It seems that my first entry should be about something monumental, some grand feat of culinary engineering that will endear and impress any curious reader who might happen upon my page. And so it is. And it isn’t. For my first entry I want to write about the humble cookie. I’m sure this will be one of many entries about cookies. I love cookies. And they seem a universal love.
For all practical purposes, cookies are a simple dessert, more at home in a lunch box than on a restaurant menu. I have made thousands of cookies- rolled, dropped, spread, hand shaped, or cut. Cookies are my signature food, my offering for friends, my apologies for transgressions, my road trip companions, and strangely enough, once my tuition for a university class. The professor never said I could stay, but he never kicked me out either, and never complained about the Ziploc baggie of cookies tucked under the podium every week. Cookies are never a bad idea and always a welcome guest.
When I was sailing on tall ships, I was known as “Kat, the steward who makes THE COOKIES.” And when I graduated to making cookies for the privileged classes aboard luxury yachts, I prepared all sorts of fancy meals, and elegant plated desserts. Yet most often, people raved about the cookies. “Oh, the guava-glazed, key lime cheesecake was lovely, but the snickerdoodles were to die for!” Even the rich folks love cookies. And so it goes, I’ve developed a reputation for cookie baking.
This recipe that follows got me a job. It isn’t the first cookie that landed me employment, nor will it probably be the last, but indeed, this one’s never failed me. I showed up for my personal chef interview with my portfolio and a nicely wrapped box of chewy goodness and voila! A job that I adore. Here’s the recipe for THE COOKIES.
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
¾ cup unsalted butter (use the real stuff)
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted (Dutch processed- that’s a whole entry itself!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cream together the butter and sugars. Add the egg and extracts to the creamed mixture and mix briefly on medium speed. Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture on low speed. Add the chocolate chips and mix to blend. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again, just until incorporated. Drop with a cookie scoop, 1 dozen onto each sheet. Bake about 12 minutes rotating half way through. It’s kind of hard to tell when these cookies are done since they’re already brown. Look for puffed centers and a dry exterior. They are better slightly underdone than overdone. Let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes and then slide the parchment paper to the rack to cool. This recipe makes a little over two dozen if you don’t eat too much of the dough. The recipe came originally from the book Still Life with Menu by Mollie Katzen.
I’ve also varied it to make the following yummy kinds…
Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies: substitute orange oil for the peppermint extract, and add the zest of one orange with the butter and sugars.
Mexican Chocolate Chip Cookies: (these are actually the ones in the picture) substitute almond extract for the peppermint and add 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon to the dry ingredients. You could also add some chopped, toasted almonds if you like (maybe ¾ cup). I use baking powder instead of soda for this one since the pH is higher. We’ll talk more about that later…
I hope you enjoy the cookies and thank you for checking out my site. I welcome comments and suggestions!
P.S. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, these cookies make amazing ice cream sandwiches- just squish a scoop of vanilla (or whatever flavor you like) ice cream in between two cookies and mmm! Pure deliciousness.