Procrastination

It is the end of the semester, and I should be frantically reading and studying for my exams. I have 4 of them. One of them is a 4 hour written exam… 4 hours. Thank you Professor B for keeping it old school and making it a written exam.

Instead of doing anything law school related, I took one look at the bright blue sky, jumped into my running gear and bopped my way through an easy 3 mile run. I had every intention of showering and walking to the library when I got back, instead I opened my refrigerator and saw the chocolate and cream cheese I had stashed. Two hours later? I was easing a pan filled with gooey whole wheat chocolate chip cookies out of the oven and easing a pan of cheesecake swirled brownies in. And the minute the brownies were out of the oven, I pretended not to be a bad law student, loaded my bag up. Then I hurried a plate of brownies and cookies to my concierge before guiltily walking to the library.

I obviously am sitting at the law school library and still procrastinating. I might have spent an hour popping the keys of my keyboard to clean the keys, and another 30 minutes posting these recipes…. but no matter. Theses brownies and cookies were well worth it. These cheesecake-marbled brownies were found on the veritable smitten kitchen website. I halved the brownie recipe and kept the cheesecake the same because I like a higher ratio of cheesecake to brownie in mine, however I am sure the chocolate lovers out there will prefer the original recipe. I also left the chocolate chips off the top, and swirled the brownies significantly less (because I was trying to get a heart shape in the pan…. which did not work very well).

Gooey Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies (interpreted from everywhere! everyone has chocolate chip cookie recipes that they swear by, and this is my take on chocolate chip cookies. You’ll notice that this recipe is large. You can easily halve the recipe, but I think that is unnecessary. I bake 12 cookies at a time, and make neat little 1 tablespoon balls of cookie dough and freeze them in 12 cookie containers. When you want cookies, you can just pull a container out and plop them on a sheet before baking. Just add one or two minutes to the overall baking time.)

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour*
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon of Kosher salt (the flaky kind)
  • 1 1/4 cups of  unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 sticks of butter)
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
  • 1 cup of sugar**
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 10 oz of 60% chocolate chips***
  • 3.5 oz of almond paste, cut into small cubes and tossed in a tablespoon of flour****

* I use Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour for this round and the cookies were a pinch tougher than a normal cookie. I have had extremely good results with King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour.

**I used Organic Cane Sugar, but feel free to use regular white granulated sugar

*** I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips in the dark brown bag. I like the largeness of the chips, but feel free to use anything else you like. I use almost the entire bag, save for a handful of chips that I eat while I’m baking.

**** I used Odense Almond Paste. (This is NOT marzipan). It comes in a 7 oz tube, I cut it in half and throw one side in the freezer to firm up before I cut it. I cut with an extremely thin and sharp knife and put the little cubes in a bowl with a little flour to prevent the little cubes from getting stuck together. Also, though I only use 1/2 of the tube, I think the cookies would benefit from the use of the entire tube. Some of the cookies were lacking the tangy almond paste, which I found disappointing.

  1. Cube almond paste (see ingredient notes)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the butter, brown sugar, turbindo sugar, and white sugar together until creamy
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each egg.
  4. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Add 1 cup of all purpose flour and baking soda and baking powder and salt still until evenly incorporated
  6. Add the remaining 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, and stir until smooth
  7. Add the chocolate chips and almond paste cubes and stir until just incorporated
  8. Turn the oven to 350 F
  9. Spread parchment paper on a cookie sheet and drop 1 tablespoon rounds of cookie dough on the sheet about 2 inches apart. Flatten a little with the palm of your hand.
  10. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes until just brown (check your oven to make sure that your cookies don’t need less or more time. My baking sheet is an industrial aluminum pan and so it tends to bake a little faster)

General Notes

  • I used turbinado sugar for the crunch it gives the cookies. Sometimes, to enhance the crunch in the cookies, I’ll increase the volume of this sugar and lower the brown sugar. I also add a drop or two of water in the white sugar to make up for the lack of brown sugar. The water helps achieve a deep molasses flavor in the cookies during baking, just be sure not to go overboard with this step.
  • These cookies bake at a lower temperature for longer, be patient, they are well worth the wait
  • Like most cookies, if you store this dough covered in your refrigerator, the flavors of the vanilla and sugar are enhanced and the cookies taste even better. The gluten in the flour relaxes and you get these amazingly tender and chewy cookies. I’m sure there are better explanations than mine out there, but I imagine it’s some sort of chemical reaction that creates a better cookie after the dough has rested in the refrigerator for a while. In any event, I tend to be on the impatient side, so I always make a pan of cookies before the dough gets anywhere near the refrigerator.
  • If you do store your dough in the refrigerator, make sure it is tightly wrapped and stored away from any smelly foods (like garlic/onions and leftover dinner). I have a sensitive nose, so the minute my cookies smell like dinner, I chuck them. Also, do not leave your dough in the refrigerator for more than a week. I’ve been told they can be left for 2 weeks… but something about eggs in flour for 2 weeks skeeves me out.
  • Do not melt your butter. Something about melted butter absorbs more flour and your dough turns into this weird texture. Do not melt! I’ve been told that softening the butter in 10 second intervals in a microwave is helpful. I didn’t grow up with a microwave, so I tried this and ended up with really hot butter coating the inside of my microwave. I usually take the butter out of the refrigerator, go for a run and take a shower before I start making the cookies. The butter is still firm but creamy at that point. The moment you see transparent yellow, throw it in the refrigerator until it firms up again.
  • Even if you are using parchment paper, make sure your pans are squeaky clean. If you have any residual oil or food on them from another meal, the oven will bake that smell and taste right into your cookies as they bake. Scrub those pans!
  • For non-stick pan users, you might consider lowering the temperature 10-25 degrees. Something about that dark coating makes cookies bake differently.

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