Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book
I have dreamt of these Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. No kidding. They’re that good.
Mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies will always be my favorite chocolate chip cookies. Yes, there’s definitely a nostalgic factor built in. But they are very, very good! I’m betting that if you asked any of my close childhood friends, including all my cousins, those chocolate chip cookies would rank way up high on their lists, too. Mom’s cookies were a regular request. And if we ever ran out, Mom was quick to reload her stash. It’s good to be loved for your cookies, don’t you think?
Right now I have a special love for Sarah Kieffer and her Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. These cookies are worthy of dreaming about. Because believe me, I have.
I first enjoyed one of these big-as-your-head chocolate chip cookies this past summer. And they were made by Sarah herself, how awesome is that?
Sarah’s book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, was to be released shortly, and I was chomping at the bit to get ahold of it, for this recipe alone.
It was obvious to me that these cookies contained a large quantity of butter and some really great chocolate. But I was beside myself as to how I could accomplish this very different kind of chocolate chip cookie on my own. That ultra flat cookie, with a soft and chewy center, surrounded by crinkly, wrinkly prettiness that is the perfect texture of crispy.
Sarah is a local Minnesota food blogger friend who is known for her baking. And she is as lovely in person as she is on these pages.
The Vanilla Bean Baking Book is a collection of delightful recipes accompanied by Sarah’s signature simple-yet-elegant photography and thoughtful writing. I have spent many of this winter’s evenings reading through her cookbook, flagging all the beautiful things.
So many beautiful things!
(I am giving away a copy of Sarah’s book here – be sure to enter for your chance to win a copy of this lovely book!)
And at the top of my list are these chocolate chip cookies, made extra beautiful and enticing by their folds of pooled dough, baked to absolute perfection.
Some of the magic in this recipe is due to the enormous size of each cookie. I’ve never made a singular cookie with this much dough!
The rest of the magic comes from the generous amount of butter in the cookie dough, plus Sarah’s baking method, a bit unique. A few key items in the recipe’s directions include lining baking pans with foil dull-side-up, freezing the dough balls before baking (not so unconventional, but absolutely key in getting cookies that bake just the right way), and slamming the baking pans of dough balls in the oven every two minutes while baking. That last one – I’m not even kidding. Just trust me like I trusted Sarah. It works.
After your own freezing of gigantic dough balls and slamming of pans, you too can enjoy chocolate chip cookies just like this. And be sure to share. Because remember, it’s always good to be loved for your cookies.
Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book
Yield: 10 very large cookies
- 2 c. (284 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups (297 g) sugar
- 1/4 c. (50 g) packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 T. water
- 6 oz. (170 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces averaging 1/2″ with some smaller and some larger
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three baking pans (I find that commercial-grade 11″ x 17″ rimmed pans give me the best results with this recipe) with aluminum foil, dull side up. This helps create the crinkles in the cookies and lends an extra-crisp, golden brown bottom.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a beater blade, beat the butter on medium until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and water and mix on low to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the chocolate and mix on low into the batter.
Form the dough into balls weighing 3-1/2 ounces (100 g) each. This is approximately a heaping 1/3 cup each. I wanted my cookies to match Sarah’s as much as possible and even got out my scale to measure the weight of each ball. If you make the dough balls smaller, you won’t get as many ridges on the outer layer, and your center won’t be as gooey. Place four balls an equal distance apart on prepared pan and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Do not skip freezing the dough, as it’s essential in keeping the dough from spreading too much, and aids in the creation of the crinkly outer layer. After putting the first baking pan in the oven, put the second one in the freezer.
Place the chilled baking pan in the oven and bake 10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed slightly in the center. Lift the side of the baking sheet up about 4″ from the oven rack and let it drop down against the rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the inside falls back down. To quote Sarah, “this will feel wrong, but trust me”. After the cookies puff up again in 2 minutes, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times to create ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake 16 to 18 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked.
Transfer the baking pans to a wire rack; let cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan.