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Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day is the first book from Tara O'Brady, the culinary and photography mastermind behind the Seven Spoons blog. Her recipes are delicious, wholesome and totally inventive. Tara's voice shines through in every recipe, which makes reading the book a complete joy. All the recipes we've made have been winners for every member of our family.
Tara graciously shared this fantastic recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies with us — give it a try and be sure to check out Seven Spoons.
My obsession with
baking chocolate chip cookies started in high school. The recipe resulting from
those years of study is one that I've pared back as best I can—there is no need
for a mixer, or to get the eggs and butter out of the fridge in advance. With
it, it is possible to go from start to cookies in 30 minutes, with little by
way of cleaning up.
Even if these
cookies required a rigmarole, they'd be worth it. They stay in fattish mounds,
with their humped backs shot through with crackles, fudgy without being
underbaked, and with a sweetness kept in line by salt.
This recipe works
best with bar chocolate that has been chopped, pure chocolate buttons, callets,
or fèves. Because they lack the stabilizers used in chocolate chips, these
forms of chocolate ooze into the batter during baking, slipping into the cracks
and leaving both puddles and rivulets throughout the finished cookies. The
irregularity is exceptionally pretty and, in a way, gives the impression the
chocolate goes further.
If you have the patience, hold the dough in the fridge overnight
and for up to a few days before baking, portioned in scoops and covered. Aging
the dough allows for the flour to better absorb the liquids. The flavor will
become deeply caramelized and nuanced, and the cookies will have more color,
but slightly less spread. I usually bake one tray for immediate gratification,
and keep the rest for later demand.
RECIPE: Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 38 cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, chopped
3¼cups all-purpose flour
1¼teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½cups packed light
½cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Flaky sea salt, for
Preheat an oven to
360°F. Line 2 heavy baking sheets or sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a medium
saucepan over the lowest heat possible, melt the butter. There should be no
sizzle, crackling, or pops; let the butter ooze into liquid, without boiling,
so minimal moisture is lost. Stir regularly, until the butter is almost
completely melted. (This is a good time to chop the chocolate.)
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda,
and kosher salt. Set aside.
Pour the melted
butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars. The mixture may look like it
will seize, but it will relax with a few seconds of stirring. Add the eggs, one
at a time, whisking briskly after each addition, but only to combine. Stir in
the vanilla. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry
ingredients. Once mostly blended, fold the chocolate into the dough until the
remaining flour is incorporated, and the dough no longer looks dusty. Bring any
stray ingredients up from the bottom of the bowl. Do not overmix.
If the dough seems
warm or looks overly glossy, refrigerate for 5 minutes. Then roll into balls
using 3 tablespoons of dough for each. Arrange on the prepared pans, leaving 3
inches in between each. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until the tops
are cracked and lightly golden, yet the cookies are still soft at the center,
10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. Leave the cookies
on the sheet pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Continue
shaping and baking cookies with the remaining dough, making sure to use a cold
sheet pan for each batch.
The cookies can be
kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Thin and Crunchy Variation: For
a thinner, crunchy-through-and-through cookie, use 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour.
Shiny and Crisp Variation: For
a shinier cookie with a crisp surface and edge, decrease the brown sugar to 1¼
cups packed light brown sugar and increase the granulated sugar to ¾
cup (150 g).
Whole Wheat Variation: Some
or all of the all-purpose flour can be replaced with whole wheat or rye. It
will, of course, change the texture and look of the finished cookie, but is
worthy of a try.
Nutty Variation: This amount of dough can accommodate ¾ cup chopped
walnuts or pecans.
NOTE: I prefer baking batches one tray at a time, but two pans can be
baked together, one on a rack in the upper third, and one in the lower. Rotate
the pans from top to bottom and front to back once while baking.
To make ahead, shape the
dough in scoops or logs, wrap tightly, then seal in bags, and keep in the
freezer for up to 3 months. Frozen scoops can be baked without defrosting,
while logs should be held in the fridge until soft enough to slice. Reduce the
oven temperature to 330°F and increase the baking time as needed.