The Best Cookies

I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I love to bake. I suppose that’s a blessing, huh? Well, it is unless I have an intense urge but can’t do anything about if I can’t find someone to take three dozen cookies out of my house… or a layer cake… or brownies… but a red velvet cake, now that would stick around as long as I could keep it.

I’ve made one carrot cake in my life, and the next person that gets that out of me better be giving me a ring or cruise tickets. What a pain in the butt that was. I want to make a spice cake which I see in boxed mixes at the store, but again, what will I do with a whole cake? Make friends, huh? Still, it’s a gamble – it’s not like you can freeze it if you don’t make friends, right? Right.

There is one thing that when made, I have no problem finding homes for – if they don’t make it down my throat first. Sadly, I didn’t invent this recipe but it’s very much worth passing on. The trick to these cookies, is salt. Salt brings out the beauty and richness of chocolate in a way that nothing else does – to the point that I’ve been out to a tapas place where they gave us a dessert fondue with fruit and a warm chocolate ganache for dipping. I ditched the fruit, dipped a spoon in the warm chocolate and sprinkled a bit of salt on it before eating. It made a tremendous difference in the flavor – and not just breaking up the sweetness in it, but something else I can’t explain. There are certainly scientific reasons for why it works, and I’m sure that’s all fascinating stuff, but frankly – the tongue knows and that is good enough for me.

Ina Garten’s Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 c brown sugar, packed
1 c granulated sugar
2 t vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temp
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa (I like Nestle)
2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t kosher salt (use kosher – bigger granules, *important*)
1 1/2 lb white chocolate chunks, coarse chopped – or chips, they’re ok too

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, then eggs, mix. Add cocoa, mix. Sift together: flour, baking soda, salt, then add to chocolate mix until just combined. Fold in white chocolate pieces.
Drop dough on cookie sheet, greased or lined with parchment. Dampen hands and flatten dough balls slightly.
Bake for 15 minutes exactly, remove from the oven and let cool on pan slightly before moving to cooling rack. They will seem slightly underdone at 15 minutes, but that’s what you want.


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