flour bakery’s chocolate chunk cookies

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considering I don’t really post that much, it seems gratuitous that this is the third chocolate chip cookie recipe to make it onto the blog. (see: chocolate chip cookies from “not without salt” and tahini chocolate chip cookies.) but I promise, there is a story behind it:

last weekend, I promised to make banana bread (using my favorite recipe from joanne chang’s famous flour bakery) for a picnic hangout. I scrambled to make it the night before, having come back in d.c. later than planned after changing my travel plans last-minute. around 2am, after waiting 1 hour and 10 minutes for the freaking bread to finish baking, I finally went to sleep.

it was a beautifully misty morning when we we set out on an unexpectedly taxing hike the following day. heavy rains had blocked our planned hiking path with a fast-flowing and deceptively deep stream. in our efforts to find a different point to ford the stream, two members of our party got lost in the dense foliage of the george washington national forest. we didn’t locate them until an hour later – one was sitting, almost hidden in dead leaves, legs bloodied and left ankle sprained after multiple falls, while the other, in a panic, had torn through branches and brambles, covering his arms in scratches. it was altogether one of the scarier hiking experiences I’ve had.

after finding the two lost hikers, we were in no mood to continue the hike, especially not with one hiker left hobbling, so we set out for a winery in the area. thankfully, no one’s injuries were very serious, and the mood quickly became more jovial as people unpacked bags of chips, deli meats, tabbouleh, naan, and spreads. after our taxing day, I was glad to have made the banana bread after all.

food is like that. good eats, shared with good people, can completely change the mood. it got me thinking about a possible fun project for this summer and beyond: baking (and maybe cooking) my way through joanne chang’s cookbooks, and sharing the results with friends. first up: these chocolate chunk cookies, shared with my fellow summer associates. I can usually tell if I’ll love a chocolate chip cookie by the way it bakes in the oven – these start as slightly flattened balls, then melt outwards as they bake, forming those coveted ripples of crisp, buttery, brown rings on the outside of the cookie, while the middle of the cookie remains soft and chewy. and my fellow associates certainly agree with me – after 10 minutes, all 36 cookies were gone!


makes ~24 bakery-sized cookies or ~42 standard-sized cookies

228g (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
165g (3/4 cup) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
140g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
150g (1 cup) bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
255g (~1 1/2 cups) bittersweet (60%) chocolate, chopped
70g (~1/2 cups) milk chocolate, chopped*

joanne chang.
flour: spectacular recipes from boston’s flour bakery + cafe.
san francisco: chronicle books, 2010.

1 using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a wooden spoon), cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy (~5 minutes with stand mixer, ~10 minutes with spoon). scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to release any clinging butter or sugar, then mix again.
2 beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed until thoroughly combined (2-3 minutes). scrape the bowl and paddle again to make sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
3 in a medium bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, and salt until well mixed. add the chocolates and toss to combine. on low speed (or with the wooden spoon), slowly add the flour-choclate mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, then mix just until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed. (don’t over-mix!)
4 cover the dough and refrigerate overnight (at least 12 hours and up to 36) before baking. when you are ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350ºF.
5 drop the dough into 1/4-cup balls (for bakery size) or rounded 2-tbsp balls (for standard size), spacing them ~2 inches apart. using the palm of your hand, flatten each ball slightly. (optional: sprinkle cookies lightly with flaky salt.)
6 bake for 15-18 minutes (for bakery size) or 11-13 minutes (for standard size), until cookies are golden brown on the edges and slightly soft in the center. do not let them get brown throughout. let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
7 cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. the unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (and can be frozen for up to 1 month; just defrost while the oven preheats so you can flatten each ball, then add 1-2 extra minutes of bake time).

 
*I used ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate discs and milk chocolate chips because I didn’t have any chocolate bars to chop, but taking the time to chop the chocolate will add more variation in texture to your cookies.
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tahini chocolate chip cookies

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on a recent ski trip, I met a lovely girl, holly, from sydney, australia. the best part of our time together was our rides on the lift because 1. I got to rest(!); 2. holly, like all australians I’ve ever met, was friendly, well-traveled, and had a whole arsenal of interesting stories; and 3. I just enjoyed listening to her aussie drawl.

I’ve always been intrigued by accents – it’s so strange how the minute someone begins talking, you know whether or not they have an accent, and if you’re especially worldly, you know exactly where their accent is from. and yet, when you talk, your cadences, your pronunciation, your slang all sound completely normal.

people have told me I sound like an american tv show. like I over-pronounce all my vowels and consonants. they tell me that american english sounds like people trying too hard to speak english. to me, new zealand english is clipped, fast, full of dropped sounds. some london accents sound posh and elegant, like how I wish I spoke english, others sound like the “t” and the “r” sounds just don’t exist. actually, in a lot of accents, it seems like the “r” sound disappears. it almost makes me feel like us americans are doing english wrong.

while riding on the lift, holly and I shared a chocolate chip cliff bar with our fellow lift mate, a marathoner from london. while we chatted, I began to think that food and accents actually are quite similar. there are so many variations on the same dish – take chocolate chip cookies, for example. christina tosi of momofuku milk bar throws pretzels and potato chips into hers; jacques torres lets his sit for at least 24 hours before baking. they’re all recognizable as a chocolate chip cookie, yet all clearly distinct.

then, by serendipity, one of my favorite dessert bloggers posted a lovely new spin on a chocolate chip cookie that I just had to try. I’ve had a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for a while now, but this recipe really might be my new favorite. in fact, it is so good, tahini may replace peanut butter as my new favorite condiment. and I ate peanut butter sandwiches for lunch every school day in high school. what can I say, I eat like an american tv show too.

choc tahini cookie 1

makes 12 cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup tahini
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (>60% cocoa; I use ghirardelli 70% cocoa chips)
flaky salt

molly yeh. salted tahini chocolate chip cookies. my name is yeh. 6 jan 2016. accessed 16 jan 2015.

1 in a bowl, cream the butter*, tahini, and sugar until light and fluffy, ~5 minutes. add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, then continue mixing for another 5 minutes. (I mixed by hand with a spatula, but you can also use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.)
2 sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. using a spatula, fold flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined. fold in chocolate chips.
3 line a baking sheet with parchment paper. using a 2-oz ice cream scoop, scoop 12 dough balls (I just used the standard-size one I have at home and it worked fine.) wrap baking sheet with plastic wrap and place in freezer for at least 12 hours (do not skip!). (if you don’t have enough room in your freezer, you can put them in the fridge until hard enough to move them to a plastic gallon bag without getting squished.) cookie dough can be frozen for up to 6 months.
4 preheat oven to 325ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or save the parchment paper from before and reuse). space the cookie balls at least 3-in apart to allow for spreading. bake for 13-16 minutes, until just golden brown around the edges. they will still look fairly unbaked in the middle. sprinkle with flaky salt immediately after they come out of the oven. allow to cool for ~20 minutes on the baking sheet (the center will set and finish baking).

*if your butter is not room temperature, melt a bit of it at a time and mix with the butter until it becomes a creamy consistency.

 

chocolate chip cookies

chocolate chip cookie 1

over the years, I have tried many cookie recipes involving somewhat exotic steps: brown the butter, or melt the butter then steep the tea bags in the butter, or even use bread flour and cake flour and refrigerate the dough for over 24 hours, etc. some have resulted in failure made more painful by hours/days of effort; others have turned out surprisingly well.

but sometimes its not worth it to spin the roulette of fastidiously fancy baking. sometimes, you want a back-to-the-basics, surefire recipe.

last week, after somewhat foolishly agreeing to both bake enough sweets for 40 people and work overtime, I found myself in dire need of a fast and easy classic cookie recipe. as the clock ticked towards midnight, I whipped these together in record time and was asleep by 1am.

I am a notorious over-planner – I spend weeks on researching everything from vacation plans to every article I could possibly need for my papers. I stressed over the fact that I had not tested out the cookie recipe beforehand – they could be terrible! (or worse, decent, but disappointing.)

the cookies came through. they were chocolately and soft and chewy with a little kick of salt, my ideal kind of chocolate chip cookie. one greedy coworker even took five for his “friends”. (I am certain he ate all five – one for each of his thieving sausage fingers – gleefully on the bus ride home.)

but whatever, I’m not too mad. (though I’m not above publicly shaming him: shame on you! learn how to share!) I learned a wonderfully easy new cookie recipe that I am happy to share with you (in a way my coworker prevented me from sharing with others).

…okay. maybe I’m still a little salty.

chocolate chip cookies 2
makes 18-20 cookies

1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp (25g) sugar
2 tbsp (25g) turbinado sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (165g) packed light/dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 + 1/8 tsp fine salt
1 3/4 cup (220g) all-purpose flour
1/2 lb (225g) bittersweet chocolate (I used ghiradelli 70% chocolate disks)
flaky sea salt

ashley rodriguez. chocolate chip cookies revisited. not without salt. 27 june 2010. accessed 23 may 2015.

1 heat oven to 360ºF. line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2 in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (~5 minutes). scrape down sides, then add egg and vanilla, beating until incorporated.
3 scrape down sides, beat in fine salt and baking soda until combined, then add flour at low speed until just mixed. the dough will look a little crumbly. using a spatula, fold/stir in chocolate chunks.
4 scoop cookies into 1 1/2 tbsp mounds, spacing at least 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet(s). sprinkle each with a few flakes of sea salt. bake for 11/12 minutes, until golden on the outside but still very gooey and soft on the inside. remove from oven and let rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.