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You may think a chocolate chip cookie cannot be improved upon, but what if I told you it could just have a little bit of pizzazz by adding tahini paste? Tahini is sesame ground up, until it reaches a creamy consistency. It adds a bit of nuttiness and savoriness to your standard chocolate chip cookie without a distinct sesame taste.

This recipe should be followed as-is with no substitutions and changes – even the size of the cookie and the timing has been perfectly calibrated to give the cookie a soft, chewy interior. Beware if you use silicone baking mats like I do – your cookies won’t get to a golden brown but they will be done after the designated amount of time.

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Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the NYTimes
Makes 12-18 3-inch cookies

4 ounces/113 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup/120 milliliters tahini, well stirred
1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/150 grams all-purpose flour, or matzo cake meal (See tip)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¾ cups/230 grams chocolate chips or chunks, bittersweet or semisweet
Flaky salt, like fleur de sel or Maldon

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, tahini and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla and continue mixing at medium speed for another 5 minutes.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into a large bowl and mix with a fork. Add flour mixture to butter mixture at low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in chocolate chips. Dough will be soft, not stiff. Refrigerate at least 12 hours; this ensures tender cookies.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat. Use a large ice cream scoop or spoon to form dough into 12 to 18 balls.

Place the cookies on the baking sheet at least 3 inches apart to allow them to spread. Bake 13 to 16 minutes until just golden brown around the edges but still pale in the middle to make thick, soft cookies. As cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle sparsely with salt. Let cool at least 20 minutes on a rack.

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Sometimes I bake because I am craving something sweet, but sometimes I bake because a recipe just looks too good to pass up. While I am personally more of a chewy cookie person, something about adorably-sized cookies appealed to my current dieting state. The idea is that the smaller they are, the easier it is to portion control, right? However, they do have such a crisp and light texture that might trick you into eating more than you’d want to…

These cookies were a big hit with everyone who tried them, and all attested to their can’t-stop-at-one quality. If you like your cookies crisp and light, somewhat like Tate’s Bake Shop‘s, then you’d find these quite similar. If you like your cookies chewy, dense and as big as an infant’s head, I beseech you to give these a try as well. You might be converted.

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Mini Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 100 small cookies
From Cookie Madness

Ingredients
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour (140 grams/5 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Beat the butter until creamy using an electric mixer. Beat in both sugars, and vanilla. When creamy, beat in the egg. When egg is mixed in, beat in salt and baking soda. Add flour and stir until it is almost blended in. Add the chocolate chips and stir until all flour disappears.
Line two large baking sheets with regular foil.

Using a 1/4 teaspoon measure, scoop up rounded spoons of dough, each with about 3 chocolate chips (you’ll have what appears to be a lot of chips and a tiny bit of dough). Shape into marble sized balls and arrange on baking sheets spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake one sheet at a time for 25 minutes or until cookies are evenly browned. Let cool slightly, then remove from baking sheets to finish cooling.

Notes: Since each cookie is so small, it might make more sense to stud the chocolate chips onto the finished balls so that you get an equal number of chips on each cookie. I ended up with my first tray of cookies with three chocolate chips each, then down to two chips per cookie for the second, then eventually no chips at all.

IMG_3583When I saw this recipe, I instantly knew I had to make it. I know I’ve been diverting my attention lately to more European desserts, but you could never tear me away from anything combining chocolate and whiskey. I was deciding between using Jim Beam and some cheapo scotch lying around, and went for the scotch because I was counting on all that sugar and chocolate to cover it up. Cooking is the best way to use up bad alcohol anyway.

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What was interesting about this recipe was the preparation technique. I had to heat up a saucepan with coffee, butter, whiskey and cocoa powder, and then the addition of sugar turned it into a gloopy, caramelly liquid. Fortunately the cake turned out well, though. I really liked the slightly crisp muffin top-esque shell that formed, which was a nice foil against the tender and moist crumb. The chocolate chips added some gooey-ness to its insides so it was reminiscent of a molten chocolate cake. It didn’t taste very alcoholic at all, and I wish it had. This is a very decadent cake, and in a future iteration I might add a pinch of salt, or sub some of the coffee with whiskey, or omit the chocolate chips.

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Note: Although the recipe called for making a whole cake, I think the cake would benefit greatly from being split up into about 8 or so 3.5-inch ramekins, or even cupcakes. Reduce the bake time accordingly. You’d also get that delicious crusty muffin top.

Chocolate Whiskey Cake
Makes 1 10-inch round cake
Adapted from NYTimes

INGREDIENTS

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, more for pan
85 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (about 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups brewed strong coffee
1/2 cup whiskey
200 grams granulated sugar (about 1 cup)
156 grams light brown sugar (about 1 cup)
240 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
8 grams baking soda (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
3 grams fine sea salt (about 3/4 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground clove (I omitted)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used regular chocolate chips)
Powdered sugar, for serving (optional)

PREPARATION

1.Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan. Dust with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm coffee, whiskey, 12 tablespoons butter and remaining cocoa powder, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted. Whisk in sugars until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.
3. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Transfer to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, then remove sides of pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if you like.


Although my favorite variety of oatmeal cookie is thick and chewy, this incredibly popular Allrecipes baked up more thin and lacy for me. It’s probably because I used old-fashioned oats instead of quick oats (whose wood shaving-esque texture I cannot abide) and that might have caused my cookies to spread out more. Nevertheless, the cookie dough itself acquired a caramelized taste and texture from the extra surface area and was quite a delight to eat. The occasional bits of chocolate were superfluous, but that’s just because I’m the kind of person who’d be happy with a cookie that is just straight up cookie dough. Now, that’s another recipe idea…

Allrecipes Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats (I used old-fashioned oats)
1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


I had a little bit of down time today, and as a matter of principle I find it nearly impossible to have free time and not do anything. I always feel the need to convert free time into productive energy, so I decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies today. (I also baked some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies) While I already have a standby chocolate chip cookie recipe, I know there are tons of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there that claim to be the recipe that end all recipes. So I decided to try one from Alton Brown. This recipe is unusual in that it employs bread flour instead of all-purpose. Since bread flour has a higher gluten content, I expect these cookies to be more solid structurally and bake up thicker – but my scientific knowledge of differing gluten levels in flours ends here.


Chewy as an adjective for these cookies are a misnomer – I thought they were more fluffy and airy, almost cake-like but not quite. I loved how the recipe is clearly catered for those with a kitchen scale. I hemmed and hawed over getting my digital kitchen scale, but it is by far the best purchase I’ve procured for my baking expeditions to date. It has saved me a good many dishes to wash by hand.

This recipe is easy enough to bake up, but I would much rather use another recipe that I can halve easily: the single egg and egg yolk in this recipe makes that tricky.

Alton Brown’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Adapted from Food Network
Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

8 ounces unsalted butter
12 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces granulated sugar
8 ounces light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ounce whole milk (I used water because I didn’t have any milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda onto a paper plate. Pour the butter into your stand mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the whole egg, the egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup. Reduce the mixer speed and slowly add the egg mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

Using the paper plate as a slide, gradually integrate the dry ingredients, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once the flour is worked in, drop the speed to “stir” and add the chocolate chips. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place racks in the top third and bottom third of the oven.

Scoop the dough into 1 1/2-ounce portions onto parchment-lined half sheet pans, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake 2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Remove from the oven, slide the parchment with the cookies onto a cooling rack and wait at least 5 minutes before devouring.

Notes: The darker the sugar you use, the chewier your cookies will be.

This is arguably everything I like in a single, palm-sized package. Bourbon? Check. Chocolate? Check. Cured meat? Check. Ooey gooey cookie? Check. So much win, guys. I just had a couple of these little babies for brunch and the gourmand in me is happy. I’ve been inspired to make a bacon dessert for a little bit now, and finally I found it within myself to buy some bacon – and my creative juices were going into overdrive. I finally settled on a bacon dessert in cookie form, and I created this cookie.

This cookie uses a Cook’s Illustrated recipe as its base, and I tweaked it a little bit based on the various variations of bacon chocolate chip cookie recipes that I researched. I replaced some of the butter with rendered bacon fat (mmm bacon fat in cookies), reduced the vanilla essence, reduced the chocolate chips, added crispy bacon bits and added a couple tablespoons of bourbon. Texture-wise, I found it a little cloying right out of the oven – I think the presence of lard was particularly noticeable when the cookie was warm. However, the cookie was quite delectable after having set in the freezer overnight and returned to room temperature. If I were to do this again, however, I’d probably use a tablespoon less bacon fat, and maybe 3/4 cup of chocolate instead of 1 cup. It’s a really powerful punch of sugar and fat – even I think so –  and I think it needs to be toned down just a wee bit.

Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 16 large cookies (about 3 inches in diameter)

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup (227g) semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 lb bacon, fried till crispy, cut to 1/4 by 1/4 inch pieces

Instructions

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir rendered bacon fat into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and bacon bits, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into portions of 2 tablespoons. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.


I’ve been madly craving brownies lately… and it has come to a point where shelling out $2-$4 each time I’m craving a brownie became ridiculous and I decided to take my cravings into my own hands. Introducing, the Mexican Chocolate Brownies. They’re Mexican because they are spicy. Mexican hot chocolate is known to include cinnamon… hence these brownies’ nomenclature.

The recipe called for chili powder or cayenne, which I didn’t have. I had some bird’s eye chili (or chilli padi, as we Singaporeans like to call them) and since it is ferociously spicy by most standards, I decided to just mix in the seeds from one chili for a 9 x 5 dish. It didn’t turn out very spicy at all, which I was disappointed by. However, the texture was delightfully fudgy and if you wanted a fudgy brownie, these definitely make the cut. If I were to make this again, I’d try to make sure I have all the ingredients before embarking on the recipe. Or just put in more chili seeds. The spicier, the better. Maybe next time I’d even try including Taza’s Guajillo Chili chocolate, which is probably one of the few chocolates I would happily nibble on all by itself. (Other chocolates I would do that to include Trader Joe’s Pound Plus semisweet for its good value and versatility and Vosges Chocolate for its variety. I would welcome a bar of either for my birthday, thank you very much.)

Mexican Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Baking Bites
Makes one 9 x 5 pan

1/4 cup butter
1-oz bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/6 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup chocolate chips (pref. semisweet or bittersweet)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×5 baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Stir in cocoa powder until fully incorporated. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chili powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until brownies set and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out with only a few moist crumbs, not batter, attached.
Cool in the pan completely before slicing.