfriend is giving me what I think I’m getting for Christmas…). The batter should be thick and kind of dry. Bring dough to the parchment-lined baking sheet and use your hands to spread it out (should be about 1/2 inch thick by the end) to the ends of the sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until the cookies have just started to get golden brown. Remove from heat and sprinkle with raw sugar while it’s still warm. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut shortbread into rectangles about 1″ by 3″ - these are super-rich, so you don’t really need them to be bigger than this.