I have had a favorite cookie recipe for years. Nothing compared to it. Until this week. This past year Chris and I have found that we tended to gravitate towards chocolate chip cookies with flake salt on top. Anytime we are at a bakery that is what we order.
Over the weekend I decided it was time to find and make a recipe to have them at home — that and I keep having these nesting urges to bake. This is a must make recipe. It is really no different to make than any other chocolate chip cookie recipe. One thing that is always important to me is what they taste like a few days later. Often I find I only like cookies right out of the oven and they taste differently the next day or a few days later. Not these cookies. Chris will have to fight me for these — he usually gets what is left after day one.
Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Heath Bar Bits
Makes about 18 to 24 cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) [If you do not have any use brown sugar.]
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 pound semi-sweet chocolate cut into 1/2″ chunks with a knife
1/4 cup heath bar bits
Flaky sea salt to top cookie dough
Heat oven to 360°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together with a mixer for about 5 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Mix in salt and baking soda until combined. Add flour until just mixed. With a spatula, stir in the chocolate chunks and heath bar bits.
Form cookies into 1 1/2 tablespoon sized mounds and add to prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a few flakes of sea salt. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden on the outside but still very soft inside. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. So good!
I am a sucker for a feel good novel. You know the kind that makes you dream about living on a farm or opening up a bakery, regardless of all the work it actually takes to pull such ventures off. Over the weekend as I was finishing up such novel, one of the very last paragraphs on the last page of the book reminded me of my mom and grandma:
“My grandmother’s handwriting filled the yellowed index cards, her letters tall and elegant, directing the creation of breads and cakes, pies and pastries, cookies, and of course, muffins. Even in the faded peacock-blue ink, her words live on.” page 341
The book? The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses. A novel about a woman whose grandma had asked her to deliver a letter for her and then dies, and the journey the woman has to make to unravel a past she did not know about her grandma. A fluffy, fun book? Yes. Still, it was good. She talks about food throughout, and juxtaposes it with the woman (a Manhattan attorney) who is always careful about what she eats only to find comfort in the food she eats on her journey.
I still have a few of the index recipe cards in both my mom and grandma’s handwriting. You can tell how often a dish was made by the grease and spill marks, the worn look of the paper, and sometimes the bleed of a pen. I only have a few remnants of these recipes. At one point many years ago, when laptops became a hot item (although they still looked like bricks) my sister and I transferred the recipes we inherited to her new laptop so we could both have copies, and then not too long later the laptop died and was not able to be resurrected. In some ways it is fine as we have found, explored, and made our own favorite recipes, but there are still a few that linger out there that I have not been able to replicate.
Sometimes Chris asks me if the memory of the time, or the memory and nostalgia of that favorite recipe is strong but if I actually was able to replicate the dish would it still have the same effect on me? I love my mom’s coffee cake, and yet that was not lost (thanks to Betty Crocker). I have even changed it up and added my own twist. There are many that I probably never even know that I am missing. The one that I have tried over and over to recreate with horrible luck was her chocolate chess pie. I remember making it often as a kid and loving it, but each time I try now it is a runny mess. I think Chris has given up on it. So if any of you have a chocolate chess pie recipe that you want to share, I am all ears!