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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Do you know what I've been doing since the pandemic started? I'll give you a hint: it doesn't pay in money but pays in kind...

It's volunteering! I work with an amazing non-profit organization called Young Women on the Move.  This organization is all about empowering young ladies in the urban core of Kansas City to reach the highest of their potential. I think that a lot of what is missing in modern city life is a true sense of community. What better way to feel a little more connected than looking for non-profits in your own backyard and spending a little time there?

Full disclosure: I am a very healthy, neurotypical, able-bodied, privileged young woman in a stable financial situation. I have my own car, my own home, and a loving partner. I am willing and able to help my community so I'm choosing to do it. I am not in a high-risk group for Covid-19. I have been wearing a mask faithfully, practicing social distancing with my fellow volunteers and workers, and have been disinfecting and thoroughly washing my hands and checking my temperature faithfully every day. I am able to get out there during this pandemic in a relatively safe manner, so I'm doing it.

Please don't feel obligated to get out there if you don't feel safe doing so. Your health and safety is the absolute number one priority. If you do want to help this organization, however, feel free to donate here!

I volunteer with this organization in the way of teaching. I, along with my good friend Chef Gary Hild, host "Cooking School in a Box" every Wednesday. The videos are, of course, the kids. I was joined last week by Kansas State Representative Sharice Davids! Watch us below as I show how to make a shortbread cookie and a chocolate chip cookie by hand.





This recipe is the same one I gave to the kids. It's a great base recipe that can be easily modified to your preference. (**denotes things that were not shown in the video.)


Chocolate Chip Cookies
yields roughly 2 dozen 1 oz cookies 
  • 6 oz or 1 1/2 sticks butter or vegan butter substitute
  • 7 oz sugar (in the video, we used granulated white sugar, but I had raw sugar at home so that's what I used)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • **1/2 tsp Mexican vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • A fat pinch of kosher salt
  • 7.5 oz all-purpose flour
    • *You can change this up, depending on the kind of cookie you like...see below!
  • **1 Tbsp semolina flour
  • Chocolate chips as needed, about a cup!
Please Note: These are for crisp cookies!


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and prepare a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a silpat mat


Take a medium-sized bowl and beat your butter with a wooden spoon or a spatula until smooth, creamy, and light in color. Add the sugar of your choice and beat until light and fluffy, which should take about 2 minutes when mixing by hand. Add the egg and stir in, then beat until fully incorporated. You're going to get in a good workout!





Add your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and semolina, stirring gently, just until everything is incorporated. This just means that you won't see a spot of flour, and will only see a beautiful brown dough. If you like, you can stir in some nuts, crushed toffee candies, or white chocolate shavings in at this point, but it's entirely optional. No matter what you do, please don't overmix this dough!


Note: Your cookies will be much better if you chill the dough for an hour before baking! If you can’t wait, simply continue below…


Scoop spoonfuls of equal size on to prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. You can use a pair of identical spoons or you can use a 1 oz disher to do your deed. A standard half-sheet tray will fit about 12 1 oz dough balls. Next, is the fun part...


Use what you have! These chocolate chunks work just fine.
Arrange your chocolate chips on each dough ball until you’re satisfied with the amount. Your dough balls should look like little porcupines! Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes and let cool on the sheet pan for another 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

This is the method for thinner cookies. If you prefer a chewy chocolate chip cookie, simply follow these steps instead:

Even melting only half of your butter will help you get a chewy cookie!
Melt your butter entirely and add it to the sugar. Stir with a whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved, and add your vanilla. Whisk that until incorporated, and then add in your egg. Whisk all of that deliciousness together until entirely incorporated, and then switch to a spatula for your mixing utensil. Dump all of your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and semolina) into a medium bowl and mix together. If you really chewy cookie, switch the all-purpose flour to bread flour instead! You can follow the usual method of baking immediately, but these get really nice and chewy when you let them chill overnight.

If you want a wafer-thin chocolate chip cookie that will spread... follow the first method only substitute 2 oz of your flour for either cornstarch or tapioca starch, and switch out 3.5 oz of your sugar for honey. I recommend freezing your dough for an hour before scooping and baking, but it's all up to you in the end.




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See how thin those are? They were so crisp, almost like a cracker!

Thanks so much for reading, listening, watching, and joining me on this awesome journey. I hope you're staying safe, wearing a mask, and staying healthy. If you'd like to be a little more involved with your community from a safe distance, I invite you to check out Catch a Fire.org, where you can search for virtual volunteering opportunities. Happy cooking and happy eating!

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