If I'm being honest, I believe that baking involves a good deal of seduction. And although we bakers may not freely admit it, we enjoy seeing others being seduced by our sweet creations. I don't mean sexual seduction, necessarily, although butter and flour caking my fingernails, achy feet after standing barefoot for hours to decorate a cake, and my face warm and damp from an over-heated kitchen is undeniably sexy. Or at least it might be if I was baking with nothing on underneath my apron, but that never happens, much to my husband's disappointment.
But knowing that something I've made is enticing enough to draw someone closer, bewitching them with the scent of butter and chocolate and spices, and finally, tempting them to taste - that's the seduction for which I feel no shame.
With that said, as we list our condo for sale this week, I'm not above tempting potential home buyers with homemade chocolate chip cookies arranged prettily on a glass pedestal.
And these cookies really are something special. They are spiced with a little cinnamon and nutmeg, and of course, a decent pinch or two of salt. They are studded with pecans, which I love with chocolate. And they're under-baked, so they stay wonderfully soft and chewy for days. As a bonus, too, the dough doesn't require any refrigeration, so there's no waiting. Because waiting for a chocolate chip cookie is agonizing.
But the two ingredients that add a lovely depth of flavor you can't quite identify is a bit of molasses and espresso powder. Don't get me wrong - they don't taste like molasses or coffee; you really might not even know they contain either. But they create a beautifully complex flavor profile that has you reaching for a second cookie. Or a third.
They are the only recipe I will ever use again for chocolate chip cookies, which is saying something. And when I'm craving a truly phenomenal cookie, no mediocre substitution will have a chance at seducing me.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and molasses for five minutes, scraping the bowl once or twice, until fluffy and lightened in color. Beat in the vanilla and the eggs.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and espresso powder. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients until moistened. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans; the dough will be quite thick.
Drop large spoonfuls of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet (I baked six cookies at a time on each baking sheet) and flatten slightly with your hand, leaving two inches between each cookie. Bake for exactly 8 minutes until pale golden and crisp around the edges but gooey in the middle; let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yields about 2 1/2 dozen large cookies
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen