Everything about this cake is perfect – in a an olive oily, rosemary-scented, whole grain, chocolate chunk studded kind of way.
It manages to be both humble and complex. The cake was barely sweet, with the chocolate chunks elevating the sweetness level to “just right.” And it’s humble complexity made it the perfect cake for a family dinner celebrating my grandmother’s birthday. Not to mention the perfect cake for breakfast the next morning.
And I didn’t bake just any chocolate chip cookies. I baked BAKED’s chocolate chip cookies. They were everything a chocolate chip cookies should be, thick, soft and chewy in the middle, caramelized and crispy around the edges, and studded with chocolate chips. I brought these to a “calculus study session” and they were all gone by the time my friends and I hadn’t even started “studying calculus.” In our defense, how could you study derivative and integrals when there is an entire container of freshly baked cookies within your reach?
Answer: It’s impossible to focus on the derivative of anything except that of the rate at which the cookie will be entering your mouth. See? Calculus can be useful in real life.
On a graph of f'(x), displaying the derivative of my stomach’s contentedness and fullness level, I found the value that corresponds to a relative maximum on the graph of f. In other words, these cookies made me (and my stomach) very happy and full. Now, if only calculus were as easy as baking and eating chocolate chip cookies…
Chocolate Chip Cookies from BAKED New Frontiers in Baking (makes 24)
Ingredients (Matt and Renato recommend to use the best quality ingredients you can find, I recommend the same. In something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie, it’s important to use great quality ingredients that will elevated your chocolate chip cookies from just simple, to outstanding.)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups (16 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together.
Beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.
Add half the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate chips.
Cover the bowl tightly and put in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets.
Use an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism (or not) to scoop out dough in 2 tablespoon size balls. Use your hands to shape the dough into perfect balls and place them on the prepared baking sheets (I found that I had to press them down a bit or else they didn’t spread as much as I wanted them to), about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans once during the cooking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the tops just start to darken.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the individual cookies to the rack to cool completely (or you could transfer them to your mouth instead).
These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
I was perusing through some pictures, ya know, reminiscing about the summer and all that jazz, when I came across some pictures of food. Pictures of food that I had failed to share with you. Pictures of “LIGHT” CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE SQUARES that had somehow escaped my attention. Well, better late then never, or so they say.
This is a great dessert for all you New Year’s resolution makers – it’s light! (well, as light as chocolate cheesecake can possibly be while still preserving its deliciosity)
Chocolate Cheesecake Squares adapted from Martha Stewart (makes 9)
Nonstick cooking spray
8 chocolate wafer cookies – I used graham crackers
1 bar (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese – I used neufchatel
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1 large whole egg plus 1 large egg white
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line with two crisscrossed pieces of parchment or wax paper, spraying between sheets. Spray lined pan; set aside.
Process cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Gently press crumbs into bottom of prepared pan (do not rinse processor bowl).
Blend cream cheese and sour cream in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add cocoa, cornstarch, sugar, egg, and egg white; process until smooth. Pour into pan; sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Bake until just set, 35 to 40 minutes; cool completely in pan. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Invert onto a tray; peel off paper, and reinvert crust side down. Cut into 9 squares.