Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This recipe and I go way back. When I first got into baking about 3 years ago, I had just started out on weight watchers. I was getting into cooking my own meals to be healthier, and then I discovered my love for baking. Pretty soon I wanted to bake perfect recipes, and I started with the chocolate chip cookie. For months I had tried different recipes, wanting a professional looking, thick and chewy cookie with plenty of chips and lots of flavor. I tried so many recipes: Nestlés, Mrs. Fields, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Taste of Home…the works. After much tail and error, I finally found my favorite blog the brown eyed baker, and I it was there that I saw her recipe for the most gorgeous, perfect-looking chocolate chip cookies!

20130506-195118.jpg I soon discovered that they were as good as they looked. I was ecstatic when the cookies came out of my oven, perfect looking, and even happier when I tasted them. Chock full of chocolate chips, caramely,
buttery. Thick, soft and chewy with a crackly outer layer. Perfection, if you ask me. The melted butter, egg yolk, and higher ratio of brown sugar to white all contribute to the soft, thick and chewy texture. Leaving them on the cookie sheet after taking them out a bit undercooked lets them continue to bake on the hot sheet, which further insures chewiness. Stacking the dough makes them thicker still. This recipe is very quick: no mixer or chilling required. You may also brown the butter if you wish, but maybe that’s just me:)

20130506-200430.jpg This was also the first recipe that I made from cooks illustrated, and I never turned back! This is my favorite quick chocolate chip cookie recipe; the search is over!

Notes:
You can make these huge (1/4 cup) or regular (2 tbsp) sized. Tearing the dough apart and leaving the rough edges facing up makes a craggily bakery appearance.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Ingredients:

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup (7 oz) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2-2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Heat oven to 325F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.

In medium bowl, combine butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Stir in chips.

Roll scant 1/4 cup or 2 tbsp of dough into a ball. Pull dough ball apart into two halves; join bases so the jagged surface is facing outwards. Place on prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

Bake on 2 middle racks of oven until cookies edges are brown but centers are puffy (it is important cookies are not all the way done), 15 to 18 minutes (12-15 for smaller cookies), rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on sheets (they will continue to bake on baking sheets).

Yield: 18 large or 24 medium cookies

Caramelized White Chocolate Cookies

20130415-154047.jpg Have you ever heard of caramelized white chocolate? I was bewildered when I came across it on thelittleloaf! Since I love all things caramelized and I adore white chocolate, this was a must try! Before I get any further, I know it sounds ridiculous. I mean, wouldn’t it seize up? Well yes it does, but you just have to stir it and it smoothes out again. What I did with the finished product was pour it onto some parchment, let it set, broke it into chunks and added it to one of the most amazing cookie doughs I’ve ever had.

20130417-115309.jpg The dough is made from my favorite quick chocolate chip cookie doughs from cooks illustrated that bakes up thick, chewy and professional looking. I made these with all brown sugar for extra caramel flavor, and browned the butter to make it more nutty and add depth of flavor. And because it’s browned butter 🙂 After adding the chunks of caramelized white chocolate it. was. ah-mazing!! Once I baked them (using a method of stacking the dough to make them thicker) they blew my mind. Have you ever had an oatmeal scotchie? You know, those cookies with the oats and butterscotch chips. These are like a more refined version. The caramelized white chocolate adds toastiness and the cookie dough is very caramely and soft.
I know that these look like a lot of work, and they are, but don’t let that deter you! They’re easy peasy if you make the chocolate the day before. You need this experience in your life!

Caramelized White Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from cooks illustrated

Ingredients:

2 cups plus 2 tbsp (10 5/8 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
11 oz white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli chips)

Directions:

To caramelize the white chocolate, place it in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Stir constantly. When chocolate seizes, take off heat, stir until smooth, and return skillet to burner. Continue this process for about 45 minutes, stirring all the while, until it’s a medium caramel color:

20130417-122800.jpg Pour onto sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Let set and break into chunks.

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a small saucepan or skillet, heat butter on medium to high heat (depending on how fast you want your butter to brown). After butter begins to foam, stir until it is a golden brown color and smells nutty and wonderful. Take off heat and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat sugar and browned butter (make sure to add the brown bits) until smooth. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined. On low, add the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chunks (you will have some left over).

Using a muffin scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop dough and roll into balls. Tear balls in half, turn ragged edges to face top and bottom and press together:

20130417-124425.jpg Space cookies 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-18 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time, until light golden brown and puffy. Cookies will not appear to be done, but they will continue to bake on cookie sheet. Cool cookies on sheet; remove cookies to counter. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

Yield: 12-18 cookies

Note: To give them a more professional look, halfway through baking time press
the extra chocolate chunks on top of cookies.

Shortbread cookies (GF)

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So let’s get down to things: I’m really sick. It’s miserable.
Mostly because of the seizures. Yup…ugh. Ok I’m done sulking:) But seriously, I’m going somewhere with this! Since I’ve been sick (for like EVER!!) I haven’t done a lot of baking. So my sister (beautiful, gorgeous and kind…repetitive?? Nah;) made these for me. Gluten free. Twice. Because they’re so good and my sister is better than yours. (I think I feel more feisty at 3am;)

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Anyhoo, these cookies are amazing! They’re stable–not too crumbly (a miracle for GF shortbread!), vanilla scented, melt in your mouth, warm your soul cookies. Did I mention that they melt in your mouth?! my favorite part:) Plus, (aside from being gluten free and wonderful) they’re infinitely customizable! Want Linzer cookies? Cut a hole in the middle, sandwich with preserves and top with powdered sugar. Cut outs? Roll with a bit of GF flour and cut away, topping with frosting. Chocolate chip shortbread? Add mini chocolate chips (duh). Chinese almond cookies? Add almond extract and top with an almond. You could even make a version of samoas Girl Scout cookies! Yum. Oh, and of course you could always use all purpose flour and leave out the xanthan gum for a gluten version. Whatever you do, do yourself and someone you love a favor and make these!

GF Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from Argo Cornstarch

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups gluten free flour mix (I prefer King Arthur Flour)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300ºF.

Mix butter, brown sugar and vanilla using electric mixer until creamy. In medium bowl combine flour, xanthan gum and cornstarch. Add to the sugar mixture on low speed.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Pour tablespoon of sugar on a small plate; dip bottom of drinking glass in sugar and gently press down on each cookie to flatten.

Bake cookies for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown.

Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool; enjoy with a cup of tea.

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Note: if you want shortbread slices, knead dough until smooth (about 2 min)
and shape into an 8×11″ rectangle. Slice off 2×1″ cookies and bake as directed above.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (GF)

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So today let’s talk comfort. Everybody knows that winter is sick season, and man. I got it baaaad. Suffice it to say that I have had to ask people to bring me my food. For a month. Yup. So naturally this has to be a comforting recipe, for all of you sick people out there, or just for those of you who are needing a bit of love. Or for anyone who likes cookies. Really, you can’t go wrong.

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When I was growing up (ok, if you want to get technical I still am) my mom never made oatmeal raisin cookies, because she didn’t like them. She said that it was disappointing biting into a cookie thinking it was chocolate chip but tasting a raisin. So naturally never having tasted a homemade oatmeal raisin cookie made me curious, so I made my own. On the first try, they were good, but not great. They had great flavor, but were more like lumps than beautiful cookies. So I tried again, making a gluten free version with all oat flour, but I had to flatten them quite a bit and they turned pretty hard when cooled. On the third try, my mom actually made them for me (thanks mommy!) but she was wise and let the toasted oats cool before adding them to the butter mixture….oops.

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This batch turned out perfectly! To make these you toast 6 cups of oats (I know!!) to bring out the flavor, and blend half of them into flour, thus making the cookies both gluten free and more awesome. You add just a touch of nutmeg (my favorite part) to bring out the flavor, and I found that it gives them a certain tangy flavor. Oh, and I added vanilla to the recipe, because It’s delicious. And its a must.
Thick and chewy with a crisp outside, these cookies are sweet, toasty, and just warm you up like a hug:) I’m so glad I tried these! Go bake up some comfort!!

Oatmeal Raisin cookies (GF)

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated and Alton Brown

Ingredients:

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
Scant 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups raisins

Directions:

Heat the oven to 375F. Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, spread with oats, bake for 20 minutes until toasted, stirring every 5-7 minutes.
Let cool (important!). Reduce oven temperature to 350F.

Blend half of oats (3 cups) in blender or food processor for about 3 minutes until its a smooth flour. Pour all of the flour minus 1/3 cup into a medium bowl. Set remaining oats aside.

Whisk baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt into oat flour; set aside.

Using mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat eggs in one at a time.

Stir the dry ingredients into butter mixture on low speed. Stir in reserved oats and raisins.

Roll 2 tbsp of dough at a time and place 2 in” apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten very slightly.

Bake cookies until edges turn golden brown, 10 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Let cookies cool on sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. Let cool (or eat warm!).

Yield: 24 cookies (and a warm tummy:)

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Flourless Coconut Fudge Cookies (GF)

20130127-165519.jpgWell, it’s been a long time guys. All I can say is that life happens. School is in full blast, I am no longer allowed to eat any gluten, and soon no dairy. Yup. But in the meantime, here are some cookies that will knock your socks off (guaranteed), and meet everyone’s gluten free needs! And now to have delicious, super fudgy, gluten free cookies, you probably don’t even need to run to the store. All basic ingredients for one fabulous cookie.

20130127-170143.jpgNow that’s not to say that I’d make these just because they’re gluten free and convenient and incredibly easy. I make these because they are fudgy. They are full of dark chocolate. Not to mention the chocolate chips and the toasted coconut. They are truly a winner. But lets talk fudge for a minute. I love fudgy things. Not goopy, undercooked, cakey, gooey, or any other abominations trying to pass for my favorite texture. But these, my friends, have the perfect, fudgy consistency. Perfect. They are also great after algebra, another reason to get in the kitchen!

Note: you can leave out the coconut and the chocolate chips, just use one less egg white.

Flourless Coconut Fudge Cookies (GF)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup (3 oz) dark cocoa powder
4 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease with cooking spray.

Stir together all ingredients until smooth. Dough should be like thick batter.

Drop dough by a tablespoon or a medium cookie scoop onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly.

Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes, turning halfway through baking time.
They should have shiny, crackly tops.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool on baking sheet.

Yield: 16 cookies.

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

20121121-183513.jpg First of all, I am so sorry that it took me so long to write a new post! Secondly, forgive me for not being a good blogger and posting an easy, healthy recipe after all of that food on Thursday. But I assure you, once you make these, you will see the reason why I needed to post these. The cookies themselves are moist and slightly crisp on the outside, while the flavor is warm and slightly spicy, with that fabulous pumpkin flavor.

20121125-162933.jpgThen you make the icing. And I mean, THE icing. Like, the only icing I should have ever made in my life. Like, this stuff will convert you into a brown butter lover like nothing else will. Seriously, good stuff. Anyways, it’s rich, nutty, and it melts in your mouth. That’s all I can say.

20121215-232142.jpgAnd then, you combine the two, and wow. It’s almost literally the icing on the cake. The Romeo to Juliet. The peanut butter to jelly. Ok I’ll stop, but you get the picture. The textures, the flavors, they meld perfectly into one amazing cookie. Aaaand, as if that weren’t enough, they’re pretty quick and easy! Just mix, scoop, bake, and spread! Hello holiday baking! I can’t stop using exclamation points!

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Adapted From Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

For Cookies:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs,
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin purée
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla extract

For Icing:

4 cups powdered sugar
10 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp half-and-half
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

To make cookies:
Heat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In medium bowl, whisk together first 8 ingredients; set aside.

In bowl of mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs until combined. Reduce speed to low; add the pumpkin, half-and-half and vanilla. Beat until well blended, about 2 min. Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Scoop 2 tbsp of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies spring back when lightly pressed. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 5 min. Remove cookies to rack and cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter.

To make icing:
Add powdered sugar to medium bowl. Melt butter in small saucepan over high heat. Continue cooking, swirling pan occasionally, until the butter becomes golden brown and smells nutty (watch carefully). Remove from heat and add to powdered sugar. Add half-and-half and vanilla, stir until smooth. Spread icing on cookies (Stir icing to restore fluidity).

Yield: 24 cookies

Chocolate Almond Fudge Cookies

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Soooo, I have a little story to tell. The day that I made these cookies, I was planning to bring them somewhere and make a lot of people very happy. But, right before I put them into the oven, I find out that the oven won’t turn on. Nothing. So I despair, and go to my event empty handed. The next morning, whatcha know! The oven turns on! I was advised to take advantage of it while it was still working, so I baked me some cookies. First thing in the morning… best. morning. ever!

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I usually don’t like nuts in my cookies or brownies, but the slices of almonds weren’t too crunchy or disrupting, but they added a pleasant balance of textures. I was a little skeptic
about adding cinnamon to the nuts as they were toasting, but I stuck with it. Surprisingly, it was one of my favorite parts! The cinnamon, slight as the addition was, enhanced the flavor of the almonds, and added a wonderful warm toastiness.

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When I say chocolate almond fudge cookies, I mean it! The texture of the cookies, when first bitten into, is slightly crisp and crackly on the outside, and then…the fudginess. Soft but slightly chewy, with melty bits if chocolate and toasted almonds. The taste is amazing, to say the least. The warm, rich chocolate, the toasted almonds, with almond flavor throughout thanks to a few drops of almond extract. I suggest that you make these cookies as soon as possible, and enjoy them while they last!!

Chocolate Almond Fudge Cookies

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup (5.25 oz) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (5.25 oz) brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp almond extract
2 cups (10 oz) flour
1/2 cup (1.5 oz) cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant coffee powder, optional
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup (2 oz) sliced almonds
1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips

Combine almonds and cinnamon in a medium saucepan and toast over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant.

In bowl of mixer, cream butter and both sugars on medium speed until fluffy (about 3 min). Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract and stir to combine. Add flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using), baking soda and salt and mix until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and almonds. Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Roll dough into 2 tbsp sized balls and set on prepared baking sheet.

Bake on middle oven rack for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through baking time, let sit on sheets 2 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack; cool completely.

Yield: 24 cookies