My dad visited J and me this past fall in California. Unfortunately, he bowed out of staying with us, and didn’t get to experience that studio life!! But we did a number of other fun activities.
We went to Santa Cruz and saw some old mission buildings. The actual mission was partially destroyed in a mid-1800s earthquake and replaced by another church. A replica was built in 1931. The only original building was used as housing for Native Americans.
J and I, lacking chocolate chips, made a variation of the Levain cookie recipe. We used the same amount of walnuts, but left out the chocolate chips and added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder in place of 1/2 cup of flour. Maybe use only 1/4 cup of cocoa powder or bake less time – these were a little dry.
So there’s this trendy bakery in New York City that is known for huge, rich cookies (the crowd favorite is chocolate chip-walnut). The problem is that the line is really long and the cookies are expensive.
So, J and I have been making our own versions of these cookies! There are a lot of copycat recipes online. This is the result of combining a few of them. The Brown-Eyed Baker one was a major contributor, but doesn’t have enough walnuts or chocolate chips in it and mysteriously calls for baking soda despite no acid in the other ingredients.
Chocolate chip walnut cookies
3 cups flour
1 tsp cornstarch (or other refined cooking starch)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
3/4-1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla.
Mix the dry ingredients. Add to the butter-sugar mixture. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Bake cookies 10 min at 375°F (small cookies will be done, large cookies will be gooey).
The sugar together with the chocolate chips can make the cookies too sweet. You might consider reducing the amount of sugar in subsequent batches.
But don’t reduce the sugar if leaving out the chocolate chips.
Try leaving out the baking soda or powder. Another recipe we used only called for soda, which seems wrong.
Type of flour called for also varies by recipe. One reference called for all bread flour, and another half cake and half all-purpose.
I’m going through old draft posts to see if any are still relevant. I think this was going to be a recipe, but I can’t for the life of me remember where it is from! Here’s one from Cook’s Illustrated, it’s probably fine…
We’ve made 2 loaves and 2 pizzas with this recipe so far with local, mostly-whole wheat flour! In a fit of emergency food-buying, we got a bunch of flour from Castle Valley Mill, a local historical flour mill (located in Pennsylvania, about 100 miles from NYC). Their bolted (big pieces of bran sifted out) hard wheat flour is amazing for making bread – lots of gluten!
During social isolation, J and I have been cooking a lot. We’ve been trying to make more unusual dishes, since we can’t get cravings satisfied at restaurants or work.
J’s been eating bagels for breakfast, but we forgot to get them last grocery order, so we made them! We have a ton of cream cheese and lox, so it was either this or cheesecake (that might still happen 🙂 We used the bagel recipe from ChefSteps.com (which seems to be a teach-you-to-cook website).
Improvements to the recipe:
Put flour or cornmeal on the bagel bottoms. They stick really badly!
Oil the tops before covering with plastic wrap. They stick moderately badly…