Tag Archives: baking

Salt, chocolate, butter

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Lately I’ve been focusing on treasuring the small moments and not worrying so much about all the to-do’s. A demanding job means I don’t have time to get everything done. I’m a person that always has a list and loves crossing things off of it. My new schedule is teaching me to be easier on myself, and more reasonable about what’s possible and what’s important.

Some things that have been making me happy lately: coffee dates and Friday night dinners with my husband, just the two of us; salted chocolate chip cookies; sleeping in until 8am on a Saturday. I hope you’re all taking time to enjoy the little stuff.

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from the New York Times recipe by Jaques Torres. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen small cookies.

3 2/3 cups (16.1) ounces of all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (natural, not artificial)
1 1/4 pounds semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea salt

1. Whisk flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just barely combined. Don’t overmix. Mix in chocolate. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 12-36 hours. Dough can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, create golf-ball sized balls and place onto baking sheet. Sprinkle raw dough lightly with salt and bake until lightly golden brown, about 12 minutes (depending on your oven – it’s always best to underbake a bit because the cookies will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven). Let cookies sit on the warm baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough. The dough also freezes well; just increase the baking time by about 4 minutes if frozen.

Snickerdoodles

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It has taken two-and-a-half years of living in coastal California to realize that I miss seasons. I even miss winter a little bit. I can’t believe I just said that. But in a way, it’s true. I miss the sense of impending change, of time passing in increments. Living in a place with no seasons starts to feel a bit like Groundhog Day sometimes. It’s predictable.

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We’ve gotten some unseasonably cool weather for October lately (our Octobers are supposed to be our summer) but I’ve really enjoyed it. It feels like fall. I’ve been listening to a lot of Louis Armstrong and Etta James and thinking about cinnamon and pumpkin-flavored things.

So I made snickerdoodle cookies for the first time. I don’t know why I’ve waited so long; they are incredibly easy to make and so (I mean SO) delicious. Still warm from the oven, they’re like a piece of cinnamon sugar toast. I highly recommend them eaten while cozied up on the couch, watching a movie.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Recipe adapted from this one. Makes about 3 dozen medium-sized cookies. The secret ingredient is the extra sprinkle of coarse salt. Don’t forget it; it really makes these cookies spectacular.

1/4 cup granulated sugar (for cinnamon-sugar topping)

1 1/2 T cinnamon

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 large eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt plus some extra for sprinkling

Coarse sea salt (kosher or fleur de sel)

In a shallow bowl, whisk 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon together. Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each one. Add in vanilla and beat until well-mixed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, just until combined.

Using your hands, divide the dough into small balls (about the size of golf balls) and roll each one in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until fully covered. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place balls on a cookie sheet and top each cookie with a healthy pinch of coarse salt. Bake each batch for about 10 minutes or until the tops have cracked but are not overly golden brown. Do not over-bake. Store all remaining dough in a resealable container; sprinkle with salt right before you bake. You can keep the raw dough refrigerated for up to one week.