For the record, I also was not in the market for a new chocolate chip cookie recipe, but when I saw Ashley in Vancouver last year and begged her to bring me a few tubes of her famous salted chocolate chunk cookie mix, then brought them home to christen my then brand-new kitchen with, I was hooked, and contemplated making the trek to Seattle just to get more.
But really – all a successful chocolate chip cookie depends on is a good ratio of butter:sugar:brown sugar:egg:vanilla:flour:chocolate. Sometimes unexpected ingredients are tossed in – these have a spoonful of turbinado sugar, that coarse, pale brown free-flowing stuff we usually pour into our coffee and I sprinkle on top of scones and cookies and pies when I feel like it. In this case it adds a subtle crunch you can’t quite put your finger on, but it’s there. (If you don’t have turbinado sugar, don’t sweat it – just leave it out.)
As always, chopped dark chocolate trumps chocolate chips – you get a range of wide, deep puddles and flecks throughout the dough. And as always I debated whether the dough actually does improve after a day or two in the fridge; I doubled this and doled them out for half the week, baking a batch one day to bring to the studio, then another the next to an afternoon meeting – both were dense, chewy, crispy-edged and fantastic, but waiting a day does improve the flavour somewhat. And having a bowl of cookie dough in the fridge guarantees winning friends and influencing people, not least of all those who come home from school tired and hungry, and there is no electronic anything that will ever take the place of warm cookies welcoming you when you walk through the door.
Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Ashley, from her beautiful book Date Night In, by way of Deb. (Note: the original calls for an oven temperature of 360°F, but my oven is running hot and I’m just getting a handle on how to compensate for it, and I don’t think I could get so precise a reading. Give it a try if you like.)
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar (aka Sugar in the Raw)
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 lb semi- or bittersweet chocolate, cut into rough chunks
flaky sea salt, to finish
Heat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the salt and baking soda, then the flour on a low speed until just mixed. Add the chocolate chunks, along with all the tiny bits.
Scoop large balls of dough onto the baking sheet and srinkle each with a few flakes of sea salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden but still soft and gooey in the middle.
Makes about 2 dozen good-sized cookies.