If there's a week when we need comfort, this is the week. Personally, I take great comfort in baking. The whir of beaters, the cracking of eggs, the pouring of chocolate, all engross me to the point where I think of little else but the process in which I’m engaged.
I recently heard a lecture featuring a Julia Child biographer. Apparently, when guests on her program expressed anxiety about being on television, Julia would say, “Think of the food. Focus on the food.”
For me, baking is a form of meditation. It’s methodic. It’s precise. It’s completely engrossing.
I see the act of baking as more important than the act of eating the result. Why? When you bake, you breathe. You focus. Your key ingredients are love and kindness. What could be better than that?
The next time you need to de-stress, I highly recommend making this recipe. Watch the beaters whir. Taste the batter. Smell the aroma of the melting chocolate as the cookies as bake in the oven.
Whether you sandwich delicious ice cream between the cookies or simply eat them warm with a big glass of fresh, local milk, share them with someone you love. You’ll feel better.
In the words of Julia, “Think of the food. Focus on the food.”
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
17 1/2 tbs (250 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c (165 g) dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 c plus 1 tbs (160 g) cane sugar
2 c (285 g) flour
1 tsp (4 g) vanilla extract
1/2 c (50 g) good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp (5 g) baking soda
2 c (200 g) chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 355 degrees (180 c). Line baking trays with parchment or silicone baking mat and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients until just blended. Do not over-mix. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Form balls of dough (golf-ball size) and place on cookie sheet about 3 “ apart. Press each cookie gently with the palm of your hand to flatten.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending upon your oven. Do not over-bake. Cool on wire rack.
1. The dough can be rolled for into a log for "slice and bake" cookies and refrigerated for up to one week. The "slice and bake" cookies aren't as pretty as the hand-rolled cookies but they taste delicious. Also, after 3 days in the refrigerator, the cookies will become crispier.
2. I have also made these cookies without baking soda (happy accident). These were the cookies I used for ice cream sandwiches because they were a bit chewier and flatter. To make an ice cream sandwich, make or buy your favorite ice cream and soften it slightly. Place a scoop between two cookies and press. You can also roll the edges in your favorite coating (in this case, I used vanilla ice cream and ground-up candy canes). Yes, ice cream in winter. New England is the biggest consumer of ice cream in the country.
3. Finally, if you exclude the chocolate chips, this is a great cookie to grind up and use as the base for a cookie crust in a cheesecake or ice cream cake.