A couple of weeks ago, Bowl #2 and I made a little move to a new place just across the street, scooting into our friends’ apartment after they moved uptown for grad school. Adjusting to this apartment so far has been, for lack of a better simile, like taming a giddy, unrestrained crush. So much light! So many shelves! So clean! So new! CLOSETS! POT AND PAN RACK! For the most part, the last week has consisted largely of Bowl #2 and I looking at each other, firmly ensconced in our old squishy couch on our old chevron rug in our new living room, saying over and over, “I love this apartment. Don’t you love this apartment?”
Of course, being a New York apartment, it’s not without its faults. So far, mainly just a minor (and fixable) one — a stubborn oven that releases gas but refuses to light. (And has since caused the gas company shut off the gas to our apartment altogether. Me: “But … are you sure I can’t just use the stove? You know? Just the stove?” Them: “Yes, unless you want to risk gas building up in the oven and blasting the whole thing apart.” Me: “So … no?”) But, like with most giddy crushes, we’ve readily rationalized its shortcomings — no working stove or oven means an excuse for delivery pizza, right? And green smoothies for lunch, and contemplating crazy shenanigans involving hot water kettles and instant ramen.
What really amazes me about our new home, though, is how much and how recently we were unsure about whether to make the move. Even though we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into — it being our friends’ apartment, after all — there was something scary about shaking up the status quo. Just the thought of uprooting ourselves from the familiar was enough, I think, to wash our old imperfect apartment in nostalgia and make it harder to leave. (Plus the thought of packing.) So part of what I’m loving so much about our new digs is the gladness that we mustered up the courage to make a change, and the welcome reminder that change can be good, exciting, and necessary.
Given our dormant oven, today’s recipe is for a batch of cookies I made awhile back in our old place. Speaking of change, they’re the perfect example of how old things give way to new wonders — they’re a riff on the very first cookie I ever made from scratch, the now-infamous Jacques Torres New York Times 36-hour chocolate chip cookie. I had almonds and white chocolate burning a hole in my pantry, so I swapped out the regular chocolate chips for them; then, on a whim, I topped it off with rosemary brown butter. That brown butter. Its earthy warmth helps ground an otherwise intense white chocolate, resulting in a deeply rich, savory-sweet cookie with even more of that nuanced, addictive caramel note so well-sung in the original. And, as in the original, the extended wait time results in a perfectly textured cookie with a crisp edge and a chewy, buttery center — but with a tad extra crunch from the almonds to round it all off. I think this would make a perfect Christmas cookie (or an anytime cookie, since I made them in April).
To our dear friends and former neighbors, if you read this — thanks for the sweet digs. The only thing wrong with it is that you guys aren’t here anymore. (Well, I guess that and the oven.) And also thanks for the popsicles in the freezer. They are bomb. P.S. I haven’t killed your oregano and thyme yet.
based on a half-batch of Jacques Torres' infamous chocolate chip cookie recipe; makes about 12-18 cookies.
- for the rosemary browned butter:
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3-4 small sprigs rosemary
- for the rest:
- 1 cup cake flour
- 3/4 cup bread flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt, such as kosher
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup (about 6 oz) white chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, plus more for pressing on top
- Melt 4 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add rosemary, and continue to stir until butter bubbles and crackles, then turns a rich medium brown. For a stronger brown butter flavor, let the butter go darker (even burned). Set aside and let cool.
- Sift together cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together the brown sugar and remaining 6 tbsp of softened butter until smooth. Add the granulated sugar, then set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl and pour the browned butter through, straining out the rosemary sprigs. Discard sprigs, then beat again vigorously until mixture becomes light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Finally, add the egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract, and beat again until incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix gently just until incorporated. Finally, fold in the white chocolate and almonds.
- Chill the dough for at least 4 hours and ideally up to 36 hours.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into balls of about two tablespoons each, and place on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet about 3 inches apart. If you like, press a few more almonds on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are set and centers are still soft. Cookies will continue to set once they’ve been removed from the oven.