Aren’t chocolate chip cookies the most basic of all cookies? I feel like almost everyone starts off their baking journey with chocolate chip cookies. But as with most things that are simple, mastering the perfect cookie is more difficult than you think. Everyone has their preference to a perfect chocolate chip cookie. If I had to describe mine, it would be crisp on the edges yet chewy in the middle with puddles of just melted chocolate and a healthy dose of salt to balance it out.
For as long as I’ve been baking, I’ve tried endless recipes of chocolate chip cookies. Starting from the cornerstone of all chocolate chip cookies, the original Nestle Toll House cookie (which always makes me think of that episode in Friends where Monica tries to figure out Phoebe’s grandmother’s cookie recipe) to the complicated Jacque Torres’s secret recipe (also known as the New York Times’ chocolate chip cookie) that uses two kinds of flour, two kinds of sugar and has a resting time of 24 hours. They were all good (because let’s face it, how can you go wrong with sugar, flour, butter and chocolate?), but not what I was looking for. They were too puffy, too chewy, too sweet, too flat, too crispy or too time consuming. I felt a lot like Goldilocks.
So I did what any picky person would do and came up with my own browned butter chocolate chip cookie recipe, which is the base of my chocolate chip marshmallow cookie cake and it has been my staple for a solid 5 years. It was complex, chewy, quick and delicious.
But when I saw Deb of Smitten Kitchen’s post for chocolate chunk cookies, I broke down and had to try it. There was nothing that was stopping me from making those cookies. I didn’t care that it used THREE kinds of sugar, and that I had to chop up a huge bar of chocolate (which btw, is one of the things I hate doing and yes, you have to chop it up, chocolate chips are not the same thing). I just knew I had to make it.
Well, I found it. The MOST PERFECT chocolate chip cookie EVER. I’m done. I’ve reached cookie Nirvana. Crisp on the outside? Check. Chewy in the middle? Check. Puddles of chocolate? Check. One bowl? Check. Not too sweet? Check. Salted? Check. Your search for the perfect chocolate chunk cookie is over. You’re welcome.
Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. turbinado sugar (aka sugar in the raw)
¾ c. plus 2 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fine sea salt, heaped
1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
½ lb. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Maldon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 360˚F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, granulated, turbinado and light brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add egg and vanilla extract until thoroughly mixed.
- Fold in baking soda, sea salt, flour, and chocolate chunks.
- Using either a cookie scoop or spoons, dollop 1 ½ tbsp. of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets.
- Sprinkle maldon salt over the mounds of cookie dough.
- Bake 9-11 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
- Cool 10 minutes before eating.
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
The weather is finally turning warm! Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and pollen is flying… I’m lucky enough to not have seasonal allergies, but I am sure many of you are suffering from it. It might be best to just stay in and make this milk jam. Making this milk jam (or dulce de leche) is so ridiculously easy, I don’t know if I should even write a recipe for it. It uses two ingredients: sweetened condensed milk and fleur de sel. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that my devotion to sweetened condensed milk borders on idolatry. I believe that anything with sweetened condensed milk is delicious and so many tasty things are born from it. Banana pudding, Thai iced tea, flan, tres leches cake, even my favorite recipe for pumpkin pie has sweetened condensed milk in it. If you’ve never had it, you must try it. It is life changing.
I can’t say dulce de leche is very close to a caramel because it has a distinctively different taste from it. I would say that it is more complex instead of the bold one note sweetness you get from caramel. The traditional way would be to boil down a lot of milk and sugar for many hours and constantly stir it until you get your desired shade of brown. The method I used is a shortcut. You take a can of sweetened condensed milk, put it in a pot of water and keep it at a gentle simmer for 2-3 hours. Cool. Open. Enjoy. Top liberally with fleur de sel if desired. (You know, if you’re into that sweet-salty thing. Let’s face it though, who isn’t?)
The layer of the light colored dulce de leche is a mistake that I made. When I say gentle simmer, I mean simmer. I was scared about simmering too strongly so I kept it at a bare simmer for two hours. When I opened the jar, it was too pale to be called dulce de leche yet too dark to still be considered sweetened condensed milk. Don’t be like me. Put the pedal to the metal.You can use dulce de leche on so many things. You can top ice cream, or pound cake or toast or crackers. You can also use it to fill a cake, sandwich in between cookies (alfajores!!) or macarons, or my favorite, eat it straight out of the jar, with a spoon. Seriously, the possibilities are endless! Or if you are feeling especially kind, you can also put them in little mason jars and gift them.
Salted Milk Jam
1 can sweetened condensed milk
fleur de sel (optional, but recommended)
water (for submerging can in water)
- Remove the label off of the can of sweetened condensed milk.
- Place can in a large pot and fill pot with water, making sure the can is completely submerged. (At least 2 inches above the can.)
- Heat pot until water is simmers. Simmer can for 1½ hours, making sure that the water level does not fall below 1 inch above the can.
- Turn can upside down, simmer for another 1 – 1½ hours. Continue to monitor the water level, making sure the can is completely submereged.
- Remove can from water and let cool.
- Open can, top liberally with fleur de sel. Add salt to taste, pending on how much of a salty –sweet contrast you like.
I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw I had some good eats during my weekend. I know many of you are on diet mode for the upcoming swimsuit season and I’m sorry to do this to you, but you must make these cookies, especially if you love salty/sweet desserts.
What makes this cookie so great is the sum of its parts. First, you have the moist chocolate cookie base. The secret to having it so deliciously soft is by under baking it. 10 minutes! No more! Second, you have the cocoa nibs that cut the sweetness and have a satisfying crunch. Think of it as a more cocoa-y nut alternative. Third, you have the perfectly melted caramel center. Personally, I love caramel and you can use regular caramels instead of Rolos. However Rolos have the chocolate coating that enhances it.
Finally, the sprinkling of Maldon salt finishes the balance of the cookie. Some of the delicate flakes melt into the cookie fusing their salty goodness while the larger chunks withstand the heat and sparkle when you take them out.
The recipe makes 12 large cookies. You can easily double it, but I kept my body conscious readers in mind as I baked this. It’s definitely not healthy food, but as the saying goes, “a balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”.
Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel Cookies
Makes 12 large cookies
4 oz. butter, room temperature
½ c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 c. all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
¾ c. cocoa nibs
12 Rolos, unwrapped
Maldon sea salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until lighter in color and fluffy.
- Add egg and vanilla on medium speed and mix until glossy.
- Add cocoa and mix until homogeneous.
- Change the speed to low and add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Fold in cocoa nibs.
- Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour. This step will make it easier for you to roll the cookies.
- Preheat oven to 350˚F and line large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Form two, 1 tablespoon balls of cookie dough.
- Sandwich a Rolo in between the two balls of cookie dough and completely encase the Rolo by rolling it around in your hand.
- Repeat steps 8 and 9 until all of the dough and Rolos are used.
- Sprinkle Maldon salt over the tops of cookie dough balls.
- Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan 180˚ halfway.
- Let cool and enjoy.