Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

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New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coming down off of the Christmas High is like coming down from Prom when you’re in high school – or your wedding day – all the planning, the cooking, the baking, the wrapping, the shopping and then BOOM, it’s over like that.  But, the best part is that there’s only 364 more days until we can do it all over again!

Anyway though, I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas – we did a lot of eating, drinking, and traveling (not all in the same order) but it was a fantastic few days spent with family and friends.  I’m always sad to see it end, but it was great while it lasted.

Another thing that was done in abundance was BAKING – holy moses.  5 different cookies, which in reality doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re in the throws of flour, sugar, and butter, well you realize that it is in fact a.lot.  Some of the usual suspects showed their faces – Easier than Ina’s Pecan Squares & Chocolate Drizzled Macaroons, but a few new players were introduced to the rotation. And even though the Christmas Baking accessories have maybe been put away for the year, these are year-round winners.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t know if I’ve met anyone who doesn’t love a Chocolate Chip Cookie – it seems like they’ve been around since the creation of man, and there’s probably some cave in the arctic that has the recipe chizzled on the walls.  But there are many many different versions of this all-time favorite circulating the earth.  Back in June, I tried these Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies  and mmm…they were good. But, anyone whose read this for a bit knows that many a recipe on this blog has been inspired or just flat out stolen from my friend Ashley, and this recipe is another ‘hot’ recipe of hers.  We were still rooommates when she first started making these ‘New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies’ and over the years, she has gotten them down to a science, experimenting with ingredients, cooking and dough-chilling times, literally perfecting this cookie.  The recipe differs from others in that it uses a combination of cake flour and bread flour vs. the standard all-purpose flour and it also adds the seemingly unlikely touch of salt on the tops of each cookie, which really adds a lot of dimension to the flavor.

They are worth their weight in gold (and whatever weight they add to your hips) 🙂

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
*Adapted from Jacques Torres & Chef Ashley Rogers

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 20 cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
*If you can’t find Cake Flour like me, this is a great alternative from Joy the Baker to make your own

1 & 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 & 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 & 1/2 sticks (1 & 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 & 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 & 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks, at least 60 percent cacao content
*I used the Ghiradelli 60% Cacoa discs

Kosher Salt

1) Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2) Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

3) Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and stir them in by hand with a wooden spoon.

4) Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

5) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

6) Take a 1/4 cup and measure out 6 mounds of dough (1/4 cup each – the size of generous golf balls), roll them into a ball, and place onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie.

7) Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and bake until golden brown on the edges but still soft in the center, about 16 to 18 minutes. Let cookies sit on sheets for a couple of minutes & then slip them onto a wire rack to cool.  Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

There were many tips both from the original recipe and from Ash that were useful, but above is exactly how I did them.  I think they key with these is experimentation, trying different baking & cooling times, on and off the baking sheet, as well as varying how long you chill the dough.  Personally though, I let this dough sit for just about 72 hours based on her recommendation as it allows the flavors to really meld together producing a really rich tasting cookie.  And the size of these may be off putting, but if you’re someone who likes a cookie with crunch edges and a soft, chewy interior, than these are your cookie.  You could certainly make them smaller though too.  Ash originally recommended measuring out 2.5 ounces of dough, but since I didn’t have a food scale I thought 1/4 cup would yield a healthy sized ball of dough and that amount seemed to work really well.  Also don’t be alarmed when the cookies come out, as they’ll still look a little undone in the center.  That’s what will make the chewy goodness when they’re cooled!

If you go make these now, your dough will be ready just in time for some gigundo NYE Chocolate Chip Cookies! Why would you start your diet now anyway? There’s still a few more days of holiday fun to be enjoyed 🙂

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Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve never considered myself much of a jetsetter, but this weekend, that will all change.  Because I will be jetsetting to Charlotte, NC for just shy of 72 hours to visit my cousin Catherine. 

I’m not one for politics – I think I’ve only voted in one election since I turned 18 and when the conversation turns to politics at the lunch table at work, I usually slyly pull my chair away from the table and scoot back to my desk.  Now if you wanted to discuss the Kardashians or who the bitchiest housewife was, I’d be all ears!

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Catherine, Buddy and I in Dublin, 2007, posing with a nice Irish gentlemen that we decided reminded us of our Uncle Tommy

My cousin Catherine however, political ROCKSTAR! She did a semester in D.C. in College, then moved there after she graduated and started working for a lobbyist that works with Afflac  (she scored some amazing Duck chachkis as a result of this) and now, she’s living in Charlotte, planning the Democratic National Convention coming up in September – how freaking awesome is that?  She moved there last June, and I promised myself that I would get down there to visit, and before I knew it, a year had gone by, and I realized that her time in the ‘linas was limited! So I booked myself a ticket, told Dave to behave and hopefully not break any limbs at his downhill mountain bike race in VT, and now I’m “goneee to carolinaaa in my mindddddd” AND Catherine’s brother, my cousin “Buddy” (we’ve called him this since birth – his real name ‘Chris’ will never be used by me, even when he’s 40 with children) is making the trip too.  Catherine and I went to visit Buddy while he was studying abroad in Ireland a few years ago, and if this weekend’s trip is anything like that one, we’re in for an epic couple of days!

I had these chocolate chip cookies at my cousin Charlie’s graduation party a couple of weeks ago, and shockingly enough, they weren’t Ina’s! I told my aunt Nancy I needed the recipe, stat.  I haven’t met many chocolate chip cookies that I didn’t like, however, these were beyond good. 

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Baking Illustrated

INGREDIENTS

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

12 tbsp (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1-1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips
(I used a combo of chips and chunks)

1) Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 large baking sheets w/ parchment paper or non-stick cooking spray.

2) Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

3) In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk and vanilla until combined.  Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed  until just combined.  Stir in chips.  (Dough will be somewhat soft)

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

4)  Take 1/4 cup of the dough and roll into a ball.  Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 halves.  Rotate the halves 90 degrees so the smooth side is on the bottom and the jagged surfaces are facing up.  Then join the 2 halves together at the base, forming a single ball again, with jagged edges facing up.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

*This sounds strange, but I think it really does make a difference in the shape/texture of the cookies.  I tried to take pics of the process as best I could with doughy hands, however, here is the scanned illustration from the ‘professionals’.  You can click on it to enlarge.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

5) Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2.5 inches apart.  Rotate the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom half way through the baking time.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

6)  Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges, while still soft and puffy in the center, about 15-18 minutes. Cool cookies on the baking sheets and then once they’re cooled, remove w/ a wide metal spatula.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know this particular recipe for C.C. cookies sounds a little involved, however, it’s really not much more effort and I truly think the extra steps make a big difference in the shape, texture and taste of the cookies.  Perfect amount of chewy and crispiness.  Thanks Nance!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

So now, I’ve already had one of these for breakfast, and will probably have 1-2 more on my plane ride, so maybe by the time I actually land in NC, they’ll be a couple left for Catherine and Buddy 🙂 Not making any promises though

 



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