My Favorite Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I first discovered this recipe almost three years ago, when Emily first posted it, and I’ve been making it for every chocolate-chip-cookie-appropriate occasion since. I haven’t posted it until now, however, as I wasn’t entirely sure this blog needed another chocolate chip cookie recipe – it’s fourth in two years, which is a pretty high ratio, especially considering (a) I have a long list of “to make for blog” recipes, and (b) I don’t even like chocolate chip cookies that much.  Don’t get me wrong, I still eat them, but I would much prefer snickerdoodle or peanut butter over plain old boring chocolate chip any day. These cookies aren’t plain old boring chocolate chip, though, which I was reminded when I made them for baby Harper’s doctors and nurses a couple weeks ago and everyone got really excited about them.

When my nephew was born last summer, he made his debut via a scheduled induction over a week after his due date.  Those post-due-date days of waiting impatiently gave me plenty of time to whip up a double batch of sugar cookie dough, roll out what felt like a million “onesie” cookies, bake them, frost them, decorate them, and freeze them.  I took them out of the freezer the morning my sister was induced, wrapped them all up in cellophane bags and tied them with blue ribbon, and delivered them to her hospital room about an hour after she was admitted.  While of course at the time she rolled her eyes, she appreciated me later when the anesthesiologist made several trips back to her room for more cookies, topping off her epidural each time.

Baby Harper didn’t give me enough time for royal icing, so these cookies were a perfect fall back plan.  She had given us a few signs that she might be early, so a couple weeks before her due date I made a batch of this dough, rolled the dough into balls, and froze them. And I’m so glad I did, because when my brother called me at 7 am on the day my sister-in-law hit 39 weeks to tell me they were heading to the hospital, all I had to do was pop them in the oven. So while they didn’t make it to the hospital quite in time for pre-birth special treatment, I’d like to think that the nurses took extra good care of her once she arrived.

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But I digress. What you’re probably more interested in is why these chocolate chip cookies are that much better than your average chocolate chip cookie. The blog post they originated from lists seven reasons – it explains them in greater detail than I will, but the cliffs notes version is: (1) mixture of cake and bread flours – not sure why but it seems to really make a difference; (2) chilling the dough; (3) room temperature ingredients; (4) size of cookie (the bigger the better!); (5) good quality chocolate; (6) salt (my favorite part by far); and (7) don’t overbake them. The recipe tells you to let all ingredients come to room temperature, and then once you’ve made the dough to let it rest in the fridge for 24-72 hours (ideally 36), and then still to wait to eat them until the day after you bake them….so if you’re going to follow all of those steps it really requires some planning.  I’ve done it that way and they are amazing, but I’ve also done it with eggs straight from the fridge and only a few hours of chilling and they still turn out delicious.

My only other note: I’ve had really good luck freezing these cookies, either baked or unbaked. If I’m going to freeze them unbaked, I let the dough chill in the fridge for as much time as I have – anywhere from 4 to 72 hours (I feel like I should do at least 4; the original recipe says 72 max) and then scoop it into balls and place the balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet as though I was going to bake them (I sprinkle the salt on at this point too). I freeze the salted dough on the cookie sheets until firm, and then place the frozen unbaked cookies in a freezer-safe storage bag. I’ll often make a batch when I’m bringing dinner to friends with a new baby, and I’ll bake a dozen to deliver ready to eat and then include a bag or two of frozen unbaked cookies for them to bake later – the gift that keeps on giving!

photo 1-8 photo-53 photo 2 Chocolate Chip Cookies, previously: oatmeal coconut, pumpkin, s’more

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, from For Me, For You via Cupcakes and Cashmere

Yield: 2-3 dozen cookies, depending upon size

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt, such as kosher
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli
Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk and set aside. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Using a standard-size ice cream scoop (or a large tablespoon), scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

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S’more Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Mackels'more cookie as part of an ice cream sandwich - doesn't that look light and healthy?

There’s a new hot spot in Seattle this summer: Hello Robin.  Seattle friends, have you been here yet? If not, you should probably go tonight.  It’s a concept I wish I had thought of myself: a gourmet bakery/cookie shop that also sells Molly Moon’s ice cream (there’s a Molly Moon’s walk-up window attached to the shop).  So although you could get a plain cookie or a plain cone (yawn), the idea is you pick two cookies and a flavor of ice cream and “make your own” ice cream sandwich. Brilliant, right?

I went with my cousin Christina a couple weeks ago, and having a much more adventurous palate (and a better metabolism) than I have, she created the above sandwich.  She was so excited about the “Mackles’more” cookie part (isn’t that name hilarious?) that I set out to make something similar myself.  And while I’m sure the Hello Robin version is way more gourmet (they use Theo chocolate, I used Hershey’s), these are super easy and dang good. 

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The cookie dough is the easy part. I used the recipe on the back of the Nestlé bag, but you could use whatever chocolate chip cookie recipe you like. I just used one and a half cups of chocolate chips and one and a half cups of marshmallows, for a total of three cups of “add ins” – the original recipe calls for two cups chocolate chips and one cup of nuts so I wanted to stick to three cups total. Mine turned out great, but you could definitely still use the full two cups of chocolate chips if you wanted to (although it would be a lot of chocolate with the Hershey bar on top). I’m not a huge nut-in-cookie person, but if you are, it would be fine to leave them in as well.

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The tricky part is how to bake them. Nestlé tells you to bake your cookies for 9-11 minutes, and I wanted mine on the under-done side, so I put the cookie dough balls on the graham cracker squares and set my timer for 9 minutes. When I took them out of the oven, the graham crackers were dark brown and toasty-looking and there was a faint burning smell. So, I decided to experiment with different baking times.

First, I baked the cookies without the graham crackers for 6 minutes. I then attempted to scoop them off the baking sheet and put them on the graham crackers and bake them together for the remaining 3 minutes. The problem was, at 6 minutes the cookies weren’t really cooked enough to stay in one piece when scooped up, especially as the marshmallow pieces tended to be really sticky. Most of the cookies survived, but it was messy. I tried again at 7 minutes – same issues, but slightly easier to pick up and reposition on the graham crackers. At this point I finally turned on my brain and remembered that even when you bake a cookie for the full amount of time, you still need to let them sit and “set up” for a couple minutes before you take them off the baking sheet. So for my fourth batch, I baked them for 7 minutes, took them out of the oven and let them sit for 2 minutes, scooped them up and put them on the graham crackers, and baked them for the remaining 2 minutes. They looked great, they didn’t make a huge mess when I scooped them up, and I felt really brilliant. And then ironically, Christina came over to taste test for me and what do you supposed her favorite version was? The original almost-burnt ones.  She said they tasted like a campfire – which I suppose is appropriate for s’mores. 

Taking a closer at the authentic Mackles’more pics, they look pretty toasty.  And if they’re making them in mass quantities, I doubt they’re stopping halfway through to scoop up half-baked cookies and put them onto graham crackers. Another bonus of cooking them for the entire time is that the graham crackers will stay crisp. So the next time I make these (which will be soon), I’ll go back to my original version (cookie dough on graham cracker from the beginning), but perhaps reduce the baking time for a minute, or bake them at 350 rather than 375.  Sorry for that way-too-detailed explanation, but I just wanted us all to be on the same page. Anyway….. 

Once the cookies are done and out of the oven (regardless of graham cracker baking time), immediately place a hershey piece and mini marshmallow in the center of the cookie. Serve warm – plain, or as part of an ice cream sandwich (if your metabolism is better than mine). 

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Chocolate chip cookies, previously: Oatmeal Coconut, Pumpkin 

Chocolate Chip S’more Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

For the Cookie Dough:*

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1.5 cups miniature marshmallows

*Note: I used the basic chocolate chip recipe on the back of the Nestlé Tollhouse bag, only scaling back the chocolate chips a bit, omitting the nuts, and adding the marshmallows. You could use any chocolate chip cookie recipe you like so long as you add the marshmallows.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer with paddle attachment) until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Gently stir in chocolate chips and marshmallows.

For the S’mores:

Graham crackers, each cracker broken into two halves (as you would do for a s’more)
Miniature marshmallows
Hershey bars (one bar for every dozen cookies)

To Bake: 

Roll dough into approximately one-inch/teaspoon sized balls. Place 12 graham cracker halves face up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and place cookie dough balls on top. Bake for 8-9 minutes (see detailed explanation, above). Remove tray from oven and before they cool too much (not longer than 1-2 minutes), gently press a hershey morsel and mini marshmallow into the warm cookie. Hershey piece will melt but will eventually re-harden, and both the chocolate and marshmallow will be set in the cookie.  Serve warm if possible (even putting them in a 200 degree oven for a couple minutes before serving will warm them up and melt the chocolate a little).

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Friday Faves

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{make your own ice cream sandwich at Hello Robin}

What are you up to this weekend? I’m heading to the coast for my cousin’s bachelorette party – we’re excited for some cooler beach temperatures after another sweltering week. And Baby Nephew Watch 2014 is officially ON – T minus one week to go.  I’m so excited I can hardly stay away from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale bear it. Doctor says he might be early, so next week’s Friday Faves could be all baby pics (don’t say I didn’t warn you)!! My poor sis is more than ready for him to make his debut, but I’m hoping he sits tight until at least Wednesday so that he’s a Leo (not that I particularly care about astrological signs, but I’ve bought him a LOT of lion stuff and I don’t want it to be for naught). 

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend. Links and faves to get you through your Friday morning (and the links even have a theme this week, I’m getting so fancy!):

  • How to grill anything and everything – so many helpful tips! 
  • How to make entertaining look easy – I would add “get yourself ready ahead of time.”  My aunt threw a dinner party this past Christmas and told me she told my uncle beforehand “our goal is to be sitting on the couch with a glass of wine half an hour before the guests arrive.” I’m usually still drying my hair when my guests arrive, but the thirty minute/wine/couch rule is now my goal too.
  • How to be the most popular person at a party – my friend Larisa brought these to a beach weekend a couple months ago and they were amazing! 
  • How to cure a headache – I need this! 
  • How to get really excited about this movie – ok this really isn’t a “how to” – but it does make me VERY excited for October 3rd!!  I hope you’ve all read the book – even if you hated the ending.  And if you haven’t read it yet, you have 2.5 months! 

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{my new summer obsession – stumptown cold brew}

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{love this organic lip/cheek color}

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{peaceful summer evening at the driving range}

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{some pics from my sister’s baby shower last month –  can you tell we were pretty into our alligator theme? invitations and banner from olive + star, alligator brownie toppers from etsy, DIY vases, cookie favors by yours truly, and cordy roy and his mini radio flyer from auntie/hostess Amanda}

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{and of course, my gift to baby p – hopefully he’s a baseball fan!}

My All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

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I was introduced to these cookies years ago, when our new neighbors brought them over as a “hello” gift (technically we should have been bringing cookies to them, but I guess we hadn’t gotten around to it yet). I’m not really a huge chocolate person, and thus not a huge chocolate chip cookie person. These cookies, however, also involve oatmeal, which I love – given the choice, as I often am at Starbucks, I would always opt for an oatmeal cookie over chocolate chip. They involve coconut, which is an unexpected surprise and adds a hint of tropical deliciousness (unless you don’t like coconut, in which case, what’s wrong with you? Also I think these cookies might change your mind). And lastly, they involve so much brown sugar that they taste almost caramel-y, which I think is really the best part. I can only make them as gifts, as to make them just to have them around the house would be to eat an entire batch of cookies in an embarrassingly short amount of time. But every time I make them, the recipient(s) inevitably ask me for the recipe, so I thought I’d share it now with all of you. They’re the perfect treat to bring to the hospital when your friend has a baby, as I did last week. They make a great addition to school lunches and care packages, so now is a good time to make them for new kindergarteners, anyone off to college, or anyone in between. And of course, if you need an excuse to meet your new neighbors – in the case of the original neighbor who brought us these, our families are friends to this day.

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One tip I learned awhile ago: always cream the butter and sugar(s) together for longer than you think you need to – 3 to 5 minutes seems like a long time, but it really does make a difference.

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Oatmeal + coconut + chocolate chips, yummmmmmm.

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I like to use an ice cream scoop to make (sort of) uniformly sized cookies.

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Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips (I usually use between half and three quarters of a package – you can use more or less depending upon how chip-heavy you like your cookies).
1 cup coconut (more or less, to taste)
1/2 cup oats (more or less, to taste)

Cream butter and sugars together for 3-5 minutes, until very light and fluffy.  Add egg.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture and blend until incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips, coconut and oats.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes (you may find your cookies need up to 18 minutes, depending on cookie size and/or your oven – that’s about how long mine usually take, but technically the recipe says 10-15). The cookies will keep cooking even after you take them out of the oven, so if you don’t want a super-crispy cookie, you can take them out when they still look slightly underdone.

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