Sweetly Satisfying – & salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

A perfect Valentine’s Day treat with a balance of sweet & salty in very bite.  If you love a great chewy chocolate chip cookie then this recipe is for you.

Cookies

This is better than the average chocolate chip cookie recipe because of a few changes to basic ingredients.  The sugars are a combo of organic brown, *coconut and cane.  Usually I don’t add any nuts but this time I added some chopped macadamia nuts for deliciously added crunch. Then some extra vanilla in the form of pure vanilla bean paste and sprinkled the tops of each cookie with lavender sea salt just before baking (but any sea salt is good).  My hand mixer wasn’t working properly which resulted in having to manually mix most of the ingredients….which turned out surprisingly good (as over mixing is not recommended especially when adding dry ingredients).

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature (try using one stick of unsalted & one salted).

1 cup sugar  (I like using a combo of organic cane and coconut sugar). *Coconut sugar is more nutritious and lower on the glycemic index than regular sugar.

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

½ tsp pure vanilla bean extract (optional)

2 large eggs

2 cups of chocolate chips or chunks (try using a combo of the best quality you can find of bittersweet, milk, semisweet & white).  *I drizzled some melted dark chocolate over top for added punch (optional).

Go Nuts: ½ – 1 cup (depending on how much you like nuts) of finely chopped walnuts, pecans or *macadamia. (optional)

Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling on top.

Directions

Center one of the racks in the oven; preheat to 350 F.   Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.  Working with a stand mixor (preferable fitted with a paddle attachment) or hand mixor in a large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed for about 3 minutes until well blended.  Beat in vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Reduce mixer to low; add dry ingredients in three portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated (don’t overmix).  By hand or with rubber spatula mix in chocolate and nuts.  Spoon dough in slightly rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake cookies rotating sheets and switching position from top to bottom at the midway point (about 8-10 minutes is halfway), or until they are brown and the edges are golden in the center.  They may still be a little soft in the center, and that’s fine.  Remove from oven and allow cookies to rest 1 minute, then carefully transfer them to racks or cookie tray to cool, using a wide metal spatula.  Repeat with remaining dough, cooling baking sheets between batches.

The cookies can be kept in a sealed container for about 4 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to two months.

TIPS:

1)       all recipes call for unsalted butter at room temperature. I keep the butter cold in the fridge until a short time before mixing and cut it into little cubes.  Apparently Mrs. Fields makes her cookies like that so now I do too.

2)       Rest dough before baking by leaving batter in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  It allows the flavors to meld and the sugars to become more like molasses.  You can also freeze half or all of the batter.

3)       Use a lower temperature and leave them cook a bit longer than recipe calls for (if it calls for 375F, use 350F.  If it calls for 350F, use 325F).

4)       Never place your batter on a warm cookie sheet.  Instead, let it cool between batches.  A hot sheet causes the dough to melt before it goes into the oven, which tends to uneven baking, compromising the texture.

5)       If your cookies are a little too crispy you can always put a piece of bread in the cookie tin – this will help soften them.

Makes about 40 cookies

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