Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have had this chocolate chip cookie recipe in my back pocket for over a year but have been making so many other fun desserts I just haven't gotten to them. With so many bbq's and outings lately I needed a recipe that was going to make a lot and be easy to transport. And who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies? really, tell me if you are out there....but even if you do, I probably won't believe you. I also might send you some of these cookies to change your mind. I found this article/recipe in the New York Times last year and since I LOVE the NY Times I figured I would love these cookies as well. These are honestly the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had and if the recipe had not already been published in a newspaper I would think about keeping the secret all to myself. The article is really quite interesting so check it out!

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet
chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
I prefer to make smaller cookies and scoop the mounds of dough out with a tablespoon or very small ice cream scoop. I bake them at 350° for 10-12 minutes. It will make about 6 dozen.

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Peppermint Patty Cupcakes

Another delicious recipe by who other than Martha?! I love that these are actually brownies in cupcake form and the peppermint patty center melts perfectly to give the entire cupcake a hint of mint. I also really liked that these did not call for a frosting (and it was not needed, they were plenty rich and flavorful on their own). Because there was not any frosting these were super easy to transport to the BBQ I was headed to. I purchased a large bag of peppermint patties so I thought it would be cute to make these cupcakes in a mini version. I tested this out by making 4 mini's first. I think the mini version would work with junior mints, but the small peppermint patties were still too large. The mint spewed out of the tops of the cupcakes and made a huge disaster. In fact, the tops popped right off the mini's. I'll have to try these again with junior mints, because a large cupcake is actually nearing too rich, even for me, which is next to impossible! Although if I make them as mini's I may just have to top them off with a bailey's frosting or something of the sort. I was a little disappointed that mine also didn't have the pretty cream center like the picture shows in the book, so I just went with the peppermint patty pic. Since I don't feel right about publishing a recipe that Martha does not have on her website, I'll let the St. Petersburg Times do it for me.

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Chewy Fudgy Brownie Perfection

I have been in search for the perfect combination of chewy and fudgy when it comes to brownies for quite some time. I found it……..and then did not blog about it for weeks, and now I am not positive if this is the recipe I used or not. I'm about 98% sure it is,but I will make them sometime soon,just to be sure.
Update: this is it!

Here are some representative photos of what I have been doing instead of blogging for the past month:

Taking Advantage of all the local farmer's markets

Jazz in the Park- Millenium Park

Narrowly avoiding cars while riding my bike.
Windy City Wine Festival

African Dance- taking a class that is.
Renegade Craft Fair- check it out!

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Tiramisu Cupcakes

With just a little bit of bribery I was able to get Gregory and Dino to make the trip to Chicago for a visit. I gave them their super fun Threadless T-shirts upon their arrival and then we started our day. Before we even set out to explore the neighborhood we decided to make Tiramisu Cupcakes. Most of the cupcakes in Martha's book are fairly easy, but this was a tricky one that I knew I would want some help with.

Perhaps it was the overly softened butter or mascarpone cheese, but in the end these just didn't seem worth the trouble. They certainly weren't bad, but Tiramisu is one of those desserts that unless it's fantastic I don't bother with it.

We still had a great time and ended the evening with a delicious dinner at Greek Islands Restaurant in Greek town. I have been in Chicago for 5 years and had never been to Greek town, so what better first experience than with Dino?! I'm still thinking about the dolmates, I could eat them everyday!

Dino Helping :)

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