I think it’s really important to recognize people for all they do for you and others, making life so much easier because they are around. This particular post is dedicated to such a person. I don’t know if I would understand half of my degree requirements, or other logistics of my program, were it not for our department’s graduate assistant. So, after getting her signature the other day on an important form that will get me a much needed grant for the next academic year, I really felt the need to show her my appreciation for all that she does. Hence, the cookie sampler was born.
The cookie sampler is a trio of different types of chocolate chip cookies. There are probably at least a million recipes for chocolate chip cookies out there from crispy, to cakey, to some with nuts, and/or toffee, or oatmeal (the Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley has an awesome chocolate chip cookie they make with lard… um, yeah, trust. It’s good!).
A chocolate chip cookie is very subjective. For example, I happen to like mine cool, crispy, and crunchy; whereas my husband likes them right out of the oven while they are still gooey. So, I think the best way to handle choosing the kind of chocolate chip cookie you’re going to gift to someone is by making them a few kinds in the hopes that one really works for them
We start with a straight forward kinda chocolate chip cookie (pictured below). One based on the famous Toll House cookie recipe, but tweaked enough by Alice Currah, author of the blog Savory Sweet Life, to be named “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever.” They are indeed quite delicious, as are many of the recipes in her new cookbook. If you own, or decide to pick up this fabulous book, must tries (above and beyond her chocolate chip cookies) are the Thai Marinated Chicken Skewers and the accompanying recipe for the Peanut Coconut Sauce (which I literally could guzzle down like water).
We then move to more adventurous territory and try Joy the Baker’s Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies. Joy’s cookbook is amazing, and if you haven’t gotten it yet, you’re really missing out on some very worthy recipes to bake from! These cookies are crispy on the edges and slightly chewy in the center, and have a lovely caramel and nutty flavor from the browned butter.
Finally, we get really crazy with it and break into, what my husband has named, the Blizzard Chocolate Chip Cookies. This is basically your “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of chocolate chip cookies. The Blizzard cookie has a lot of depth because it is carrying pecans, milk and semisweet chocolate, oats, and shredded coconut. It may seem like there’s too much going on, but I promise you that these cookies work and are majorly good eats.
Which ever cookie you may decide to make these recipes are all winners in my book.
Blizzard Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly Adapted from Flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (*or 2 cups of butter if using maple sugar)
1/3 cup maple sugar (optional)
1/3 cup cane sugar (or, if not using maple sugar, 2/3 cup cane sugar)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1/2 of a vanilla bean)
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
9 oz (255 grams) half bittersweet chocolate and half milk chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate; or, just 9 oz of either milk or bittersweet chocolate. I use whole bars of chocolate, or couverture chips and chop them since I like the effect it produces in the cookie with little shards and chunks of chocolate in the cookie.
1 1/4 cups pecan halves, toasted and chopped
1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened, but you can use sweetened shredded coconut)
1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer, or wooden spoon and lot’s of elbow grease) cream together the butter, and sugars on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Don’t be shy about stopping the mixer every now and then to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
2. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue to beat at medium speed for another 2 minutes. Stop the mixer every now and then to scrape down the sides and the bottom to make sure all of the ingredients are getting fully incorporated. Stop the mixer and prep the dry ingredients.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and salt. Then, add the oats and stir them with a spoon into the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Then, add the chocolate, pecans, and shredded coconut and stir to combine as well.
4. Turn the mixer back on and, while set on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until fully incorporated–again, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl until everything is just mixed.
5. For the best results, let the dough rest. You can either place some plastic wrap on top of the mixing bowl, or transfer the bowl to an airtight container to let it rest in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours.
6. After the dough has rested, position a rack in the center of the oven and then preheat the oven to 350′ F. While the oven is preheating, scoop out dough using a cookie scoop and place them on a parchment covered cookie sheet (or use a 1/4 cup measurer and roll the dough into a balls).
7. Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and slightly soft in the center. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely (unless you like them warm). I actually like to bake off just a few cookies, and then scoop out the rest of the dough, and freeze the balls for future use. Simply bake as usual, but increase the bake time to about 23 to 25 minutes.
Recipe for Alice’s “Best Ever” Chocolate Chip Cookies
My adaptations were to do a combo of milk and semisweet chocolate, and use a 1/2 of a vanilla bean instead of extract.
Recipe for Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies will lead you to my previous post where I used pecans instead of walnuts.