tahini chocolate chip cookies

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I recently met a lovely girl from sydney, australia, named holly. we ran into each other while skiing and I spent the next three days winded, quads burning, trying (and failing) to keep up with her. the best part of those hours was our time on the lift because 1. I got to rest(!); 2. holly, like all australians I’ve ever met, was extremely well-traveled and had a whole arsenal of interesting stories; and 3. I just liked 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.

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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.