Too-Good-to-Share Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Secret Recipe Club}

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Chocolate chunk cookies

We’re having a special Secret Recipe Club event this month: a Cookie Carnival. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been baking cookies like nuts the past few weeks. I just love serving up platters of homemade cookies and bars around Christmas.

cookiecarnival

I was assigned to Bewitching Kitchen, a new blog to me. The author, Sally, was born and raised in Brazil; she’s lived in Paris and California; and is now settled in Kansas. Quite an array of places! She and her husband are both biochemists. (Wow! I am always fascinated by bloggers who have “real jobs,” you know, outside their home. How do people do it?)

I had planned to make these Snickerdoodles with a Twist (instant coffee!) when I first got the assignment, but last week my brain stopped working and I made some regular snickerdoodles. So instead I decided to make Elizabeth Falkner’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. I am always up for trying a new chocolate chip cookie recipe. And these may be my new go-to recipe!

chocolate chip cookies on cooling rack

I believe the secret to these cookies’ goodness is threefold. First, the kosher salt. The bigger crystals of salt make these almost sweet-and-salty, which we all know is the perfect combination. Second, the different sizes of chocolate chunks add interest and texture. Third, I think it’s been much-tested that cookies allowed to “marinate” in the fridge for a while have a better flavor than those that don’t.

My cookies ended up just a little more crispy than I would have liked, so next time I will cook them for a shorter period of time. I like chewy cookies, though, so if you like yours crispy, aim for 14-16 minutes of cooking time.

For my second batch, I added in some Andes peppermint crunch baking pieces to make them more Christmasy. I liked the peppermint, but I actually preferred the plain chocolate chunk cookies.

Too-Good-to-Share Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: about 26-30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 T butter, softened or grated
  • 3/4 c. (6 1/4 oz.) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. plus 1 T (4 oz.) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. minus 1 T (7 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 8 oz. bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped into chip-sized chunks
  • optional: chopped walnuts or 1/2 c. Andes peppermint pieces

Instructions

Cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add egg, vanilla, and salt and mix well.

Sift into the bowl flour, baking soda, and baking powder; stir to combine.

Stir in chocolate chunks and any other add-ins. Cover tightly and refrigerate dough for at least half an hour, as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F, positioning racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Form dough into 1-inch balls with a cookie scoop or rolling by hand. Place 2 inches apart on sheets. Bake 7 minutes; then rotate cookie sheets from top to bottom. Cook another 5-9 minutes. For chewier cookies, do 5-6 minutes; for crispier ones, 7-9 more minutes.

Let cool on sheets for a minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Notes

Since I got a small kitchen scale for mailing packages, I've measured by weight when it's offered in a recipe. It is more accurate and will give you a consistent product.

http://www.jessieweaver.net/2014/12/chocolate-chunk-cookies/


Let’s Talk Cookie Baking

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Check out The Cookies of Christmas

by Jessie Weaver at Foodie.com

One of my favorite Christmas tradition is making and decorating sugar cookies. My mom thinks I was about 4 the first time we did this, and I can’t remember a year from my childhood when we didn’t roll out the special sugar cookie dough and spend hours piping icing onto cut-out cookies. We made everything from ornaments to Nativity scenes to reindeer – and one year, I remember, Bob and Larry from Veggietales and a Santa dinosaur.

I’ve tried to carry on this tradition as an adult. It makes an awful mess, but I love it. This may be Cookie Week here, because I want to share the sugar cookie dough recipe I use, plus Monday morning you’ll see my cookie recipe for the Secret Recipe Club Cookie Exchange.

But y’all. My mom was missing out on a lot of things to make her life easier when it came to cookie baking. We never used parchment paper or silicone mats. I never touched a cookie scoop until one of my co-workers bought me one for my birthday well into my married life. My mom didn’t know the wonders of the stand mixer until very recently.

I hope you have learned about all those tools! Not to mention, you need a very thin spatula to take cookies off the sheet. And having a multi-level cooling rack helps, too.

I’ve been making cookies like a fiend lately. It helps to have a whole dorm of high-school boys as taste-testers! That way I don’t weigh 6,000 pounds, and they get a taste of homemade goodies. I even took requests this year for the kinds of cookies they wanted. (Chocolate chip, some kind of Reese’s, and snickerdoodles.)

Above I’ve shared some of the recipes I’ve made or planned to make this year. I found as I was bookmarking on Foodie that I am kind of obsessed with crinkle cookies and anything involving peppermint!

What is your favorite kind of Christmas cookie?

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Foodie.com, a great site to bookmark recipes. 

Saturday Linky Love

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Saturday Linky Love button

Three and a half more days of school for my big girl! (One and a Christmas program for the almost-4-year-old!) This week will be nutso, but I am looking forward to having the kids and Mr. V home, relaxing, and doing Christmasy things.

For now, links!

Reading offline: Finishing up Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce #5).

So, what did you read that was great this week? Link up here. You can grab the code for the button in the sidebar, if you want. Please link back here and add the PERMALINK to your post, not your home page.

Now Available for Kindle: Parenting Parables

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Parenting Parables cover

Yay! Although it won’t have the same pretty fonts as the PDF, you can now order Parenting Parables for your Kindle or Kindle-friendly app for the same price of $2.99.

I know you may feel rushed right now with the holidays, but may I suggest taking a few minutes out of your day to sink into the Word? It sure helps me feel more balanced as a person and parent!

Enjoy – and let me know if you’re reading it.

The Ephod-Making Weenie

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I wrote some about Gideon a few years ago, expressing my opinion that this biblical character was basically a twit. (In Sunday School this week, I believe my exact words were “ephod-making weenie.”) Really, Gideon is pretty easy to hate.

When we first find him, he’s hiding. He insists on testing the angel of the Lord to the nth degree. He doesn’t let the Israelites crown him king … but he does ask them for gold and made what soon became an idol (a “snare to Gideon and his family,” Judg. 8:27).

What really struck me in my reading of these books in Judges this time was chapter 7, verses 9-11. They read, “During that night the Lord said to Gideon, ‘Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.’ So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.”

Do you see that? There’s no hesitation. God says, “If you are afraid …” and Gideon takes that and runs with it. After all God has done and shown him, Gideon is still shaking in his wine-stomping boots.

I want to call Gideon out. Wuss! Sissy! What on earth is your problem, dude??

And then I step back, and I see myself, hiding in the winepress. Booking it down to the Midianite camp with Purah to see what they are saying about me. Fear can be THE sin, the one that haunts you and won’t let go. Do I really fault Gideon for being fearful? Me, one who worries about car accidents every time my husband is 10 minutes late?

It’s good that the story isn’t really about me. And it wasn’t about Gideon, either. The story – every story – is about God. God takes the weenie, the lowest one, and makes him a mighty warrior. God shows His awesome power by having 300 men triumph over legions of Midianite warriors. And however briefly, Gideon did realize that when he refused to become king, saying, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you” (Judg. 8:23).

May we remember today that this is not our story. And isn’t God merciful with us, knowing our sin issues and showing us a way out, as He did for Gideon?

[Interested in reading more devotions from me? A couple bucks will buy you 30 in my newly released devotional, Parenting Parables, which also includes questions for journaling.]

Our Other Favorite Christmas Books

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So you know all about our favorite Jesus-centered Christmas books. We are faithfully unwrapping one a night. The kids LOVE this tradition, and it’s so neat to have an actual tradition for our little family.

Although I try to stay away from books featuring greedy kids and “you better watch out, you better not cry” mentalities, we do read some books that mention Santa and aren’t really Jesus-focused.

Here are some of our favorites that fall in that category.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson – We just love Bear and his friends in the woods. We just came off a season where the kids were fairly obsessed with Bear Snores On, so this is a good transition book.

Snowmen at Christmas by Carolyn Buehner – I love the creative and fun snowmen in these books. Snowman Santa appears, and they also sing about “the birth of a King.”

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg – This is possibly the most fun book ever. In each envelope, there is something interesting – a card, a note, a puzzle, a game, a flip book. The premise is nursery rhyme characters sending each other stuff for Christmas through the postman. I’ll admit that I got this when my kids were WAY too young, and they’ve destroyed most of the add-ons. We may have to buy a new copy in a year or two.

It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon – If you have a child named David, he will either love or be traumatized by the mischievous David in Shannon’s books. My other kids think it is HILARIOUS that David gets in so much trouble. (Fictional David, that is.) Poor David just can’t seem to make it through the holidays without finding new rules and wondering if he’ll get a lump of coal.

Little Porcupine’s Christmas by Joseph Slate – There’s no Santa in this one, but it’s not really Jesus-focused either. Little Porcupine desperately wants to be in the Nativity play, but the other animals don’t think he belongs.

Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal – The author helps define big words and concepts as they relate to cookies around the holidays (like, “Disappointed means, I tried to make it look like a star, but it didn’t turn out at all the way I expected”). A sweet way (ha!) to talk about new vocabulary.

Do you have any favorite Christmas books lately?