World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie (Seriously)

best chocolate chip cookie

I feel like I’ve been working on perfecting the world’s best chocolate chip cookie recipe for years. Since I was 6 actually. To me, there is nothing more comforting than a chocolate chip cookie. I’m sure the synonym for nostalgia is “chocolate chip cookie” in fact. And no matter how many times I thought I got it right, a new technique or trick seemed to fall in my lap. I mean, it is a rough life, eating all of those chocolate chip cookies. But someone has to do it. Someone has to find the best chocolate chip recipe in the world, right?

best chocolate chip cookie

The wait is over. I think I found THE WORLD’S BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. Yeah, I know there are a lot of other recipes out there claiming to be the best. But do those recipes have a ooey, gooey, chocolately center? Do the other recipes have toffee-like, slightly crispy, slightly chewy edges? Are the other cookies fluffy, nutty, and with a hint of salt?

Trust me. These are the best. I dare ya to try them and not agree!

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The World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (Seriously)
This is the world's best chocolate chip cookie recipe. The luscious, molten center is encircled in crispy, caramelly edges with obscene amounts of chocolate.
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, nutmeg, and salt into a bowl. Set aside. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Fold in chocolate and incorporate without breaking pieces. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside. Scoop 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer cookies onto another rack to cool completely.
    best chocolate chip cookie with milk

Why I Left The Restaurant Industry

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I used to be a restaurant chef. I hated it. Not because it wasn’t fulfilling…. It was. I actually thrived in it. It was hot, fast-paced, and loud. And I loved it. I was able to overcome the chaos and dive deep within myself to find clarity, peace, and creativity. I was nicknamed “ninja” because I could stealthily move throughout the busy kitchen faster and quieter than anyone else. But I wasn’t happy. The long hours and the low pay were hard to cope with. I wanted more. Mostly I wanted a “real” life. One that didn’t start at noon and end at 2am. But mostly I wanted the possibility of having a family.
Now I know it’s entirely possible to be a woman, a chef, and a mom. But I was never able to see how I could be 100% happy with that path. So I left. I left longgggg before my wife and daughter were even a blip on my radar. There are times I miss it. I miss not having a space to constantly create. I miss the camaraderie, especially with those that understand my love borderline insane passion of food. You don’t come across people who can talk for hours about the origin and uses for lemongrass or benne or uni like you do in a professional kitchen. I suppose that’s one benefit I hope to gain by writing this blog. Are you out there, ready to dig deep into a culinary convo with me?

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But what I don’t miss? The burns… the cuts… the exhaustion… the lack of contact with the outside world. Sure I may have taken a step others wouldn’t have. And that’s fine. I’m ok with that actually. I’m ok with not being “a real chef” in some eyes. Because I gained so much more. Yeah, I may never serve my pork cheek dish to a James Beard official… but seeing my daughter’s face light up when I pull a freshly baked loaf of bread out of the oven is more rewarding of a feeling than any culinary honor could bring. I’ll take her smile over a Michelin star any day.

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So what does this used-to-be chef make for dinner now that she has all of this “free time”. Sometimes it’s an intricate, lengthy, exotic recipe. Other times (most times) it’s a dish like this- a few simple ingredients, prepared gently to coax out the innate flavors inside. Bonus: it’s a great week day side dish! Active prep time is only about 10 minutes. Toss it all together and serve it alongside a roasted chicken, seared steak, or slow-roasted salmon (like I did this week!).

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Roasted Acorn Squash and Cauliflower with Preserved Lemon, Apricot, Chili Threads, and Basil

Yields 2 large portions

Ingredients:

    • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
    • 1 acorn squash, seeded and cut into cubes
    • ¼ cup dried apricots, cut in half
    • 6 Thai basil leaves, picked
    • Olive oil
    • Salt, to taste
    • Specialty ingredients (click image below to can find online!):
    • ¼ preserved lemon peel, cut into thin strips
    • Pinch of chili threads (or red pepper flakes if threads are not available)

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Toss cauliflower and acorn squash in olive oil and season with salt. Place on separate roasting pans, sprinkle apricots evenly on both trays (mix to incorporate) and roast for 15-20 minutes, until slightly charred. Remove from oven and toss together with preserved lemon, basil, chili threads, and salt to taste. Finish with olive oil and a few more chili threads.

Whiskey and Browned Butter Pecan Pie

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I may have said it before, but one of the reasons I grew up wanting to be a chef was because of the memory-triggering power of food. One bite of a favorite food and you’re instantly transported to your childhood, your first date with your husband or wife, the first Thanksgiving you ever cooked yourself, and thousands of other memories that warm you up and spread joy with a single bite. If I had to name my favorite memory-triggering food, I would say it must be my dad’s pecan pie. Pecan pie is actually not my favorite dessert nor my favorite pie! But a Thanksgiving without the smell and sight of my dad’s famous pecan pie quietly waiting on the dessert table just wouldn’t feel right. My version of my dad’s masterpiece dessert includes browned butter and whiskey, two ingredients that add a little extra oomph to an already perfect recipe.

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One reason this recipe is sooooo yummy: buttah

Whiskey and Browned Butter Pecan Pie

Yields 1 pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • ¼ cup ice water

Filling:

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup corn syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves, toasted
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. whiskey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

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Keep an eye on your butter as it browns – don’t let it burn!

With a food processor, combine flour, salt, butter, and sugar and pulse machine until the mixture looks like small pebbles.  Add the ice water slowly until the dough comes together into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or place in the freezer for 15 minutes. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle. Fold dough into quarters and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about ½ inch. Fold overhang under the edge of pie pan and crimp. Place crust in the freezer for 20 minutes. To par-bake the crust, preheat oven 400°F. Line frozen crust with parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and remove the pie weights and paper/foil, then let cool before filling. (Note: I prefer to par-bake my pecan pie crusts because the filling is syrupy and thin. Par-baking before you fill the crust will result in a crisp bottom-  a delicious contrast to the soft filling.)

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Lower oven temperature to 350°F. To prepare the filling, start by melting the butter over medium heat. Keep a close eye on the butter as it melts and boils – the goal is to brown the milk fat in the butter (this will take 2-3 minutes). Once the butter starts for brown and smells nutty, immediately stir in the sugar, salt, and corn syrup to stop the butter from burning. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a separate bowl and cool for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the whiskey, vanilla, and cider vinegar. Beat in each egg, one at a time. Stir in the toasted pecans. Pour mixture into par-baked crust and place in oven for 45-50 minutes, or until center is set (toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle). Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy hot or at room temperature. This pie can be made 2 days in advance.

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Cranberry Chutney

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Raise your hand if you have a soft spot for canned cranberry sauce. I do! But even though my inner child tends to crave the canned stuff every year, I always make sure to have a homemade cranberry component to my Thanksgiving table as well. This particular cranberry chutney recipe acts like more of a condiment rather than a side dish…which I suppose can be the case for all Thanksgiving cranberry sauces anyway. This recipe blends tangy, sweetness, a little spice, and plays well with all of the other delicious flavors on the Thanksgiving table. Serve it hot, cold, on a baked sweet potato with greek yogurt, on top of your turkey, or as its own side dish. 

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Cranberry Chutney

Yields 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp. oil (canola, avocado, vegetable, or butter)
  • ½ red onion, small dice
  • 2 tbsp. freshly peeled and finely grated ginger
  • 1 granny smith apples, small dice
  • peel from 1 orange
  • juice from 1 orange
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup currants or dried cranberries
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 2 lbs fresh cranberries
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add red onion and sauté for 1 minute. Add ginger, apple, orange juice, orange peel, brown sugar, currants, raisins, cranberries, and cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add jalapeño, allspice, cloves, and salt. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until cranberries are soft and sauce is
thick.
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“Green Bean Casserole”

img_4555As much as we look forward to that glistening, golden turkey every Thanksgiving, I’m sure we can all admit that the real stars of the big show are those side dishes. I’m almost certain that 80% of my calorie intake that day comes from side dishes. Year after year, its those pesky sides that make me want to moo under the covers for the next 3 days. (Contrary to popular belief, turkey is actually not at fault for feeling sleepy after Turkey Day. There is more tryptophan in cheddar cheese than in your Thanksgiving bird.) And yet, we can never pass up those delicious sides, no matter how full they make us feel.

The good news is that you can essentially have your cake and eat it too! If you pay a little more attention to the ingredients that go into those side dishes and alter them slightly with healthy alternatives, you can present similar family favorites with a little less guilt. For example: green bean casserole. A close second to my favorite stuffing, green bean casserole has graced almost every one of my Thanksgiving tables for as long as I can remember. It is also one of the main contributors to that glutinous guilt I feel every year. So I made it a goal of mine to create an updated, healthier version with just as much flavor and a little less fat. And I have to say, this recipe is a pretty tasty alternative…. You might even say it’s better than the original. But wait, there’s more! Not only is this a one-pot dish but you can separately par-cook the ingredients earlier in the day and then warm it just minutes before dinner begins. One less T-Day recipe to stress about! At this rate you’ll be able to enjoy those appetizers while watching The Kennel Club Dog Show right along with your guests!

img_4550“Green Bean Casserole”

Yields 5 portions
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 oz wild mushrooms (I used oyster), trimmed if needed but leave whole
  • 1 lb French green beans
  • ½ red onion, thinly julienned
  • 3 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 6 tbsp. neutral oil (avocado, vegetable, or canola)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. asiago or parmesan cheese, shaved
In a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp oil. When the oil is shimmering, add in the julienned onions. Spread the onions in an even layer and cook, without stirring, for 30 seconds. The goal here is to create a crispy, “fried” texture instead of a soft consistency. The less you stir the onions, there more the sugars in the onions will caramelize and get crispy. When the onions are crisp, place in a separate bowl and set aside until serving.
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In the same sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp oil. When it’s shimmering, add the crimini mushrooms, a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté until cooked (about 5 minutes. They will be soft on the inside with slight browning on the outside). When the criminis are almost fully cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the wild mushrooms. If you’re using a delicate mushroom like the oysters that I did, you don’t want to cook them too long or they will turn limp and lose their beautiful shape. Set the mushrooms aside in a separate bowl until later.

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When Thanksgiving dinner is 5 minutes from being served, add 2 tbsp oil to that same pan over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, sauté the garlic for 1 minute. When the garlic is soft, stir in the green beans. Sauté until al dente (5 minutes). At about the 1-2 minute mark, stir in 2 tbsp of water to “pan steam” the beans. This will help breakdown the fibers in the beans and cook them properly without burning them or drying them out. When the beans are al dente, stir in the mushrooms, onions, pepper and more salt to taste, and the sherry vinegar. Cook for additional 1-2 minutes. And don’t forget that generous finishing touch of shaved cheese on top!

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Pumpkin Seed and Mandarin Pesto

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One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving so much is because of all of the nostalgia that’s wrapped up in one delicious menu — stuffing that my grandfather made, my Grandma’s gravy, that traditional green bean casserole, my in-laws’ sweet potato casserole, or an old family friend’s cranberry sauce. Not only is Thanksgiving a day to enjoy the company of close friends and family but you get to re-live fond memories of your family’s past through food. I fell in love with cooking because of that innate power of food: the ability to bring people together and nourish them, body and soul.

In spite of the joy that the Thanksgiving menu brings, it can also feel slightly static for some. I will be the first to admit that I love my favorite dishes to be present at the table this time of year, but I have also sought ways to add creativity to the family’s standard menu without changing it entirely. (You wouldn’t want to anger Aunt Bethany when you switch out her favorite seafood jello with fruit salad, after all.) But you could try adding something like a different appetizer, a new cookie, or in this case a different sauce like a pesto to add some flair to the standard Thanksgiving menu.

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This year, I’m adding this Pumpkin Seed and Mandarin Pesto. My guests will be able to add this new addition to their turkey, stuffing, or veg sides without sacrificing the family’s favorite recipes. It’s a win-win!

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Pumpkin Seed and Mandarin Pesto

Yields 1 cup
Ingredients:
  • 3-4 cups basil leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • zest from 1 mandarin
  • juice from 2 mandarins
  • 2 tbsp. shredded parmesan, pecorino or salty, hard cheese of choice.
  • ½ cup olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. salt
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. If the pesto is not reaching the desired smooth consistency, add a couple more drops of oil and blend. Season with more salt and pepper if you would like. Enjoy!
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Homemade Applesauce

Turkey Day 911

 

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With less than two weeks until Thanksgiving, I’m sure you’re all just as excited as I have been to plan that turkey day menu. As a chef, this is my Super Bowl. A no-holds-barred marathon of food preparation, consumption, and then sleep….lots and lots of sleep. But as excited as we all get for the greatest food day of the year, I know the stress and struggle faced when staring down at that guest list, the long list of ingredients, and the millions of recipes to weed through before the big day. How big of a turkey do I buy? Do I brine it or not? What IS a brine? Fried turkey or roasted? What the heck does spatchcock mean and do I do it to a turkey??

Trust me, even as a professional chef, I too worry whether everything will taste the way I want it too, while simultaneously serving all of my side dishes on time and still hot, AND giving my guests that picture perfect turkey they’ve been dreaming about since June. And don’t even get me started on those Vogue runway model turkeys that grace the cover of food magazines every November. As much as I respect those publications, they certainly don’t make it easy on the home cook who is making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time.

Have no fear! I’m here to give you a helping hand! For the next 48 hours, I will be taking your Thanksgiving Day questions! Have any turkey-related questions like I mentioned above? Ask away! Have questions about updating your old school side dishes? I have a library full of ideas for you! Can’t decide between serving pecan, apple, or pumpkin pie for dessert? I will give you tips on how to make all three if you want! Worried about stove and oven space for all of that delicious food? I’ll help you plan out your day and cooking space so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. This is the best food day of the year, after all! It should be fun — not chaotic. Leave your questions on my Instagram post, Facebook, or in the comment section below. I’ll gather them all up and post the answers in a few days for all to read.

Hard Pumpkin Cider and Sage Bread

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I love bread. Well, I actually love all baked goods but honestly, is there anything better than homemade bread? The only problem with making bread from scratch is that it usually takes hours, or even days, to make. And even if you follow the recipe exactly, bread ingredients are so fickle and the procedures are so intricate that your finished bread might not even turn out as you hoped. Don’t get me wrong, I love my time spent in the kitchen when I’m baking a sourdough loaf, but sometimes I just want a quick bread that can easily be a finishing touch to a main dish. Enter beer bread. Typically containing only a small handful of ingredients, beer bread can be prepped in the amount of time it takes you to pop the cap off of your favorite brew. The trick that makes this bread so successful is in the beer itself. The yeast and sugars, combined with a leavening agent like baking powder, transforms the dense dough to a fluffy, crusty bread. And since there are basically a bazillion types of beer out there, no two beer breads have to be alike. I happened to have some hard pumpkin cider in my fridge so I opted for seasonal flavors with this recipe. But seriously, the sky’s the limit. Can you think of a better way to use up that beer you have crowding up your fridge? Besides drink it, of course.

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Hard Pumpkin Cider and Sage Bread

Yields 10 slices

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz beer or hard cider
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. minced sage, fresh or dried
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 tbsp. shaved pecorino romano cheese (or your favorite salty, hard cheese)
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

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Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease the inside of a 9×5 loaf pan with butter. In a medium bowl, mix the sifted flour, baking powder, sage, salt, and 2 tbsp. pecorino cheese together. Pour in the beer or hard cider and stir until a thick batter forms. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Pour the butter over the top, sprinkle with remaining shaved cheese, and place in the oven. Bake the bread for 50-55  minutes, or until the top has a golden crust. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack for an additional 10 minutes before slicing.

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Mulled Wine Biscotti

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Apparently as soon as the weather dropped below 65°, I went into full holiday baking mode. These past few weeks have been taken over by my former pastry chef life… and I love it! Thanks to nostalgia, I feel the need to be in the kitchen baking nearly every day. Recently I was inspired to come up with a baking project that uses one of my favorite holiday scents: mulled wine! Mulled wine has been associated with my holiday season for as long as I can remember, even before I was old enough to enjoy its taste. Whether it was the smell that permeated from my dad’s kitchen, warming up my hands as I walked through a Christmas market in Germany, or the warm mug perched on the floor in front of me as we watched holiday movies in front of the fire — mulled wine will forever be one of my most cherished holiday scents.

img_4402 What’s not to love: cinnamon, citrus, nutmeg, and delicious red wine that warms you up before you even take your first sip. This recipe challenged me to get my holiday gears moving by finding a way to combine all of those warm, spiced flavors into a crispy cookie.

Mulled Wine Biscotti

Yields 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups red wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 2¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup almonds, slightly toasted and rough chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Over high heat in a small saucepan, reduce red wine for 10 minutes. (You should be left with about 3 tbsp. red wine syrup.) Stir together sugar, butter, red wine syrup, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Add in the eggs and stir until incorporated. Stir in flour, baking powder, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cranberries, almonds, and salt until just combined. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes.

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Using moistened hands, halve dough and form 2 loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until pale golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer the loaves to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 300°F. Cut loaves into 3/4-inch slices with a serrated knife. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on a clean baking sheet and bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely. Serve with a cup of coffee, hot tea or cocoa, or mulled wine, of course.

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