Chocolate Chip Cookies

A repost and an anniversary of sorts!

I got a text from a close friend that just said she was coming by to make chocolate chip cookies. No reason other than just “it’s a long story”. It ended up being for one of those great “I win” moments in a relationship when someone presents you with “the best” of something and it ends up being sort of unmemorable. Then you get this smirk on your face as your mind starts going and you know you can do better or know someone whose is better. Being almost as competitive as my friend is, I was all for this cookie competition.

It also happens to be just over a year since my old oven broke and was replaced with the new one I have now. The first test of my new oven involved this classic cookie so it is very fitting (and freakish coincidence) that I’m making them again. Oh what a pain that was, to get a new oven through our apartment’s management company. Just getting it installed and working correctly was a day full of phone calls and complaints and some frustration on the part of the guy who finally hooked it up. I made these for my husband and also a thank you to my building manager who had to put up with me calling him and nagging about the stove more times than should have been necessary.

These are really good cookies but wow did I have some problems with consistency yesterday. Every time I bake a recipe that uses U.S. customary units I have such inconsistent results that I’m disappointed and irritated until I make them right. Thankfully I remembered the advice of all great pastry chefs and I busted out my kitchen scale and weighed my ingredients this time and officially converted my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe to metric. It makes a such a huge difference and results in the perfect cookie every time. Some day I will write a post singing the praises of using a kitchen scale like this one for baking, but in the mean time I hope you give it a try. You will be very pleased with the consistant results you get and how much sense it makes to weigh dry ingredients (and sometimes wet, like egg whites) rather than measure by volume.

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Polvorónes

Until recently I had no idea what a snickerdoodle was.  Thanks to the power of Google I found a recipe that had a high rating, and over 1,000 reviews of it on a site that had ‘all’ kinds of ‘recipes’.  I figured why not give it a try, and honestly I have never been more disappointed by a cookie in my life.  It was just so basic, it had no depth and the flavors were bland bland bland. To me it had no reason to have that many positive reviews.  I was determined to make it better.

I started thinking back to when my family would take road trips in the summer. During our trip we would always stop at this restaurant in Yakima, WA that had the best barbacoa tacos and these cookies!  Oh man these cookies were amazing!  We would get like a dozen of these heart-shaped cookies with a fine cinnamon and sugar-coating.  It was the texture that really made them stand out to me.   It is so rich and crumbly, yet very delicate.  It wasn’t really overly sweet and had a nutty flavor that still stands out to me.

It took a bit of research and trial and error.  Ok, mostly it was me swearing while I threw batches in the trash, but I finally had the perfect cookie!  When the winning batch came out of the oven I was so excited to share them with everyone, but mostly my husband who never had one.   He had only had snickerdoodles which I vow to never make those horrible little disks of fake flavor again.

It only took one bite of this cookie to take me right back to the long car trips to Colorado.  Me and my brother fighting over  who’s on who’s side while my mom drove and grandma sat in the passenger seat doing cross-word puzzles.  It made me happy and sad all at the same time, and made me realize that I miss my family.   I am going to keep these cookies as a tradition when I get a family to make and take on road trips, and when I finally get back out to Seattle, I am going to make these for my mom and brother.

Since I have gotten so used to doing all my recipes in metric now, I love it.   It makes them so much more consistent each time you make them, but also very easy to remember.  This cookie recipe I made to be very simple and easily halved or doubled easily.  I added both imperial and metric in the recipe.  That way you can decide which way to go, since it is just very minor differences that really are off by just grams.  I also of course used a heart shape cookie cutter because that is the shape they were when we would by them so that is more for nostalgia then anything.  You can use any cookie cutter you want, but the cookie should still be fairly thick.

I wish I could express to you how happy these cookies make me.  Because of the memories it brings with each flavorful bite, but how just great the recipe turned out.  If you like snickerdoodles, or just the flavor combination of cinnamon and sugar, make these.  Make them, make them right away.  They are better than any snickerdoodle you have ever had in your life, and you will never go back to your old recipe. Enjoy!

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Milano Cookie

I am quite a big fan of the milano cookies you find in the white paper bags in the grocery store. I am not however a fan of paying for their asking price. So, armed with my whisk, a bar of chocolate and a carton of eggs I set off on an adventure. My kitchen adventure had it’s up and downs, and I am not going to say it was easy because it wasn’t. I had a lot of trial and errors, more errors then I really wanted actually. I was feeling ‘off’ and it showed in my cooking. Biggest lesson learned, if you feel not your self stay out of the kitchen, it shows in your food.

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Spiced Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I wanted to give these cookies a try. I have not made these cookies in probably 20 years. They are almost like a brownie. There is so much chocolate flavor and amazingly rich yet just so different at the same time. With things I have learned about textures, and spices I added my own little touch to these cookies. A good quality cocoa powder is key to letting the cinnamon and cayenne do their job to the fullest. They don’t stand out as much as just enhance the flavor of the cocoa. Making the cookie just fantastic. It was like bitting into to chocolate happiness. The outside was firm with a sweet slight crunch when you bite, and the inside was soft and chewy. The flavor was just, wow. Frank bit into one and “oh wow… wow, yeah you have to make these again,” a good sign of success I feel.

Now that I have been rewriting all of my recipes down to a more realistic size, meaning only making a dozen or less cookies or half dozen cupcakes. I am having so much more fun. The biggest advantage is making less, means I can make more types. How can that be bad? Think about all those times when you want to have that fresh homemade cookie, but you do not want to make 2-4 dozen of them. This way you make a small batch, for just a few people or just you. They will last around 2 weeks in an air tight container, but good luck seeing them last that long. I am sure these will not last until morning.

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Mocha Almond Shortbread Bars

I love shortbread cookies, and with a cup of  tea it’s is so perfection. I ran across these at a local cafe and eatery in uptown(Gigi’s). They were so amazing! I ordered this huge bar of this coffee shortbread cookie with almond slivers and chocolate chips pressed in it was just crumbly buttery bliss, and just over halfway through I realized I was supposed to share with my husband.

A few months ago I sent a batch to my Aunt Maria, she said they were very good and was going to be sharing with my other aunts when they were stopping by the coming weekend, I never got the result but I hope it was good. I knew they were a success because my husband was trying to eat them as I was putting them in the tuperware to send. The recipe is basic, simple and quick. What else could you want in a cookie? Oh, chocolate? Yep! It has that too.

Mocha Almond Shortbread Bars

  • 1 c Unsalted Butter, room tempature
  • 2/3 c Frosting Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1 tbsp Espresso Powder
  • 1 tbsp Water, boiling hot
  • 1/8 cup Chocolate Chips, finely chopped
  • 2 c Unbleached Flour
  • 1/3 c Slivered Almonds, crushed
  • 1/3 c Chocolate Chips

In a 9×13 pan. Line with a 20″x9″ piece of wax paper so it forms a type of tray so you can lift the bars out of the pan when finished cooking.

In a stand mixer on medium cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.   In a small cup combine the vanilla and almond extract, espresso powder, and boiling water.  Stir until the powder has dissolved.  With the mixer on medium speed add to the butter mixture until well combined.

Turn mixer down to low and add in the flour until well combined. The dough will be soft and sticky similar to sugar cookie dough. Fold in the finely chopped chocolate chips into the moist dough. Turn it out into the prepared pan and press down pushing into the corners of the pan. When the dough is leveled sprinkle the almonds and other portion chocolate chips on to the dough and gently press down into the dough to secure.

Cover and place pan into the fridge for 1 hour.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350°F

Bake for 18-20 min until edges are lightly browned and center is firm to the touch.

Cool for 30 min remove from pan by lifting the ends of the wax paper and place on a cutting board. Cut into 12 bars and store in air tight container for upto two weeks.

Adapted: Annie’s Eats