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.

 

Nutty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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OMG, guys…it’s totally almost Christmas and I am SO NOT READY for it this year. Let’s just blame it on the upcoming move…m’kay? Usually, by now, I’ve baked and confected up a storm. My tree and house have been trimmed with glittery everything and I’ve buried myself in a mountain of wrapping paper & ribbon. This year, not so much. There’s no tree, not a single wrapped gift, or even a sprinkling of glitter. There aren’t even that many treats! But, there are some, like this twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie…so I haven’t completely dropped the ball. Oh, and I have watched Love, Actually no less than 4 times. A girl’s gotta keep some traditions alive.

Luckily we are leaving today to visit our families out in Nevada for the next week and we’ve been assured that Christmas cheer is in full effect…so, we won’t be missing out one bit! Plus, these cookies…duh. I always love a chocolate chip cookie and I am a super-fan of a good-ol CCC with some nutty bits strewn throughout. These cookies take it to the next level of nutty goodness with lots of browned butter and not just my standard favorite, walnuts, but also my other favorites: hazelnuts and pecans (I know…I use favorite far too liberally, but I just love ‘em all!). I would even dare to say that these would be a great treat to leave out for everyone’s favorite, jolly, bearded fellow in the cookie-form with lots of butter, sugar, chocolate, and nuts for extra protein…you know, Santa Fuel.

Anyway, whatever you do or celebrate this holiday season, I hope you and yours have a joyous and cheerful time! Toast some drinks, hug your favorites, revel in the happiness of the season…and eat some cookies!

Nutty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from THIS recipe.

2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups mixed nuts (any you like!)

sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Begin by browning the butter in a skillet until the solids become a deep, golden, caramel color and the butter smells nutty like toffee. Pour the butter into a dish and set aside to cool a bit while you gather your ingredients.

In a mixing bowl or stand mixer combine the sugars together with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the browned butter to the mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing the first in well before adding the second, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts to combine. Using a levered cookie scoop, or two tablespoons, scoop cookies onto the prepared sheets, spacing a few inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake the cookies in the center of the oven, one sheet at a time, for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden. Remove from the oven and cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.

 

Hazelnut Jam Thumbprints and Tea Cakes

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I love a multi-tasker and this cookie dough is a just that. I mean, who doesn’t love anything that makes life easier AND more delicious, all at once?

These cookies are a crumbly, buttery classic, only made better with the addition of toasty hazelnuts, plus sweet powdered sugar coatings or tart jam bellies. I can never decide which I like better, so having a couple of each always evens things out. Use any nut you like, or jam you please.

I made these cookies as part of a collaboration with 11 other bloggers, organized by the lovely Dawn of Joyful Scribbling, for a virtual 12 Days of Cookies exchange. Take a peek and click the links below for all the cookie-goodness!

12 Days of Cookies

  1. Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies from A Night Owl Blog
  2. Jam Thumbprints and Tea Cakes from Hungry Girl Por Vida
  3. Popcorn Cookies from Betsy Life
  4. Peppermint White Chocolate Covered Oreos from Mommifried
  5. Peanut Butter Heath Cookies from Whatcha Makin’ Now
  6. Peppermint Cream Cookies from The Bitter Side of Sweet
  7. White Chocolate Ganache Filled Cookies from Dessert Now Dinner Later
  8. White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread from Joyful Scribblings
  9. White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies from Daily Cup of Kate
  10. Toasted Almond Russian Tea Cakes from Meegan Makes
  11. Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate Cookies from What Katie’s Baking
  12. Grandma’s Sugar Cookies from Writer Mom Blog

Hazelnut Jam Thumbprints and Russian Tea Cakes

Feel free to use your favorite jam for the thumbprints. I love Bon Maman 4 Fruits jam and Smuckers Orchard’s Finest Northwest Triple Berry for the jammy middles. 

Adapted from Betty Crocker

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

1/4 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar for coating and jam for filling

Preheat the oven to 400˚F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

In a mixing bowl beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar, plus extracts. Fold in the flour, nuts, and salt to combine into a dough.

For tea cakes, scoop tablespoons of dough, roll into balls, and place on baking sheets spaced evenly apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until just golden on the bottoms. Remove from oven and roll in powdered sugar while still hot. Place on a rack to cool before rolling in powdered sugar a second time.

For thumbprints, scoop tablespoons full of dough and place on cookie sheets, spaced evenly. Make a thumbprint indentation in the center of each dough ball and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just golden on the bottoms. Remove from the oven and using the end of a wooden spoon, press the indentations down even further, if needed. Allow cookies to cool slightly before filling each indentation with jam of your choice.