Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies

Once upon a time in the quaint coastal town of Santa Barbara, there lived a beautiful, kind, and very talented baker named Gwen.  This baker was known throughout the land to create scrumptious treats that would wow even the most doubtful taster.

I start this morning’s blog this way because my niece, Gwen, is truly a magical baker.  One day not long ago, she stopped me cold in my tracks when she made these cookies.

She had me at, “chocolate chip cookies.”  I was inspired!

Gwen’s cookies were quite literally the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.  And trust me, I speak from a lot of experience in this matter.  I kinda love trying different chocolate chip cookies.  It’s devilishly and decadently fun!

Anyway, my cookies did not turn out as well as Gwen’s.  Her’s were elegant, refined yet warm and homey.  Mine were good, but just not as crazy good as Gwen’s.  And thus, this is why Gwen is known as the most beautiful, kind, and talented baker in all of Santa Barbara.

Notes:  I couldn’t find chocolate that I could chop up so I just used chips and ran my knife through them.  That way there would be shards of chocolate and chunks that would spread out throughout the batter.  I also used semisweet chocolate, but bittersweet would be better. Semisweet is just a touch too sweet with the batter.

Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe care of cooking.nytimes.com)

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INGREDIENTS:  2 cups or 256 grams all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¾ teaspoon salt, ½ pound or 227 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks at room temperature), 1 ½ cups or 302 grams granulated sugar, ¼ cup or 55 grams packed light or dark brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 6 ounces or 170 grams bittersweet chocolate (chopped into coarse pieces, bits and shards)

DIRECTIONS:  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil, parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and 2 tablespoons water, and mix on low to combine. Add the flour mixture, and mix on low until combined. Add the chocolate and mix on low into the batter. (At this point, the dough can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight.) Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Form the dough into 3 1/2-ounce (100-gram) balls (a heaping 1/3 cup each). Place 4 balls an equal distance apart on a prepared pan, and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. After you put the first baking sheet in the oven, put the second one in the freezer. Place the chilled baking sheet in the oven and bake 10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed slightly in the center. Lift the baking sheet and let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the inside falls back down. (This will feel wrong, but trust me.) Bang it down, if necessary, to make the center fall. After the cookies puff up again, 2 to 3 minutes later, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times, every 3 minutes, to create ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake 16 to 18 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out, and the edges are golden brown, but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool before removing the cookies from the pan. Repeat with remaining cookies, using the first sheet pan for the third batch of cookies.

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