It's National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, and that means ... Well, not really a whole heck of a lot in the big-picture sense. Chocolate chip cookies won't help solve any economic woes, and they certainly won't help our bottoms' bottom line either.
But that's so Oscar the Grouch. Let's look to the sunnier Cookie Monster and just embrace the chocolate chip cookie for the small bite of sugary wonderment it can be. Whip up a batch -- even the tube kind that, in my house, never even makes it to the baking pan -- and the resultant smells kick up a kind of cozy nostalgia that is priceless.
With that in mind, here's a Lauren Chattman recipe that is sure to fill the kitchen with amazing smells -- and offer up some batter that doesn't necessarily have to make it to the oven.
CHOCOLATE-CHIP AND CANDIED-ORANGE COOKIES
After years of shunning candied fruit that was prominently displayed in my supermarket baking aisle during the holiday (I still don't like the look of those sticky green and red candied cherries), I picked up a container of candied orange peel out of curiosity and added it to chocolate-chip cookie dough. The peel added some powerful citrus flavor to my cookies. I cut its sweetness with some bracing crystallized ginger.
--Lauren Chattman (Dec. 13, 2010)
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup candied orange peel, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Combine butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl and cream together with an electric mixer on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips, orange peel and crystallized ginger.
3. Divide dough into 2 portions. Turn 1 portion onto a piece of wax paper and shape it, patting it inside the paper, into a log about 9 inches long, 1 inch high, and 3 inches wide. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 24 hours. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the dough into 1/3-inch-thick rectangles. Place cookies on the baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Bake until they are pale golden around edges but still soft on top, 10 to 12 minutes. Slide them, still on paper, onto wire racks to cool completely.
5. Place remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until just melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on the power of your microwave. Dip a fork in chocolate and drizzle with a wave back and forth over cookies for a decorative effect. Let stand until chocolate hardens, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Makes 48 cookies.