Hi! In less than three days, we’re jumping on (or, more accurately, “squeezing a toddler and many bags and a stroller and a car seat onto”) a plane and heading to Hawaii for the first time since our two-bowl household became a three-bowl one. There are aunties and uncles and cousins for Luke to meet for the first time, beaches to explore, galbi to chew on, and to say we–and even more, his grandparents–are excited would be an understatement. Our fellow passengers are probably less excited, though they don’t know it yet. (If you have any tips for entertaining a 14-month old in an enclosed space for five hours, I welcome them and our seatmates will thank you.)
But first, cookies! I had to restore some kind of holiday order to this place, lest we go the entire month of December without a post that is at least somewhat cookie-related. So here’s a little round-up of some favorite holiday cookie recipes, some old and much-loved and some I’ve been meaning to try, plus an update on that classic to rule all classics, the chocolate chip cookie. (Also, some gratuitous Christmas pajama photos, which have nothing to do with cookies.)
I had no intention of sharing another chocolate chip cookie recipe here, because no one needs me to tell them how to make chocolate chip cookies when there are so many impeccable versions out there already (most recently, this ripply, thin-and-crispy beauty from Sarah Kieffer that has been taking the world by storm!) But then I realized that the only CCC recipe here to date is the infamous David Leite New York Times recipe, which I continue to love but to which I’ve rarely adhered in the last five (!) years since I posted it, and it didn’t seem quite right to leave out the recipe that I actually make every time I crave this classic cookie.
So, here it is! This one hews most closely to Tara O’Brady’s recipe from her cookbook Seven Spoons, and it stole my heart because it uses melted butter, meaning no waiting for the butter to come to room temperature or creaming it with the sugars (my two least favorite cookie tasks) and, therefore, cookies even faster; the cookies it makes are thick and hefty, with crisp tops and edges but velvety, fudgy innards, puddles of chocolate on top and striated ripples within, and, if you can bear to let the dough rest a few days, warm, round notes of butterscotch and toffee underneath. There are a few quirks from David’s recipe that still make their way into my kitchen when I make these: It has more chocolate, and even though many have rightly pointed out that a mix of bread flour and cake flour should average out to the protein content of all-purpose, there’s something about the mix that I find adds a little extra depth to the flavor. But while I like to use chocolate chip cookies as a repository for as many flours as possible, you shouldn’t need to, so the recipe below is written with all-purpose.
As an alternative, for a little holiday version, I like replacing a third or so of the flour with a whole grain flour like sprouted wheat, white whole wheat, rye, or spelt, to add extra nuttiness, and a touch of rosemary to lend a little savoriness, akin to the sea salt on top, which makes the sweet sweeter and the dough deeper and richer. This makes for the extra craggy cookies pictured up top and at the end, while all-purpose flour will give you the softer, more tender cookies directly below. But rest assured, I love these pretty much any way they turn out.
Happiest holidays, friends! I hope it’s filled with coziness and all the cookies you could want.
a whole lot of cookies
my go-to chocolate chip cookie + some variations
This is very lightly adapted from Tara O’Brady’s recipe in her fantastic cookbook, Seven Spoons, and it is my go-to recipe:
an easy, streamlined process that makes cookies that are thick and hefty, with a crisp edge and a fudgy, velvety center, chocolate puddled on top and rippled throughout, and a butterscotch note underneath. My only variations were to suit my personal preference–a bit more chocolate, a tad less salt and baking powder, and some notes on what flours I like to use.
- 1 cup (2 sticks, or 8 ounces) butter
- 3 ¼ cups (406 grams) all-purpose flour (though I prefer a combination of flours in the Notes)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 16 ounces chopped dark chocolate, or a mix of chopped and chocolate chips
- flaky sea salt, for topping
- Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over very low heat, or in the microwave in 15-second increments. Take care that the butter does not sizzle. (See Notes.)
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until just combined. Stir in the vanilla. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry ingredients until barely blended. When things are still looking a bit floury, stir in the chocolate until all of the ingredients are just combined. Use a large cookie scoop or your hands to shape the dough into large 2-ounce (or even 3-ounce) balls, then place in an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and ideally 24-36 hours. They can also be frozen at this point, which I love doing.
- After the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 360 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. Space 8-9 of the dough balls on the baking sheet, or as many as will comfortably fit several inches apart, and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden, 15-18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. They may take less time, depending on the size of your cookies, or more. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes, the move to a wire rack to cool completely.
I like to use chocolate chip cookies as a repository for all the random flours I have in my pantry, but I know that recommending two or three flours for an everyday recipe is a little fussy. Still, if you’re curious, my favorite mix is about half and half bread and cake flour by weight (200 grams each), or, in the case of the craggy cookies pictured above, a mix of bread flour, cake flour, and a whole grain flour like white whole wheat, sprouted wheat, rye, spelt, etc. I find that a mix of flours adds a nice depth and nuttiness that I love. As long as it adds up to around 400-410 grams, I’ve found that all sorts of experiments will work and are delicious.
For a rosemary-walnut twist, add 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary to the melted butter before whisking with the sugars, and ½ to 1 cup chopped walnuts to the dough with the chocolate chips.