Baking frenzy takeaways

I’ve found chocolate chip cookie nirvana. Chewy on the inside, crispy on the edges, and slightly spicy, which intensifies their flavor as they age (yes, as a full-blooded Korean, I unconsciously seek to ferment all my food). See below for my modified version of Smitten Kitchen’s crispy chewy chocolate chip cookies:

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Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies (inspired by craving for Mexican hot chocolate)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.

3. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.

4. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time (for giant cookies) or a tablespoon at a time (for smaller cookies) onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

5. Bake larger cookies for 15 to 17 minutes, or 10 to 12 minutes for smaller ones (check your cookies before they’re done; depending on your scoop size, your baking time will vary) in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Cinnamon chocolate chip cookies, straight from the oven.

I wish there were a way to visually convey the awesomeness of the cinnamon-chocolate combination. Rainbows? Unicorns? Is it possible that Lisa Frank was a cinnamon chocoholic?

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Prior to baking the cinnamon cookies, I baked three batches of Nutella chocolate chip cookies with varying levels of success. Some lessons learned:
1) Never substitute organic cocoa hazelnut spread for real Nutella. The hydrogenated oils in Nutella are critical to the texture, taste, and viscosity of the cookie dough. And I know hydrogenated oils raise a host of health concerns, but come on – you’re already eating chocolate chip cookies – if you’re going to indulge, you might as well go all the way. There’s nothing worse than a mediocre dessert trying to masquerade as health food.
2) Stick to baking chocolate and chocolate chips (rather than chocolate pieces meant for direct ingestion).
3) Don’t panic if dark chocolate chips look milky and pale when you take the cookies out of the oven; they’ll darken back to their original color once the cookies cool.
4) Use a wet tablespoon to loosely scoop out cookie dough onto baking sheet. In addition to keeping the size of the cookies consistent, this tactic assures that the cookie is not too dense but will still be able to stay in one piece without becoming “cookie granola”.
5) If frustrated, yield to the cinnamon chocolate chip cookie recipe above.
6) If you end up with too many leftover cookies, make chocolate chip cookie bread pudding.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread Pudding

Ingredients

4 c day-old french bread, cubed
16 chocolate chip cookies, coarsely broken
2 c milk, whole
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Mix bread cubes and broken cookies in large bowl; set aside
2. Blend milk, sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract; pour over bread mixture, stirring to coat evenly.
3. Pour into greased 1 1/2-quart round casserole. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set.
4. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with whipped cream if desired.

The bread pudding!

Non-hydrogenated cocoa hazelnut spread cookie fail – it completely fell apart in the oven :( We ate it like granola.

I tried using big (non-baking) chocolate pieces to make the cookies more chocolatey, but they ended up looking kind of diseased.

Using real Nutella and baking chocolate chips produced significantly prettier and yummier results.

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