Gourmet Veggie Mama

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Yep. That title says it all.

best chocolate chip cookies ever

They are the best. The. Best.

My love affair with chocolate chip cookies is well-documented. I have tried out more than my fair share of recipes, and I have a few old standbys… but this one takes the cake. When Nora wanted to bake cookies* last week, I decided to give a Pinterest find a try, just for kicks. And, man oh man, was I lucky.

* A favorite pastime of hers… though “helping” mostly involves licking the beater and taking “samples” of ingredients like sugar.

I was wary of trying a recipe that included shortening, since I am a butter believer, but it was worth it. So worth it. Plus, you can get shortening without all the nasty stuff (no hydrogenated oils and such) from Spectrum Organic (sold at Whole Foods), so it’s not as bad as it sounds. And the results are indisputable. These cookies were thicker and richer than any I’ve ever been able to achieve with butter alone.

The cookies came hot and fresh out of the oven and cooled on a rack until just warm enough to stick in a tupperware to take with us to a dear friend’s house for a play date with her kiddos. The reviews were rave, and not a crumb was left. The 9-year-old was effusive — he kept telling me how rich and melting and delicious they were. I was duly flattered, since this is not a child from whose lips fall idle praise.

Try them. You won’t be disappointed.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: makes 3 dozen cookies
  • 14½ oz (2¾ cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 and line two baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, cream the butter and shortening together at high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the brown and white sugars and beat on high for an additional 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the chocolate chips. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
  5. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough and round them out with your hands, placing about an inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and cool until set, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to eat. Enjoy warm with a nice, tall glass of milk!


Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I happened to notice a recipe for oatmeal cookies on the back of my box of McCann’s Irish Oatmeal one morning while cooking breakfast, so naturally I had to give it a whirl. Also naturally, I had to switch things up a bit. I’m not a fan of raisins in my oatmeal cookies, but I love chocolate chips… and I just happened to have semi-sweet and white chocolate chips on hand. I would’ve thrown some walnuts in, too, but we were out. They’d be lovely with or without.

Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I am trying to involve Nora more in cooking, and baking is one of the ways we can really have fun in the kitchen. Of course, everything takes twice as long (or more), but she loves to dump ingredients into the bowl, stir, turn on the mixer — and sample, of course. One of these days I’ll be able to sit back and have her whip me up a batch of cookies. Now that’s what parenting is all about — isn’t it?

The hubby, who self-described as “not a fan” of oatmeal cookies, loved these. So did all the neighborhood kids! Oh, and I certainly ate more than my share — to that I must confess.°

Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe type: cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
  • 1¼ cups butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light yellow and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and beat into the butter mixture on low speed, until just combined. Add the oats and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool slightly, then remove to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

When it’s hot outside, but you still want a chocolately treat, what’s a girl to do? Fudgcicles would work, sure, but I wanted cookies… So when I ran across this recipe for no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, I knew today was the day to try them out.

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies ~ Gourmet Veggie Mama

I made these for a neighborhood potluck, and they were a hit. I personally ate more than a few. Ahem. But they have almond butter, so… protein? Yes.

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Serves: makes 24 cookies
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1¼ oz baking chocolate (unsweetened), chopped*
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 3½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Melt the butter, sugar, milk and chocolate together in a large saucepan, stirring. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat and boil for one minute.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the almond butter, oats and vanilla.
  3. Line two cookie sheets with wax paper. Using an ice cream scoop, drop the mixture by the spoonful onto the cookie sheets. Allow the cookies to cool completely to set. Enjoy!
* If you don't have baking chocolate, you can substitute 4 Tbsp cocoa powder.


Austin Bakes for West: Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Cookies!

When I first posted about fleur de sel chocolate chip cookies, a number of you asked where you could place your order. Well, now I have an actual answer, and it’s for a great cause!

Austin Bakes for West

You may have heard (and if you live in Texas, you’ve certainly heard) about the fertilizer plant explosion that rocked West (comma) Texas last month. People lost their homes, their livelihoods, their pets and some (mostly first responders) sadly lost their lives. West has a special place in my heart. I’ve driven through this little town many, many times on the way to or from home in DFW and college in Austin, or between home in Austin and visiting in-laws and friends in DFW, and I always loved stopping for a kolache (cream cheese, please!) at the Czech Stop. It may not even be the best Czech bakery in town (West has a huge Czech population), but it sure is good, and it’s definitely convenient. One of my law school roommates, Amy, is from West, and I attended her wedding there a decade ago.* It’s a wonderful, friendly, tight-knit community, and it has been unimaginably devastated by the explosion.

*Sidenote: I am getting old.

We were just there, at the Czech Stop, on our way through last weekend. We stopped and got a half-dozen kolaches (please don’t ask how may of those I personally ate) for the road. We stood in a long line (much longer than usual) with various passers-through like us, as well as some firefighters from as far away as Calgary who were in town for the funerals, which had been held the previous day. It felt good to do a little something, to inject even a little money into this town’s struggling economy.

Now I can do a little bit more, and you can too. As we speak, I have a couple dozen fleur de sel chocolate chip cookies baking, and they’ll soon be on their way to a bake sale site.

Fleur de sel chocolate chip cookies

Austin Bakes for West is a city-wide bake sale benefiting recovery efforts in West. Please check the poster above for the site nearest you and come out and buy some cookies to help the folks of West out. And if fleur de sel chocolate chip cookies aren’t your thing (who ARE you?!), I won’t take it personally if you buy some of the plethora of delectable baked goods on offer from other area bloggers and bakers instead.

So, please come. And if you’re not in Austin, you can donate directly to Americare‘s relief efforts in West. Let’s help West get back on its feet!

Food of the Gods Chocolate Cookies

Okay, I’ll admit, I thought the name was overkill when I first saw this recipe over on Maggie Louise Bakes. I mean, “food of the gods?” No, really. It is. Don’t take my word for it — make these cookies!

Food of the Gods Chocolate Cookies

You may need a superhuman tolerance for chocolate, as there is a whole lotta cocoa in these babies, as well as three different kinds of chocolate chips… but that is not a problem for me. Far from it.

I took a batch of these to a barbecue a couple of weekends ago, and they disappeared quickly, receiving rave reviews. I may or may not have eaten a couple of them myself. And Nora’s telltale chocolate mustache let the world know she sampled some too.

Food of the Gods Chocolate Cookies
Recipe type: Cookies
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ cups high-quality dutch processed cocoa (can substitute natural cocoa)
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coffee liqueur (optional)
  • ⅔ cups white chocolate chips
  • ⅔ cup milk chocolate chips
  • ⅔ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until no chunks of butter remain, and the texture is that of a thick paste.
  4. Beat in the eggs one by one, and add the vanilla and coffee liqueur (if using).
  5. Turn the speed to low and gradually mix in the dry ingredients. Stir until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.*
  7. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, scoop the dough onto the cookie sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Cool briefly on the cookie sheets, and then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm with a glass of milk.


Christmas Delights

It has often been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. As a busy mama to a toddler (and constant disaster factory) during this most hectic of seasons, I’d like to amend that statement just a bit. Let’s just say, if your well-laid plans go out the window at the last minute, cross your fingers and hope to succeed in unexpected ways!

I was fortunate enough to succeed in unexpected ways recently, when my last-minute shopping didn’t get done because of some disaster or another. I didn’t have enough ingredients for the double batch of shortbread cookies I was planning to make for a cookie exchange the next day. Oh, fudge. Literally.

Serendipitously (or perhaps not, given the season), Lightly Crunchy had just posted a couple of recipes for 5-Minute Fudge. I had 5 minutes! What I did not have, however, was sweetened condensed milk. I did have evaporated milk, though, and sugar, and a quick search told me I could boil them down to make a substitute. Tempting fate? Probably, given that I have had more than my fair share of failed fudge in my candy-making career. But, all’s well that ends well!


These are the ugly end pieces, but they are still delicious.

I decided to make a bit of a variation on the original recipe, using Kahlúa and pecans, and the result was a hit at the cookie exchange. So were the shortbread cookies, of which I still made a single batch. Even though I hadn’t been able to find silver dragées to decorate them with per my very specific vision, and they didn’t come out as cute as I had hoped, I was still pleased with the product (inspired by December’s Bon Appétit cover photo of Dori Greenspan’s Speculoos Buttons).


Not bad. Not bad at all.

I just made a batch of my spiced shortbread dough, divided it in half and rolled it into logs in plastic wrap and froze the logs for a couple of hours. After brushing the logs with egg white, I rolled them in decorative sugar and then sliced them into cookies. After they were baked, I added a dot of royal icing and a smidge more decorating sugar (wishing all the while it was silver dragees instead).

I wouldn’t call any of that a failure. In fact, I’d call it a smashing success, since I just made two more batches of fudge to hand out to the neighbors tomorrow. I only have one dirty pot in my sink, and I’m only missing about 15 minutes of my time, which includes the time it took to wash the pan in between batches. Hooray for unexpected success!

One batch is of the Kahlúa pecan fudge (recipe follows), and the other is of Heidi’s classic 5-minute fudge, minus the currants. Although I’m sure the non-boozy fudge is lovely, I have a feeling the kids ended up with the short end of the stick on this one!

Kahlúa Pecan Fudge
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Combine the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt, stirring constantly to ensure the chocolate doesn't burn.
  2. Stir in the Kahlúa and pecans and remove from the heat.
  3. Line a 9x9 pan with plastic wrap and pour the chocolate mixture evenly in, using a spatula to spread it into the corners.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator until set. Cut into small squares to serve.
Based on this recipe from Lightly Crunchy: http://lightlycrunchy.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/5-minute-fudge-with-variations/


Brown Butter Bourbon Spice Cookies

You may remember, if you are an astute Twitter follower, that I was taking a month off from refined sugar. So how did that go? Well… it didn’t. My month turned into more like two weeks, when the hubby and I decided to take advantage of Austin Restaurant Week at Foreign & Domestic, and one of the courses was dessert. It seemed silly to miss out on a course I had to pay for anyway, so I had some kind of pie-in-a-jar, and it was wonderful. The next day was a friend’s son’s first birthday party, and she bakes and decorates exquisite cookies, so my willpower was weak. I ate a cookie. And a cupcake. And then a chocolate-covered Oreo. Yeah, it was bad.

This was not my first go-round with a no-sugar month, but it was my most disastrous failure. Oh well. All things in moderation, right? The point, for me, of going without refined sugar every once in a while is to rein in my tendency to become an absolute sugar monster. I mean, when I regularly have cookies or ice cream as a snack, that’s not a healthy habit. I’m not doing that anymore, so at least it was a success from that standpoint. Right? Right.

Anyway, sugar is tasty! Here is a recipe for some cookies. I am awesome at segues.

Sugary, sugary goodness.

These cookies are different and amazing, and with the combination of brown butter, spice, and just a hint of bourbon, they taste just like fall. They could only be more “fall” if I somehow worked pumpkin in there. I sent a batch of these to Kathy Can Cook as part of the Austin-Boston food swap, so hopefully they get there safe and sound!

Brown Butter Bourbon Spice Cookies
Based on this recipe

12 Tbs (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces by weight) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
3 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs bourbon

Preheat the oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, whisk constantly until it turns golden brown and has a nutty fragrance. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice together and set aside. Mix all of the sugars and the cooled brown butter and, using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, mix until well-blended. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, add the bourbon and mix until incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just done on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

* If you’re not a damn hippie like me, you can just omit this and up the brown sugar to 1 cup. If you’re an even bigger hippie, you could always try subbing more!

Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

I like oatmeal cookies… but I don’t like raisins. Well, actually, I don’t object to raisins themselves: they make a nice snack. I don’t like them baked into things, though. Just my personal issue.

Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are the best of both worlds for me, because, really, what’s a dessert without chocolate? I had the perfect excuse to try out a new recipe not long ago, since I was going to a committee meeting at the house of a friend who recently had a baby. With a newborn in the house, I knew it would be hard for her to put together a snack for the group, plus oatmeal is great for boosting milk supply in nursing mothers. Win-win!

Yes. Delicious win.

The cookies were yummy, but the first batch ended up a little too brown on the bottom, probably because I’m still adjusting to baking with my new silicone liners. I cooked the second batch at a slightly lower temperature, and they came out perfectly.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from a recipe from Baking Illustrated

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (16 Tbs) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined, and stir in the oats and chocolate chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, roll about 2 Tbs of dough into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheets, placing at least 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges of the cookies are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool a bit more before serving.

Double chocolate cookies with walnuts

I don’t usually improvise when I’m baking. I’m just not that kind of girl. I’m all about flying by the seat of my pants when I’m cooking, but my baking knowledge is not quite at the point where I feel comfortable making it up as I go.

That said… I set out to make Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from Nigella Express yesterday (a recipe which I had tried before and loved), and ended up making something a bit different. Sometimes a girl needs some chocolate, and she just has to make do with the ingredients she has on hand!

First, I only had frozen butter, and I didn’t want to wait for it to soften,* so I melted it with the chocolate instead of creaming it with the sugars. I detest getting two bowls dirty, so I basically just threw everything in the stand mixer, rather than mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately (the horror!), and then I ran out of chocolate chips.

*Yes, that happens to me a lot. I’m impatient.

Yep, the original recipe is quite chocolate-heavy, and even in a pantry as well-stocked with chocolate as mine, there are limits. So, rather than adding the 2 cups of chocolate chips the recipe called for, I added a cup of chocolate chips and a cup of walnut pieces. Better for variety, right?

As I was scooping the dough onto the cookie sheet, I had a sample (c’mon, who doesn’t?) and thought, well, even if these are a total fail, at least the dough tastes amazing!

Chocolate overload! Mission accomplished.

It all worked out beautifully, though. Perhaps this will give me a little more confidence to improvise in my baking from time to time. Regardless, now I have some chocolatey, chocolatey goodness to savor, and that’s what really matters.

Double Chocolate Cookies with Walnuts
Loosely based on a recipe from Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food Fast by Nigella Lawson

4 oz semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnut pieces

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and 4 oz chocolate, stirring. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and both sugars in a stand mixer. Stir in the chocolate mixture, along with the vanilla extract and the egg. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix to incorporate.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Multiple personality cookies

I have been making peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for years. It’s like all the best kind of cookies rolled up in one — schizophrenic, but delicious!

Are they cool enough to eat yet?

I think the recipe first came from Real Simple magazine, but I couldn’t find anything like it in their archives, and it’s been so long I’ve lost track! At first, I called them “power cookies,” since I tended to make them as a snack for the hubby and me before we went on a long bike ride. Not that they’re particularly healthy, mind you, but they have peanuts and peanut butter, which is good protein, and dark chocolate, which is antioxidant-rich, and whole grains… Am I perhaps grasping at straws here?

Regardless of any nutritional benefits they may or may not possess, you can’t argue that they’re not tasty. I made a batch last night and froze about half of them for future noms — gotta love planning ahead!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups peanuts
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°. Stir together the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

Put both sugars, the butter, and the peanut butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.

Reduce the speed to low. Add the oat mixture and mix until just combined. Mix in the peanuts, peanut butter chips, and chocolate chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, make balls of dough and place them about 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are golden and still a little soft in the center, 9 to 11 minutes. Cool slightly and serve. Makes 3 dozen.

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