Game Changer Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve had a love affair with cookies for as long as I can remember.  I can do without cake, pie I can get excited about on occasion, but cookies?  Cookies make my culinary world go ’round.  Cookies are my happy place.  I’m well aware that a beach on the Madgascar coast would be a more cardiac health friendly happy place, but such is my lot in life.  And I’ll gladly take it.  Cookies take me back to my grandparents’ kitchen, licking beaters and learning my grandmother’s trade secrets…to college exam care packages from my dad, filled with espresso whopper cookies that would prove to be my secret weapon in organic chemistry…to every family gathering ever hosted by my mom, who always makes my favorites, knowing they’ll disappear long before they ever should…to surprising friends and co-workers with cookies on a whim, because plates brimming with homemade cookies never fail to bring people joy.
Cookies are where I go when I’m happy, cookies are where I go when I’m inspired, cookies are where I go to flush out creative urges and culinary ruts.  Cookies are it for me.  Cookies are my love affair.  My buttery, crumbly, passionate, lustful, sometimes guilty pleasure, not-so-secret love affair.

That said, it should come as no surprise to you that I’ve been chasing the perfect chocolate chip cookie my entire adult life.  My grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe – the holy grail of chocolate chip cookies – has eluded me for 15 years.  I’ve watched her make them, made them in her kitchen under her supervision, followed her recipe down to assessing barometric pressure and I cannot, for the life of me, reproduce her family-famous recipe.  I’ve altered course in hopes of distracting my palate – worked off the back of chocolate chip packages, browned butter, altered granulated to brown sugar ratios, stuffed with Nutella and done hours of research, but I cannot erase the nostalgic snobbery for the epitomized cookies of my childhood.


Annual day-after-Thanksgiving fruit cake cookie making with my grandparents. Though fruit cake cookies don’t make the highlight real, the memories and traditions most certainly do.

That said, with this recipe, I’ve come pretty damn close.  An adaptation of Ambitious Kitchen’s adaptation of Johnny Iuzzini’s Killer Chocolate Chip Cookies, these cookies are perfectly golden and crunchy on the periphery with ever the slightest amount of softness to the middle and the faintest hint of coconut.  They leave traces of salty sweet happiness lingering on your finger tips and lips and force you into the corner debating between dinner and more cookies, to which the answer is always: more cookies.  Equally appealing is the ability to make these on a whim, since there’s no time required to let the butter soften or brown.  It would be presumptuous of me to pronounce my first blogged cookies as life changing.  So let’s call them what they are: game changers.
The holy grail of chocolate cookies still awaits, but in the meantime, I’m more than content feasting on these.

 Game Changer Chocolate Chip Cookies

photo (10)Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen’s rendition of Johnny Iuzzini’s Killer Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 10.5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • Coarse sea salt for topping

Method to the Madness

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Sift together dry ingredients, including table salt, and set aside.

3. Stir butter and sugars in the bowl of a standing mixer until pieces of butter are thoroughly coated.  Using the the wire whip attachment, mix the butter and sugars on medium-low until soft and thick, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl.

4. Add the vanilla and coconut extract and mix to combine.

5. Mixing well between each addition, add the egg, then egg yolks.

6. Add dry ingredient 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well before adding more.  After all the dry ingredients have been added, the dough should just be combined.  Do not over-mix.

7. Fold in chocolate by hand.

8. Scoop 1-1.5 inch balls (I used a small dough scoop) and drop onto baking sheets lined with baking mats or parchment paper.

9. Bake for 13 minutes, until edges are just starting to golden.  Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

10. Cool on wire racks.



-13 minutes in my oven resulted in cookies that were crispy on the edges and ever so slightly soft in the middle.  For crispier cookies, increase baking time to 14-15 minutes.

-Depending on the ooze of your chocolate, you may need to wipe down the baking mats between batches to prevent burning.

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