Updated: THE Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Many moons ago I made this Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe that I had seen so many bloggers and articles raving about. It was consistently called the “best chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever have”. I mean, that is a serious thing to say, but it is true, so I felt it was my duty to share these again with you.

Since that post a year and a half ago (woah, let’s not talk about that), I have made this recipe more times than I can count. If we’re being honest, at least once a month and I’m not sick of them.

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One of the great things about the recipe is that it makes a lot of dough. For the best results, you’re supposed to let the dough sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours to let the flavors meld. Truthfully speaking, you can bake them straight out of the mixer and they’re pretty darn tasty, but I really shouldn’t tell you this because there definitely is a flavor difference in those 24 hours.

Typically, I will bake a dozen right away, because honestly who can wait? Then I let the rest hang out in the fridge or freezer until Iget a text from my mother saying she’s run out of her secret frozen stock of this cookie dough, and off they go.

The key to the perfect chocolate chip cookies…here it goes…is not using chocolate chips.

Oh, and that sea salt….mmm salt.

To get the gooey, melty, smooth chocolate inside your cookies, you must use a bar of chocolate. Chocolate chips have stabilizers in it that are there to keep it’s perfect little chip shape. So they may be good for some cookies, but if you want a cookie like the one below…buy a big Pound Plus bar of chocolate from Trader Joe’s and get to chopping.


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Happy Holiday’s!

Madeline

Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes Dipped in Dark Chocolate Ganache

Everyone has their own opinions on where is the best place to get a great cupcake here in LA. Some people say Sprinkles, others say Magnolia, maybe Susie Cakes, I could keep listing them but you won’t believe where I’ve found a great cupcake. Recently, I caved when I walked past the dessert section of Trader Joe’s and snuck a 4 pack of these Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with a Peanut Butter Filling into the cart. Normally, I do not participate in store bought cookies, cakes, or any dessert for that matter. I know that I will generally still uphold this rule, but I now have a MAJOR exception for these cupcakes.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

Trader Joe’s made the best cupcake that I have had in months. I KNOW. It’s absolutely absurd. Totally insane. You’re probably asking yourself how many drinks I had before tasting this cupcake, but no alcohol was involved.

The problem with so many cupcake shops is that the cake is boring and the frosting is overly sweet to try and balance it out.

These cupcakes are the perfect balance of a great cake and instead of a sugary frosting, it has a dark chocolate ganache instead which is so rich and delicious. Oh, and don’t forget this peanut butter filling which is basically slightly sweetened peanut butter, A.K.A Heaven.

Like the rest of the desserts I see in stores, I said to myself “I have to remake this”, and oh did I.

TNB Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

There are no more words. This is THE cupcake.

TNB Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled CupcakesI know…

 

Salted Pretzel Slim Peanut Butter Bites

Sometimes I am genuinely worried that I have a sugar addiction. I think that is a thing, right? But if it is a thing, I really just don’t want to know.

I try and not let myself think about this for too long of a period of time because then I start thinking crazy things like “hey, maybe you should start making sauteed vegetables as a late night snack instead of 8 oreos”…..sigh…

During an average day, I must consume a ridiculous amount of sugar because when I eat healthy for a day I get these crazy sugar cravings. And when I say crazy…I’m talking wait until everyone is sleeping and take 6 cupcakes into my room, close the door and devour.

But that’s normal!

And if you’re normal addicted to sugar like me, then you’ll enjoy these little pretzel bites. They’re the perfect grab-and-run-away salty sugar fix.

Oh, and better yet, you don’t have to turn the oven on! I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been 95+ degrees for the past 2 weeks, hitting up to 106 a few days. So the thought of turning the oven on has been a little horrifying.

 

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies {The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies…Ever}

The apartment searching has officially started, and I am starting to realize that Thursday Night Baking is going to be experience some serious lifestyle changes coming up in September. I have been so spoiled by having the kitchen to myself with tons of cabinet and counter space, a nice oven with a window, gas stove top…sighhhh I’m sorry that I have not appreciated you fully you lovely kitchen, you. ::bows down to oven::

I say this because the kitchen in the apartment that my friends and I are currently looking at is well…not ideal to say the least  better than the place that we almost got when I stated writing this post! High fives all around for gas stove top! Even though the kitchen space will be reduced to about an 1/8th of what I’m working in now, I won’t be letting that slow me down! I will be that chick who brings chocolate chip cookies to Mad Men themed parties…wait…seriously, let’s do that?

Sidenote: One of my roomies has a blog! Her name is Victoria and she is pretty awesome. Check it out! She’s a vegetarian and a pretty mean cook. Our apartment is going to be the place to be for food. We’ll be taking reservations in the Fall – book your calendars.

On that note of bringing cookies places, I went to E3 (a fabulously nerdtastic video game expo at the LA Convention Center) this past week and brought these addictive chocolate chip cookies to share with my coworkers and some lucky friends.

 I made these cookies a few months back, but for some reason I never shared them with you. I’m so sorry, that’s was incredibly selfish of me because these are THE best chocolate chip cookie i’ve ever made or had. I can assure you that I am not the only one that fell in love with these cookies, I have references!!

You’ll never want to use that boring old Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe ever again.  There are a few things that go into making these so epically mouth watering.

First: Bread flour! You’re probably all confused by that, but trust me my loves, trust me. The bread flour is what makes these guys chewy on the inside but still having that little crunch when you bite into it.

Second: Sea salt! Or if you’re fancy, fleur de sel. I think I’m addicted to putting salt on desserts. That too sounds kind of weird, but the salt really does bring out the flavor in so many desserts, especially these cookies.

Third: You’re going to read this recipe and see that I’m going to ask you to refrigerate the dough overnight. You’re going to read that, and then instnatly say “ummm, not happening”. FIGHT THAT URGE! The reason it took me so long to make these cookies was because I too read that refrigerate line and gave up too early. When you let the dough set in the refrigerator overnight (or even up to 36 hours some people say!) all of the flavors marry together and make for this special toffee flavor when you bake up these cookies.

Enjoy,

Madeline

Salted Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

Hi! Remember me? I’m sorry for being MIA the past few weeks but lots of exciting new things have been happening! Well, maybe not lots but it feels like lots!

This fall, yours truly, will be attending UCLA to finish up my environmental studies/geography degree!

Every day since I received the lovely news, I wake up and think to myself “hey remember that time you got into UCLA?” and then I smile REALLY big. You’ll even find me smiling at really awkward times. I’m just…happy. So I have been off smiling around town. I know that doesn’t really seem like an excuse for being so absent…but it’s true.

So stay tuned, Thursday Night Baking is moving to Westwood! Woohoo!

I also went to Chicago to visit my Granny with my Mom! We did some site seeing, ate food, took pictures – it was a lovely mini vacation, despite the 40 degrees and raining weather.

The pretty Jellyfish at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

So in honor of my exciting news, I made you guys something super good. This recipe has been bookmarked and drooled over for many months and now that I’ve made it I can’t believe I waited so long!

My oh my, these bars are little bites of sugary goodness! The buttery shortbread can stand proudly on its own, but wow add the gooey caramel, chocolate coating and oh of course the fleur de sel and this will leave you with a huge smile on your face.

Oh fleur de sel, you steal my heart. I’m having a hard time figuring out what doesn’t taste good with fleur de sel on top.

This recipe makes an entire 9×13 inch pan which means lots of goodies to share with friends! And trust me, this is an impressive recipe that you’ll want to show off to your friends.

Enjoy,

Madeline

Chocolate Brownie Cookies with White Chocolate Chips & Salted Pecans

Technology has kind of been blowing my mind recently. There are just too many new and crazy things coming out, I am starting to feel like it’s a little too much. What ever happened to hanging out with your friends without tv/computer/phone being involved. (But I’m not one to talk, I sleep with my phone under my pillow. Man, i’m sure that’s just awful for my brain…) I can only imagine what my 91 year old grandma thinks about Google’s “Project Glass” augmented reality glasses.

So when I was reading through Joy’s cookbook and saw this recipe and noticed how it required nothing but some bowls and a whisk, I just smiled.

I love my KitchenAid mixer like it is my child, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it is nice to just feel what you are doing. Whisking eggs into chocolate. Folding the flour and chocolate mixture together. These are things that are so simple but provide such a strange sense of satisfaction when you do it by hand.

See, nothing fancy, no microwave! A bowl over a pot, there you have it ladies and gentleman – the best way to melt chocolate. I’m not a fan of melting chocolate in the microwave. You don’t have any control and it always comes out funky. Try this next time, it really does not require any extra effort! I swear!

Fun fact: that bowl gets really hot! I can’t even tell you how many times I have melted chocolate on the stove and have reached for the bowl and burned my hand. Oven mit is necessary!

Lots of recipes call for you to “fold” together ingredients. Up until 2 years ago, I just thought folding was a new word that they used instead of saying mix because mixing was getting overused. Wrong. Folding means gentle! You take your spatula and start in the center and fold together the ingredients just until they’re combined. Over-mixing is a serious thing people. No joke.

I made these cookies twice in one week, and each time they were eaten up within 24 hours. I guess that is a good thing, but come on! I want to eat these cookies for days they’re that good. They are the perfect brownie/cookie compromise, and they only take 11 minutes in the oven. I don’t think this could get any better?

Enjoy,

Madeline

{Can I Have} S’mores Cupcakes

The kitchen for me is a really sacred place. When I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m angry – that is where I go. Everything melts away and all I think about is what is happening in front of me. Chopping chocolate and whipping egg whites is like meditating. My mind literally can not go to those sad places when the mixer is on high, and my eyes are fixated on the egg whites turning from clear and slippery to glossy white clouds.

Everyone has that release. This is mine.

My all time favorite theme of desserts has to be anything s’mores related. So far I’ve made S’mores Pudding and S’mores Bars, but let me tell you my friends, this is only the beginning. Endless possibilities I tell you, endless.

S’mores are my comfort food. They take me back to a time when my friends would come over and we’d roast s’mores in the backyard and take silly pictures that should not exist, but they do. Things haven’t changed too much in the taking silly pictures category, but I don’t see many friends coming over for a good marshmallow roasting. Maybe that will change this summer. You’re all invited for margaritas, tacos and sunshine during the day and s’mores and cuddling by the fire in the evening.  Seriously, can we do this?

Due to the fact that I rely so heavily on the kitchen being my comforting tool, I really needed these cupcakes to turn out amazing, and thank the baking gods because they were. I ate three that evening, and wanted three more afterwards but my tummy was too full. If only one thing inspires you to go and bake off of this blog, I hope it might be these, and that you’ll invite me over for one.

The frosting, which is hardly a frosting but more of a meringue, is made with 8 egg whites. I know that seems like a lot of egg whites, but it’s an important part of the cupcake and don’t worry about using raw egg whites, they’re heated with the sugar on the stove.

I know that they make egg whites in a jug, which probably would be really convenient when making these, but I don’t suggest them. Why you ask? Because they come in a jug. Just stop it right now. Go buy a carton of eggs and then use the remaining egg yolks to make a really deliciously rich and creamy ice cream! The recipes I have posted here use 6 egg yolks, but you can most definitely add the remaining 2, it will just make it even better.

Note: If you’re going to make ice cream with the remaining egg yolks, but not right away, cover the yolks with plastic wrap and stick them in the fridge. As long as they don’t look dehydrated and you cover them properly you can use them within the next 2 days.

We did a little easter egg hunt for my niece, she was too cute. The girl loves a good chunk of chocolate too. Definitely fits into the family perfectly.

Enjoy,

Madeline

Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart {And A Fabulous Friday}

Delicious food, amazing people, princess tiaras, and fabulous news. I had a seriously great Friday.

Reason #1.

My best friend of almost 13 years had a lovely birthday lunch that was so over the top girly and pink it was the almost to the point of ridiculousness, but managed to pull itself off quite nicely. I’m not a pink kinda gal, but in honor of such an awesome friend I embraced it and made some princess tiara sugar cookies for the party, as well as a Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart.

The lunch was hilarious. Six chicks sitting around socializing, drinking champagne, and acting like wearing a tiara at 1pm on a Friday was normal.

Oh, and mister Stormtrooper made an appearance and met his new best friend, Stormtrooper alarm clock. It was a normal afternoon if you ask me.

Reason #2

This Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart was amazing! I’ve been flipping through Joy the Baker’s new cookbook pretty much everyday. I fantasize about shutting myself off from the world and staying in the kitchen until I make everything in that cookbook. If you don’t already have it, go on Amazon or out to Barnes and Noble and you buy it right now!! It’s rare that I find a cookbook with so many recipes in it that I love that I don’t even bother Post-it noting it because there would be a note on every page!

The recipe is pretty basic, which was perfect since I made it at 10am for a 12:30 lunch. It’s funny how simple desserts like this always look so impressive and taste so good, but require hardly any effort.

The ganache is silky smooth, and it’s dark chocolate which is known to be good for you! So this is kind of good for you. 🙂

The crust of the tart was so quick and easy to whip up because it’s a press in crust so nooooo rolling!! It has a bit of cinnamon in it which adds a nice flavor to the always mouthwatering combination of chocolate, whipped cream, and fresh berries.

Reason #3

It’s been two years since I left UCR to take a different approach to my college experience, and it’s been a long two years to say the least. I am proud to say that I just received my first acceptance letter into UCSB’s Geography program :). See picture below for how happy I am.

Side note: For some strange reason I do not have a 9inch tart pan, only a 10 inch and a large rectangular one, so I opted to use a spring form pan instead. I suggest using the tart pan, but just know that you could use a cake pan if you dont have one!

Enjoy!

Madeline

Homemade Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies

Once upon a time, I was a Girl Scout. I was a smiley, loud, bow in the hair, Girl Scout. I started out as a Brownie and even made it up to a Cadette. One of my favorite parts of being a Girl Scout though, hands down, had to be cookie season. There was nothing more exciting than having cases of Tagalongs, Thin Mints, and Samoas in your garage.

Unlike the Girl Scouts I see today, eight year old Madeline & friends sold these cookies. And when I say sold, I mean that chick in the picture went door to door, counted money, made change – the whole shabang. So I found myself a little sad when I came out of the grocery store and saw that table full of cookies, only to find those adorable little Brownies off to the side talking about Justin Bieber and making their Mom count the change for my three boxes of Tagalongs.

As much as I’m a little disheartened with how Girl Scouts may not be as wholesome and girl empowering as it was when I was in it, I still have really fond memories that make me glad I was a part of it.

For one of our badges, we had to cook a meal. Yeah, yeah, yeah, this isn’t Boy Scouts people, we learned how to cook, clean, set tables and act like a lady. My future husband will thank me, and so will you when you come over for a dinner party. Your welcome.

Always posing for pictures

After that one encounter with the Justin Bieber GS cookie girls, I did not see one GS cookie stand ANYWHERE! I even downloaded the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder App for my phone. It had alerts for when cookies were near you – genius. But alas, here we are and I don’t have any cookies.

So instead of being depressed that I didn’t get to buy 15 more boxes of Tagalongs, I set out to make my own.

No more longing for tagalongs in mid September. I could not be more thankful for Jessica at The Novice Chef for posting about these. I think I may have been lost without them.

Which Girl Scout cookies are your favorite?

Enjoy!

Madeline

Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I set aside a chunk of my Friday morning to read Confections of a Master Closet Baker by Gesine Bullock Prado. I thought I would lay out in the sun for a little (oh how I love southern California) and just read for 20 minutes, but that turned into 2+ hours. After having to force myself to put the book down, the little voice in my head (not that crazy one, but the other one) that says “I’m going to be a baker!” was jumping around and going nuts saying “go bake, go bake, go bake!”

If you like baking, you should read this book. Gesine, unfortunately known to many just as Sandra Bullock’s sister, was a hollywood executive that gave up the high-paid LA lifestyle to pursue her true passion in baking. It’s a hilarious and inspiring memoir. I’ll share with you just this one bit from the book, and then we’ll get to the cookies:

“I didn’t want more stuff. I wanted to be more happy. I wanted to be good. I wanted to stop hating people and start understanding. And the only way I knew how to feel like a good and kind person was through baking.”

I swear, as I read this book I have to stop and put it down for a few seconds every so often because it feels like she is reading my thoughts out loud.

I just want you guys to eat the desserts & food that I make. Plain and simple. I’ll have one, and you have the rest. Well, maybe I’ll have 3, and then I swear you can have the rest.

Those preschool teachers have it right I tell you, sharing is caring.

Here we go – I made some Kahlua Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I know “chunk” is a funny word, but I don’t use chocolate chips anymore in cookies so I would feel as if I am leading you down the wrong path if I said chips – there is a huge difference I tell you! If you haven’t made the switch to chopped up chocolate in your cookies, you need to now. You know those delicious cookies you get from a bakery that when you break them in half the chocolate just comes oozing out. That’s because they’re not using chocolate chips, which have stabilizers in them to keep their shape. Grab the bar of chocolate and take out some stress on it. Your cookies & taste testers will thank you.

I really wanted a chocolate chip cookie, but after looking through way too many “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipes I decided that there was just too much pressure on something so simple. So I took a different approach. These are like a “look at me I’m all grown up” kinda cookie. They remind me of my Oatmeal Cookies a bit because of the cinnamon that is in it. Overall, they were a nice alternative to the everyday chocolate chip cookie.

Lastly, can we just talk about how ridiculously adorable my little niece is. She says my name now, without me tricking her by repeating it over and over. I swear I will do anything and give her anything she wants as long as she comes running towards me saying “Madddy Madddddy” – my heart is melting just thinking about it…sighhhhh.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Enjoy,

Madeline