Sometimes it’s hard being the only serious baker I know. I mean, I guess everyone bakes from time to time, but since it’s my job to make multiple desserts a week, it’s rare that someone swings by with a plate of cookies for me. The problem is when I run out of desserts in the house.
This past week, my husband and I (and, uh, the fetus) must have been particularly sugar crazed, because we tore through the Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream and Berry Stripe Cheesecakes in no time flat. So I found myself sitting on the couch one evening bemoaning the fact that no one ever makes me cookies and how my life is unfair. I almost tried to convince my husband to make me cookies, but based on the memories of his previous disasters, I quickly retracted my plea.
The last time my husband made cookies was in May, while I was in Miami. I guess he missed me (and my baking), so he decided to make his favorite of my cookie recipes, Molasses Cookies. He recounted his baking adventure to me, and I laughed so hard I cried.
First, he decided he only needed a half batch since it was just him in the house. But he quickly forgot that decision and melted a full batch’s worth of shortening. He eyeballed what half of the shortening was, dumping out the rest. For his dry ingredients, he remembered to halve everything, but when it came time to add the spices he didn’t feel it was necessary to measure. He dumped in some ginger and cumin… wait, cumin? Crap, that was supposed to be cinnamon. So he tried to scoop out as much cumin as he could and added cinnamon. Next came cloves, but he was too lazy to go to the basement to get the ground cloves. He did, however, find a baggie of whole cloves in our upstairs spice drawer and decided to try to smash some of them up with his fingers, with minimal success.
At this point, he needed to mix the wet ingredients together but didn’t want to dirty two bowls. Instead, the wet ingredients were added directly to the dry ingredients, but he realized that the full batch calls for 1 egg, so he would need half an egg for a half batch. He estimated half an egg and mixed it all up. Miraculously, everything came together into a cohesive dough and he popped them in the oven. He didn’t think they looked done at my recommended baking time (like I would lie?), so he left them in for a couple more minutes, only to realize after they had cooled that they should have been taken out the first time he checked them.
When I got home, there were still cookies in the cookie jar (because my husband, unlike me, has self-restraint), so I got to sample his wares. Somehow, he ended up with some semi-decent cookies, which I attribute to the magical no-fail powers of that recipe. The cumin flavor wasn’t a terrible addition, but I could have done without the occasional rogue chunk of clove.
Needless to say, I took matters into my own hands when the cookie craving hit this week. And since my husband is a chocolate fiend and I was feeling generous, I went with a chewy chocolate base. The great thing about this recipe is its simplicity. I didn’t add any wacky spices or extracts or nuts or toffee bits or anything. (And to think I just said I don’t have restraint!) Sometimes you just need some simple chocolate on chocolate action. But if you are adventurous in the kitchen, start off with this cookie recipe and add “mix-ins” to your heart’s content. I would recommend steering clear of hand-crushed clove bits, however.
- 2½ cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (75 grams) cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (210 grams) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ cups (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or chips)
- Set oven racks to the upper and lower middle of your oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla extract and beat on low speed until uniform.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in dry ingredients until just combined. Add chocolate chunks/chips and mix until they are distributed.
- Scoop about 1½ tablespoons of dough per cookie onto your baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for 14 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking. Cool pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer cookies directly to wire rack to cool completely.*
- *You can definitely eat them warm, but I find that the flavor of chocolate cookies, like that of brownies, is better when completely cool or even the following day.