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

Lime Meltaways

I’ve been listening to a lot of hip hop recently…more specifically a lot of Outkast. It’s just so good, I can’t stop and I have no intention on doing so either, so let’ embrace it together.

I’ve never claimed to be perfect on here, and I never will, because I am so far from. But we’re all a little flawed, right? That’s what makes us who we are. How did I get the way that I am? By dancing around the kitchen to hip hop/rap from 1996 and misreading recipes because I’m too busy jamming.

I’m not complaining though. I’d much rather be a good baker in general and just have a tendency to get a little distracted then be super focused on my recipe and still turn out hockey pucks of dirt. Am I right?

So about once a month I mess up pretty badly in the kitchen, and my first shot at this one was my free pass for the month. I may have put in a whole extra stick of butter into the recipe…whoops!

But rest assured, when you actually make the recipe with the proper ingredients it is not only incredibly easy to make, but they are light and simply addictive.

They’re called meltaways because they do pretty much melt away in your mouth. Writing that reminded me of when I teach the little munchkins about bean clams…”Why do you think they’re called bean clams?” “Because they’re shaped like a bean!” “Yeah! See guys, science is easy!”….yeah that happens.

The lime pefectly blends into the slightly sweet buttery cookie. You wont be screaming, oh woah did you taste that lime! But you will be saying, oh my these are lovely.

They’re not like most cookies, where you feel like you ate a meal after three or four cookies (everyone eats 3-4 cookies when they eat cookies right…?). I could eat 10 of these cookies and would be ready for just about 10 more.

The’re the perfect little cookie to share with friends over lunch on the beach…which is exactly what I did with them! Don’t forget to put sunscreen on so your face isn’t red the next day. Don’t be like me. Having a face that looks like you’re always blushing is not cute, it’s awkward.

 

Momofuku MilkBar Confetti Cookies

If you weren’t already in love with Christina Tosi from Momofuku MilkBar, you will be now.

Before owning Momofuku Milkbar Cookbook or even going to Milkbar in NYC, I was fascinated by Christina Tosi. I want to be her friend. Her style in the kitchen has a childish and whimsical flare to it, but in the best possible way possible. She is known for her cereal milk creations, crack pie, and compost cookies… frankly the woman is a genius.

I could talk about her and that cookbook for hours, but if I tell you any more about her I’ll sound like I have a crush.

I was given this cookbook as a gift right when it came out a few months back, but was a little intimidated by it. I wanted to make everything in it, but each recipe calls for special ingredients that the average baker doesn’t really keep in the pantry, such as gelatin and milk powder. Even if you aren’t a baker, this book is beautiful and if I had a coffee table, I’d put it on it.

The first recipe I tried was for the Cornflake Marshmallow Chocolate Chip cookies. I did everything perfectly and according to the instructions, I even patiently waited while they chilled in the fridge for hours, which is generally something I try and skip due to lack of patience. But when it came to actually baking them, they spread out 3 times their size! Something was oh so wrong.

Tosi’s cookie recipes all have this special “creaming” process. Instead of just whipping together the butter and sugar until combined, like most cookie recipes, this recipe goes for 7 minutes! I thought that maybe it was because of this oh so special process that the cookies spread out so much.

After doing a little reasearch, and re-reading the intro to the book where she talks about her ingredients, I found that my solution to the problem was bread flour! Bread flour has a higher protein content, or a higher gluten content, which kept everything together and made for a chewy delicious cookie.

Funfetti cake was THE cake/sweet/dessert of my childhood. You know, straight from the box with a can of frosting, and it tasted damn good! And honestly, I probably would still love it if I made some today. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I haven’t made Funfetti cake from the box in maybe 5 years or more, but these cookies sent me back to those box cake years in a second.

Colorful. Sweet. Smile inducing. Addictive. Crack-like. Perfection.

Enjoy!!

 

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

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

#68 Valentine’s Day Soft Sugar Cookies

It’s that time of year! The bakery section of your grocery store is overflowing with pink & red goodies. From cookies to cupcakes, I’ve even seen dyed breads, anything that can be dyed pink or red basically.

One of those special cookies that I use to always cave into buying where those fluffy sugar cookies with the pink frosting and sprinkles. They’re like big fluffy sugar pillows, how could you not resist.

Well these cookies are based on the infamous store bought sugar cookie, except they are way better and don’t have any of those nasty preservatives in it. I warn you, they are so addicting. I keep going into the cookie jar and taking a half a cookie…and then coming back 10 minutes later for another half…and then another half…you see where this is going.

I found this adorable little book about looove that I signed inside with the D’s backwards and in huge writing. It was quiet adorable to see.

I used a tiny bit too much food coloring in the frosting, so the pink turned out a little brighter than I had hoped for, but they’re fun regardless.

Enjoy!

Madeline

#55 Salted Chocolate Pecan Cookies

This year I participated in a cookie swap and not just some amateur local one. This my friends was put together by the lovely ladies over at Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. The idea is genius really. Combine the powers of the amazingly talented food bloggers all over the country, ship a box of cookies to three different people, you get three different boxes of cookies, and in the end everyone writes a nice little post about! Fun! [If you’re interested in participating next year, sign up for their emails here]

Well here I am at stage three writing a nice little post about this event. This event was a lot more than just shipping your cookies to random people around the country. Blogging about anything can seem really closed off sometimes. You don’t get to see the people who are reading your blog or interact with them like you would if you were cooking for a group of friends. This event brought together about 500 food bloggers over the common love of cookies. Personally, I went on Twitter way more just to look through all of the tweets about the cookie swap. It was nice to bond virtually over the trials and errors of making the perfect cookie, and through the process I found a few more people to follow online.

My cookies ready to ship

I want to give a shout out to the three blogs that I sent cookies too:

KarmaCucina – my new go-to “real” cooking site! Lots of different variations on delicious food.
Life of a Bama Girl – another young chef blogging about life and food 🙂
From My Sweet Heart – a lovely woman living her life the best way possible – through sugar 🙂

The bloggers that I received cookies from:

Addicted to Recipes – she sent some yummy Gingerbread Snickerdoodles which was so appropriate. I love the two of them separately this season, so combined it was heavenly.
Grumpy’s Honey Bunch – she sent two different types of cookies [a nice result from reading directions when stressed :)] One was a peppermint bark filled bon bon (Mom loved these!) and some Cardamon Sugar cookies (yum!)
Decadent Philistines Save the World – she sent Maple Walnut cookies, which sadly must have been man-handled by the USPS because the box of cookies was opened inside when i got it and the cookies were a little hard 🙁 BUT I did try them and they tasted good regardless!  There should be a stamp for packages that says “HANDLE WITH CARE – COOKIES INSIDE”

I should probably tell you about the cookies I made now, huh? Recently I have fallen in love with the idea of sea salt on desserts, like cookies and chocolates. I know some people who havent experienced it yet are a little hesitant about the idea, but trust me, you’ll be hooked.

I was going to make a chocolate chip cookie with sea salt, but that was too simple. So these cookies ended up as a mixture of a few different cookies. I only got to eat one of them because I didn’t make enough to devour myself, but that one cookie was mouthwatering. These will be made a few more times this holiday season, that’s for sure.

Enjoy!

Madeline

#40 Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Comfort food is really important in all of our lives. It’s that food that you don’t think about the calories or how many sticks of butter is in it, and you just eat, enjoy and escape from what is plaguing your mind.

I know quite a few people right now that are in need of some comfort food. This post goes out to Libby and her soon-to-be mother-in-law, Evan and his Uncle, Mrs. Frank (my favorite High School English teacher) as she battles cancer for the second time, James for his long journey to Taiwan, and Jennie from In Jennie’s Kitchen as she recovers from a loss, as well as anyone else who needs a little love.

One of my comfort foods is Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, but specifically my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. There is something about this recipe that is so different from the others. It is like a hardy version of a chocolate chip cookie. These are a full proof guarantee to comfort as you sit on the couch and watch The Real Housewives of whatever or the Food Network for a few hours.

If it wasn’t enough that the cookies are amazing, the dough to these cookies is so tasty I always have trouble when it comes to not eating it. I lack self control when I am near this dough so I try and bake these earlier in the day and not near dinner…

Fresh out of the oven

These lasted about 3 minutes

🙂

I hope you make these for the people in your life that you love and care for, and for the people who need a little comforting in their lives.

James – I know you have been dying for this recipe for 2 years now. Well here you go 🙂 Use it well.

Oatmeal Chocolate  Chip Cookies

Makes 3 Dozen

Ingredients

1 ¼ cups butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 cup milk
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt [1/2 if salted butter]
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together butter and the sugars until creamy. Add in egg, vanilla and milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add in flour mixture to butter mixture until combined. Mix in oats, then chocolate chips. Using a spatula or spoon, stir together dough to make sure all the chocolate chips are evenly spread out and not sitting at the bottom. Drop tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 11 minutes.

Enjoy,

Madeline