Last Saturday we visited 2 of 19 farms that participated in the Central PA Farm Tour. We met a sixth generation farmer who showed us how apples are pressed into cider and blended into butter, and we learned from an organic farmer how to properly trellis tomatoes and keep away the deer. I also talked to three kids about their favorite fruits and vegetables while plum juice ran down their chins, and I asked visitors of all ages why they support the local food system. Oh, and I chronicled all of this for WPSU’s Local Food Journey blog.
I played the role of radio producer with a recorder around my neck, a microphone in my hand, and headphones holding back my bangs. Unfortunately, I discovered on Monday morning that the memory card which held all of my sound bytes was corrupt. I feared I had lost everything. But, alas! I have the smartest and most diligent colleagues, and they were able to recover enough audio to warrant my radio debut.
Of course I owed them a great big thank you. And of course I showed my gratitude with chocolate chip cookies.
This recipe comes from Jenna at Eat, Live, Run. She recently reminded her readers of her food philosophy, and I have to repeat it here before I share the recipe. She says, “I choose to cook with simple ingredients that celebrate how food should really taste.” And “I fully believe you can eat anything you want in moderation.” I couldn’t agree more, Jenna.
We eat spinach and oats and blueberries and chocolate. We buy real butter for our bread and real cream for our coffee. We like natural, wholesome (and local when possible) ingredients.
These chocolate chip cookies showcase one simple element in all its glory: butter.
Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on the butter in your fridge? My sister did recently, and she couldn’t pronounce half of the items on the list. She and my parents now buy a brand with a list that reads: cream. Can’t get much simpler than that, right?
To make these cookies, first brown 10 tablespoons of real butter. Your kitchen will seriously smell like a candy factory. And just wait until you blend it with sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. It transforms itself into a sticky, smooth caramel consistency.
The resulting cookie has a greater depth of flavor than what comes from the recipe on the back of a bag of chocolate chips. They were such a hit with my colleagues that they asked what else they need fix to get more baked goods.
For those who want to know, my radio story will air tomorrow on WPSU during Morning Edition. Yes, I’ll be sandwiched between Steve and Renee, and I am so psyched. Although I do think it will be a bit surreal to hear my own voice during my morning commute. I’ll post a link after it airs!
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 14 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375 and line two large baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
- Sift or whisk together flour and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Add 10 tablespoons of the butter to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Allow the butter to melt for 2 minutes and begin to swirl it around the pan, allowing it to brown. Keep the butter moving so it doesn’t burn. Browning should take about 3 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it smells nutty and has a dark golden brown color. Remove pan from heat and use a heatsafe spatula to transfer the butter to a large, heatsafe mixing bowl. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of cold butter to the melted butter, and stir gently until it is melted.
- Add the white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt to the butter and whisk together. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk again until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Allow the batter to rest for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds more. Do this two more times. The end result should be thick and shiny.
- Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined, about 1 minute. Gently stir in chocolate chips. The batter will be soft.
- Form each cookie with roughly 3 tbsp of dough. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake one tray at a time, 10 to 14 minutes, on the middle rack of your oven. Rotate baking sheet after 5 minutes and check the cookies at 10; you want them to be golden brown and set around the edges, but puffy in the middle.
- Allow to cool on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
(Adapted from Cooks Illustrated via Eat, Live, Run)
12 thoughts on “Chocolate Chip Cookies for Colleagues”
A) I am so excited to hear you on the radio – I’ve set my alarm clock on my phone with a reminder to wake up and listen. It’s pretty early since I’m in the central time zone, but I’m pretty excited so it’s worth it.
B) Those cookies look divine. I’ve been experimenting with chocolate chip cookies all summer. I’ll definitely be giving this recipe a try.
C) I love love love what Jenna said about eating anything you want in moderation and cooking simply. I think so many food bloggers are falling all over themselves to make the most complicated or photogenic dishes. I don’t really care how well my food photographs at the end of the day I want it to be prepared as responsibly as possible and to be really tasty!
Oh my gosh, those sound amazing. I’m compiling cookie recipes for the holidays and have bookmarked this post. Thank you!
Also, I believe I’ve met one of your coworkers, Bianca. We met at a Halloween fundraiser last year! And another WPSU rep came to the newspaper where I worked … I believe she was working on a documentary on newspapers, but I’m not sure. She was short, with dark curly hair.
You used to work for the Altoona Mirror, right? Yes, Bianca is my coworker. And you probably met Cynthia Berger from our radio team. Such a small world!
Yep, I was with the Mirror for 2.5 years! I was at The Sentinel in Lewistown before the Mirror. Lewistown is one of my favorite spots in central Pennsylvania … I think you’d like Reedsville/Belleville, where the Amish hang out (just down over the mountain from State College).
(2) I am so thrilled for you about your Morning Edition appearance! I wish I lived PA so that I could catch it live, but I will eagerly anticipate the link postage!
We just listened– you did a great job!!! Have fun this weekend!
i have to say i never thought to look at the ingredients in butter… thanks for enlightening me on the subject. And, congrats on your radio segment. Looks like you have a pretty cool job!
I heard your story this morning! (And I JUST read this blog post so I wasn’t expecting it.) Great job!! I love that you’re publicizing local food and farmers – it’s something I’ve just gotten into in the last year, and it’s great that this area has so much to offer in that regard. I think more people just need to know about it.
Those cookies look delicious too; can’t wait to try this recipe! My husband is a cookie lover from way back =)
You all are too sweet — thank you!!! The radio piece is now available at http://bit.ly/aCv5I1. I’ll include it again with more detail in a separate post later today.
YAY!!! congrats on the radio segment! the cookies look delish 🙂
Very cool to meet a 6th generation farmer!
Such a good point about the ingredients of “butter.” This is an ongoing issue between me and my mom. The woman is a great cook and loves to bake, but STILL buys the same terrible margarine that she’s used since I was born. I’ve tried everything, including wistful wishes that I could taste her tried-and-true desserts with actual butter rather than with gold sludge. Sigh…
Oh! Awesome cookies 🙂