What reminds you of home?
Is it a smell? A climate? A hug from your dad? Snuggles with your mom? …Food?
When baking for the blog this week I wanted to make something that captured the general feeling of hominess. Oddly, the thing that reminds me most of home is a family recipe… Cheese Toast. Creamy, rich, and, well, cheesy, Cheese Toast is anything but pretty. A little contemplation lead me to make the decision to save that winner for another occasion. We need to get to know each other a little better before I can share my grandma’s best recipe, right cousins? Back to the drawing board!
This weekend I flew home for my little brother, Cyrus’ college graduation. All right, more like “younger” brother because he is the opposite of a little dude. Before heading to his graduation ceremony my 8 year old cousin Lily helped me whip up a big batch of a childhood favorite: chocolate chip cookies.
Lily was up for this challenge. This recipe is a go-to when you need a simple dessert for large groups. After all, who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? With both my dad’s parents were in town along with my aunt, uncle and two cousins, I knew these would be a hit. Or at least I hoped.
I was right.
They disappeared like magic. Super duper buttery, chocolaty, chunky cookie magic.
When I first moved to New York, things didn’t all go as planned but on my lunch breaks I would venture over to Chelsea Market for an occasional treat. I quickly discovered this amazing chocolate shop located towards the back called Jacques Torres. Sadly, the shop has since relocated but not before I discovered some miraculous treats. Monsieur Torres has mastered the art of a chocolate chip cookie. Luckily there are plenty of recipe hacks in honor of them. My favorite and closest to the Jacques Torres version is the recipe put out by Martha Stewart. They’re the perfect combination of chewy, crunchy edges and gooey center. In short: buttery heaven. What’s even better is you only need one bowl to whip these up.
With Lily helping me in the kitchen there was a little more mess than usual (we ended up with a cracked egg on the counter and chocolate on the floor) but there’s nothing sweeter than a kid who wants to help you bake. It wasn’t that long ago my brother Cyrus and I were trying to do the same. I’ve got scars to prove it. Whenever I start to question why I live so far away from home and my family I remember that without New York I would never have discovered incredible friends, wonderful adventures, and these amazing cookies.
Sometimes you just need a chocolate chunk cookie to make you feel a little less homesick.
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- 1 lb. butter
- 2-¼ cup light brown sugar, packed tightly
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 extra large eggs
- 1-tablespoon vanilla
- 1-teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 cups cake flour
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 lbs. semi-sweet chocolate chunks/morsels/chips
Preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper.
Cream butter and sugars together in stand mixer until light and fluffy. This should take about 4 minutes.
Add in eggs, one at a time until fully mixed. Scrape down sides as necessary. Add in vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.
Gradually mix in salt, baking powder, baking soda, cake flour and all-purpose flour at a low speed until a thick batter is formed. I usually take three rounds of adding dry ingredients to make sure I don’t get powdery white flour all over my appliances and kitchen.
Finally add in chocolate on lowest mix setting. Use an ice cream scoop to place cookie dough onto Silpat-lined baking sheets. Make sure to leave plenty of room for the cookies to spread out because they will almost triple in diameter. I put about six cookies per ½ size baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt if desired.
Bake cookies on 350° for 12 min a batch, rotating out cookie sheets. After a sheet has been removed from the oven, let cookies cool for 5-8 min before placing on a cooling rack and loading up the sheet with another batch. Recipe yields around 30 large cookies (or less if you get into the batter like Lily and I did).