Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This post is a little different, as I developed this recipe as a collaboration with my old high school. I was contacted by a lovely woman named Garney, who works at the high school I went to, about a career board display she and some yearbook students were working on themed “Oh, the places you’ll go…” and they thought that this whole blogging and recipe-makin’ thing I do was interesting. The display went live today…and, seriously, who would have thought!? Especially among people who have become lawyers or are headed for medical school. Definitely not too-cool-for-high-school me. I went to a teeny high school, ECHS, in a speck of a town in the middle of Nevada. When I mean teeny, I mean my graduating class had 21 students in it. I did yearbook, the school newspaper, was a cheerleader, and worked at the community pool as a lifeguard. I was not cool at all and was a total awkward-weirdo…and I mean, I kinda still am, I’ve just embraced it. My favorite things to do included writing super-inaccurate-yet-fun horoscopes for the newspaper and using deadlines as an excuse to cut-out on PE, doing photo layouts for the yearbook, as a cheerleader I loved making huge hand-lettered signs for games, and working at the pool was pretty fun since a lot of my friends worked there too. Like many high-school kids, my free time was super important to me and I could often be found hanging out with my pals, driving around aimlessly, and drinking cherry-diet-pepsi’s from the drive-in. I also spent a lot of that free time baking cookies (or boxed cakes or making magazine collages) whilst chit-chatting with my girlfriends. Though I never Instagram-ed or took phone pictures of those cookies since I only had a cell phone my senior year, had about 4 numbers in it, and it was a huge, red, Nokia-brick with a pull-out antennae…no camera in sight.

Truth be told, whenever I made chocolate chip cookies, I would always make the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag. Sometimes I would add some huge scoops of peanut butter to the dough, sometimes I’d add walnuts, I almost never measured as carefully as I do now, but basically, I never deviated from that classic recipe. Now that I bake much more and many more things, I have tried many a cookie recipe and I think these chocolate chip cookies may be my favorite yet. They are super soft, tender, a little thick–which is how I love my chocolate chip cookies–and packed with lots of dark chocolate. There’s cream cheese in this dough, which adds to the tenderness, as well as contributing a pleasant tang to the buttery, toffee-like flavor of the dough. These cookies don’t bake up flat, but pleasantly domed with a little chewy edge with soft middles. In my opinion they are pretty much perfect and definitely worth trying out…because, honestly, there are never too many chocolate chip cookie recipes in the world.

Some things I did not know about baking in high school that will save you from a broken-cookie heart:

Baking powder is not the same as baking soda. Baking powder has baking soda plus an acid added to it to create the lift necessary in this recipe. Science!

Don’t forget the salt! I used to think it was okay to just leave salt out of baked goods. Don’t be teen-me! Salt makes all sweet things sing. For most purposes, I use kosher salt, but sea salt is nice too.

Parchment paper and waxed paper are not one in the same. Parchment is coated with silicone which ensures your baked goods will not stick and will also hold up to heat…waxed paper is coated with wax, will not ensure that you baked goods do not stick, isn’t meant to be heated (because wax melts!), and will just break your cookie-lovin’ heart.

Beating the butter, cream cheese, and sugars until fluffy will just whip air into your cookie, making it dry and crumbly, instead of soft and tender.

Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

The addition of cream cheese in these cookies makes them extra tender and soft, as well as adding a little bit of tang.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 sticks butter

1/3 cup whipped cream cheese

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

Sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl using a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and both sugars together until just combined, but not fluffy.  Scrape the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla, mix to combine completely. Add the flour mixture you set aside earlier and mix until combined, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and continue to mix until everything is just mixed together, but well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips and place the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 30, up to overnight. Using a cookie scoop or 2-3 heaping tablespoons, scoop dough into balls and place onto a baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

 

Blueberry Almond Cream Scones

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Scones and biscuits are seriously one of my weaknesses. Fresh from the oven, I find them to be crazy-irresistable. I know that a biscuit is somehow not the same thing as a scone (if you have an explanation, I’d love to know!), and vice versa, but they must be cousins or something because either one hits the carb-spot every time.

These particular scones don’t contain any egg in the dough, but they do contain a good dose of cream along with a bit of butter. The cream makes for an ultra-tender, dream of a scone.  I’ve added a bit of almond extract to the dough, as well as a sprinkling of almonds across the tops for some texture and crunch. The blueberries are there because I like almond and berries together and, because I cannot get enough berries these days. Each bite of these dreamy beauties contains the scent of sweet almond, a little nutty crunch, and a burst of juicy berries. These scones are pretty amazing on their own though, a smear of butter and blueberry jam doesn’t hurt a thing.

Blueberry Almond Cream Scones

Adapted from this recipe.

Makes 12 scones.

I baked these in muffin cups, scooping the batter instead of patting it into a round and cutting out. I saw scones done this way on Donna Hay and I thought they were pretty dang cute. Frozen blueberries hold up better when mixing this dough, but if you don’t mind some blueberry streaks, go ahead and use fresh.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup frozen blueberries

for the tops:

1 egg

1 tablespoon cream

sliced almonds and sugar

Preheat the oven to 425˚F and place paper cupcake liners in 12-cup muffin tin.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, pinch in the butter until there are bits of butter throughout and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Toss in the blueberries and coat with the dry mixture. Pour in the cream and almond extract and gently fold to create a dough–the dough will be a bit wet, but not as wet as a muffin batter. Don’t over mix, it’s better to err on the side of under mixed with some dry bits throughout. Divide the dough between the 12 muffins cups using a levered scoop, about 2 scoops per cup

Whisk the egg with the 1 tablespoon of cream. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg-cream mixture, sprinkle with almonds and sugar. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until the tops of the scones are just golden. Remove from the oven and (try to) cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Grilled Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Jam Breakfast Sandwich

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While it’s not the prettiest specimen, this sandwich is one of my all-time favorite, go-to breakfasts (and honestly, lunches). It’s a little weird with the bacon, cheese, egg, and jam all mingled together, but it’s weird in the most sensical way…I promise. It hits all of my cravings–salty, sweet, rich, tangy, and crisp–in each bite. Honestly, I can’t believe I’ve never shared this with you before because we have it ALL THE TIME.

A version of this sandwich often makes weekend appearances when we want something more than just cold cereal for breakfast. I almost always have the ingredients on hand and switch them up according to whatever is in the refrigerator. If I don’t have goat cheese, I will happily swap in cheddar, pepper jack, fontina, or whatever there is hanging out in the cheese drawer. If there isn’t any bacon–ham, proscuitto, or any pork product works just as well. An egg is always required, and if I weren’t pregnant, you’d better believe it’d be a runny one. The jam gets mixed up too–this time I used marionberry because–I live in Portlandia* now–and it’s was in the fridge. If I have some leaves of arugula wilting away in the crisper drawer, those go in there as well for some spicy-green bite. Really it’s an anything goes sandwich so long as you have a sweet, jammy spread, some sort of salty-cured pork situation, an egg, cheese, and some bread.

*Ps, when my brother-in-law and his gf were here visiting last week, we definitely waited in an out-the-door-long brunch line, walked by a store with birds on everything, and they saw Carrie and Fred handing out Voodoo donuts at Powell’s books. True life.

Grilled Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Jam Breakfast Sandwich

I mean, I know you can make a sandwich without a recipe, but look at this as a guide to a deliciously weird breakfast.

2 slices bread

soft butter

jam of choice

goat cheese

2 slices crispy bacon, cut in half

fried egg, however you like

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Butter the bread on the sides that will make contact with the pan. Spread a thin layer of jam on the opposite sides of the bread that are buttered. Spread or sprinkle some goat cheese chunks on one piece of the bread on the jam side, lay the slices of bacon across the top and place the egg on top of that. Top it all with the second piece of bread, jam side on the inside, and grill in the heated pan until the goat cheese is melty and the bread is golden brown and crisp on both sides. EAT.