Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’ve been making the chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for at least five years now, and it remains my Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Of All Time. It’s easily customizable (nuts? no nuts? sea salt on top?) and quick to make, so this time when I decided to whip up a batch with toasted pecans, I couldn’t think of any reason why rolling the cookies in coconut would be a terrible idea. Some I left plain for Mr. Portlandivore, who said, “I like to let the cookie speak for itself,” and I said, “I did, and the cookie told me to roll it in coconut and sprinkle it with sea salt”.

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2 1/8 cups unbleached all‐purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly

1 cup light or dark brown sugar (7 ounces)

1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks

Optional ingredients-

3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans or other nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts

1/2-1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I used 1/2 cup because I didn’t roll all of the cookies in coconut, and I used unsweetened because the cookies are already sweet enough)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper‐ and lower‐middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl; set aside. Either by hand or in a stand mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended.  Mix in the egg, the egg yolk, and the vanilla.  Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined.

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Mix in the chocolate chips and pecans with a spatula.  Using a cookie scoop (the original recipe called for using 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie for a total of 18 cookies, but my scoop is smaller so I got 24 cookies in one batch), place dough balls onto two parchment paper‐lined sheet pans. You can leave them all plain (who wants to do that besides my husband?), or roll the dough balls in unsweetened shredded coconut, and/or sprinkle with sea salt. 

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Bake, turning the cookie sheets halfway through baking, until the cookies are light golden brown and the outer edges start to harden but the middles are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes).  Cool cookies on cookie sheets.

Note: The plain dough balls can be individually frozen and stored in the freezer for a month, just add an extra minute or two to the cooking time.

Orange Poppyseed Cookies

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This little buttery cookie is rather tasty and addictive, and goes nicely with a mug of Earl Grey tea.  The recipe comes from a book called Maman’s Homesick Pie, and it’s a part of my favorite genre of book- memoirs that have recipes in them!  I made no changes to the recipe other than just rolling one large log of dough instead of two skinnier ones, though next time I think I will add a little more ground cardamom.

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8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

½ cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

Grated zest of 2 oranges

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until it whitens, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the egg yolk and orange zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Combine the flour, salt, cardamom, and poppy seeds and fold in, mixing just enough to combine the dough. Form the dough into 1 log (that is a half-sized sheet pan so the log is 18 inches long), wrap in parchment paper, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

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Using a sharp knife, slice the log into ½-inch-thick rounds and place 1 inch apart on a nonstick or parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake approximately 15-18 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges. Note: This dough keeps well in the freezer for 2 to 3 weeks.