Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

I know that’s quite a title. A pretty audacious claim that I’m making. And it’s hard to say, really, what the best chocolate chip cookie in the world is, because everyone’s ideal cookie is different. Some people like them crunchy, some people like them chewy, some people like dark chocolate in them, or nuts. Some people like them with M&M’s, some people like just the plain old Nestle Tollhouse kind. Or Chips Ahoy. I’m sure someone out there thinks Chips Ahoy cookies are the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. And I guess these cookies aren’t for them.

These are actually the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.

I didn’t come up with the recipe. It’s been floating around the internet for a while now, ever since it was published in the New York Times. Oddly enough, David came across it through his various internet sources about the same time that Orangette convinced me to make them.

I’m glad she did!

These cookies are delicious. They manage to be crispy on the outside, but chewy on the inside. They are delicious on their own, but stand up well against a glass of milk. You might not be able to tell from the picture below, but they are HUGE for homemade chocolate chip cookies. 4 or 5 inches across, easily.


Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The New York Times

Like Orangette, I have to plug the use of the kitchen scale here. Both volume and weight measurements are included, but using the scale is so much easier. I just put the bowl from my stand mixer right on top of the scale, tare it, and measure away. It’s super simple! If you have a scale, I recommend using it. If you don’t have a scale, I recommend that you get one!

  • 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. (8 ½ oz.) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 ½ oz.) bread flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher
  • 2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli
  • Sea salt, such as Maldon (I skipped this, because I don’t have it)

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk well; then set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Using a standard-size ice cream scoop  scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Yield: About 24 (5-inch) cookies.

P.S. Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Peanut Caramel

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Out of this year’s batch of Christmas cookies, this has been far and away everyone’s favorite.

The result is a crispy peanut butter cookie, with a creamy caramel and chopped peanuts at the center. To finish them, I piped some of the extra chocolate topping leftover from the Paradise Macaroons over the top (and by piped, I mean put into a ziploc bag, snipped the corner, and squeezed–but whatever works!).

I found this recipe on another blog, but I can’t seem to find it right now. I’ll have to link to it when I do.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Caramel

Adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet

Cookie Dough:

  • 8 tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (200g) creamy  peanut butter (use regular peanut butter, not any fancy natural type).
  • 1 3/4 cups (250g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown and granulated sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.

3. Beat in the peanut butter.

4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and beat until there are no patches of flour. Be careful to add the flour in small batches, or you will end up with a cloud of flour in your kitchen.

5. Scoop up tablespoon-sized portions of the dough (I used a cookie scooper, kind of like a miniature ice cream scoop) and roll each piece between your hands so they’re as smooth as possible. Try to avoid cracks whenever possible.

6. Space them 1 1/2-inches apart on the baking sheets, and use your thumb to make an indentation at the center of each one. The sides will crack; just push them back together as much as possible.

7. Bake the cookies for 13-16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during cooking, until they are light-golden brown and the edges barely start to darken. Remove from oven, and while they’re warm, press in to reinforce each depression. Your original indentations will have puffed up, and they need to be replaced. They’ll be too hot to use your thumb–I used the cork from a wine bottle, and it was perfect, but you could also use the end of a wooden spoon. Let cool completely.

Salted Peanut Caramel:

  • 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (100g) finely chopped roasted salted peanuts

8. Start by warming the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave. You want it to be hot, but not to the point that it boils.

9. Cook the water, 1 cup sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it turns a nice, golden brown color.

10. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the hot cream in a slow, steady stream.

11. As it cools, the caramel will set up. When it has thickened to a caramel sauce, but is still pourable, mix in the chopped peanuts. Spoon some of the caramel into each cooled cookie.

Note: As I mentioned above, I used some of the leftover chocolate from the Paradise Macaroons, and it finishes the cookies nicely. Be sure to let the filled cookies cool for at least an hour before trying to top with chocolate. Also, I had at least twice a much caramel as I actually needed, and while I can imagine a number of possibilities for it, I wasn’t prepared for any of them, so it went to waste.

I will definitely make these cookies again. I think they’d be great filled with jelly or jam, for a PB&J flavor, or maybe with pure chocolate at the center. I might have to play with some other combinations.

Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

And we’re back to the baking!

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s website. I’m not always a fan of Martha’s recipes, but these cookies sounded good, and I’m glad I tried them.

The texture is rich and crumbly, like a shortbread. They are not overly sweet, but have a nice flavor. I toasted the walnuts and cooled them again before mixing into the cookie dough, and there’s a lovely walnut taste throughout the each cookie. The cookies are a great little crunchy treat–a nice break from some of the sweeter, heavier treats so prevalent this time of year.


Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, (not whipped) room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups walnut halves (1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped), 1 cup finely chopped

  1. Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in sugar and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined (do not overmix). Mix in toasted walnuts.
  2. Transfer dough to a work surface. Divide in half; shape each half into an 8 1/2-inch long log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in parchment paper; freeze until firm, about 30 minutes or up to 2 weeks.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 with racks in upper and lower thirds. Unwrap 1 log, and roll in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, coating completely. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until golden around edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Repeat with remaining log and remaining 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Note: I did use a bit of egg wash to get the nuts to stick to the frozen cookie dough logs. One batch of this dough made 4 dozen cookies, easily. In my experience, you don’t always get the yield that you would expect from cookies, but these delivered. Not surprisingly, the taste reminds me of a rich cheesecake. They were especially amazing straight from the oven.

Christmastime is for Cookies

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I have been waiting and waiting for the baking bug to bite. It’s Christmas, after all.

Part of the problem may have been a Thanksgiving hangover of sorts. Not only did I run the kitchen for what my friends and I call “fake Thanksgiving,” an all-out Thanksgiving feast above and beyond all of our family obligations on the real Turkey day, but David and I hosted our first Thanksgiving in our new place. His family came, my family came–and it was the first time we even had a place set up for hosting, so it was kind of a big deal.

I think that’s why I spent most of this Christmas season not feeling the urge to roll out the sugar cookies or decorate the gingerbread houses. Then, at work, my Secret Santa got me an adorable gift basket full of baking paraphernalia. Spatulas and mixing bowls and towels and cookbooks. And so, the baking bug bit.

When I decided I wanted to bake, last weekend,  I started poking around different websites and blogs looking for some great Christmas cookie recipes. I started at the Food Network site, where I was excited to see their 2008 12 Days of Cookies guide had started. It sounded so promising!

I was actually rather disappointed with what I found. Sandra Lee was more focused on pretty than tasty, with her Sugar Cookie ornaments, Duff’s cookies looked strange, Paula Deen had some Snowflake cookies that looked okay, but nothing special. Alton Brown’s submission, however, was just what I was looking for. He calls them Paradise Macaroons, and I have to say, the name suits them.

First of all, they were simple to make. There’s some fuss on the Food Network boards about how it’s confusing that he only provides measurements in terms of weight, not volume, but I don’t think that should be a surprise to anyone who’s seen his show.

Second, they were delicious. My husband, who had never had a macaroon, apparently has a new favorite cookie. They’re light and crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, with just the right amount of sweetness. I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips for the coating, and I substituted chopped walnuts for the macadamia nuts, since that’s what I had on hand.

Third, they were beautiful. They look as good as they taste!

Overall, I was very impressed with this recipe, and will definitely make again.

Alton Brown’s Paradise Macaroons

  • 2 (7 to 8-ounce) packages sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 5 ounces granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)
  • 1 ounce vegetable shortening
  • 2 ounces finely chopped dry-roasted macadamia nuts (I used finely chopped walnuts)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut with the sweetened condensed milk, salt and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip the whites until medium peaks form, 6 to 7 minutes.

Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately transfer the parchment with the macaroons to a cooling rack. Cool completely before topping.

Fill a 4-quart pot with enough water to come 2 inches up the side, set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a small metal or glass mixing bowl and set over the simmering pot. Stir occasionally until melted, then remove from the heat.

Dip the cooled cookies in the chocolate mixture, sprinkle with the chopped nuts and place on parchment paper to set, about 30 minutes.

Note: My one concern with this recipe is that as written, there is way too much chocolate topping. I used the 12 ounces of chocolate to 1 ounce of shortening recipe for a double batch of macroons, and still had chocolate left over for another cookie. I would recommend halving the chocolate dip for just a single batch of cookies.