I was craving chocolate chip cookies the other day, but I’ve outgrown my previous recipe. Chocolate chip cookies are so commonplace. I wanted something truly remarkable. I decided to experiment by taking about 3 or 4 different cookie recipes I really enjoy and combining my favorite elements from each. The result is a crispy-chewy cookie that was not overly sweet (thanks to bittersweet chocolate chips, but use semisweet if you prefer) and just a touch of saltiness to balance it out.
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon LorAnn vanilla butternut flavoring (optional, but worth it)
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- Sea salt, for sprinkling
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla and vanilla butternut flavoring (if using), vinegar, and baking soda. Beat on medium until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Mix in the flour, then the chocolate chips and nuts.
- Scoop 1 1/4" balls of dough (I use a #40 scoop) onto a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. It's okay at this point if they're close together.
- Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt on each ball of dough. You only need a few flakes per cookie.
- Place the sheet in the freezer, making sure it rests level, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- If you don't want to bake cookies right away, the frozen balls of dough can be stored in a freezer safe plastic bag for up to 2 months.
- When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Arrange the now frozen balls of dough at least 2 inches apart on a lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheet (it's okay to use the same one you used to freeze the dough). Return any dough balls you aren't using to the freezer for later use.
- Place cookie sheet on center rack of oven and bake for 11 to 12 minutes. Cookies should be golden on the edges and still slightly soft in the center.
- Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow to sit for 2 or 3 minutes until the cookies firm up a bit, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
One challenge I often face with cookies is how much they spread while baking. I don't like my cookies to get too thin, but it seems they'd spread now matter how long I leave the dough in the refrigerator before baking. Freezing the dough did the trick. They still spread a bit, as well they should, but they hold their shape long enough to yield a pleasantly thick cookie. Another benefit to freezing the dough is that you can bag any balls of dough you don't want to bake right away and store them for a couple of months. Then freshly baked cookies will never be more than a few minutes away!
The vanilla butternut flavoring is not absolutely crucial, but I do feel it helps add to that "wow!" element. If you have trouble finding it locally, it can be purchased online at Amazon or King Arthur Flour.