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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Pecan cookies, Spring is here, and cat foot bite!!!

Last night, Saturday, May 14 at about 11:00 p.m.  I realized it was National Chocolate Chip Cookie day on Sunday, May 15, 2011.   I was scanning Cookie Madness and other sites for CCC recipes
(CCC=chocolate chip cookies for those unfamiliar with food blog acronyms) and decided to make some batter at about 12:30 a.m.  I was experiencing my own cookie madness!   I needed them to be baked and travel-ready on Sunday morning so I could have my brother's family try them.   I had a "happy accident" that turned into sea salt sprinkled cookies.  I added a little extra flour and refrigerated the dough to prevent what so many others have complained about:  flat, greasy cookies.
I think they are the best I've made so be the judge!!!

Off the subject of cookies,  I included some pictures taken today.  I was thrilled by what a beautiful day it was here in Minnesota. Yesterday the temps were in the 40s, it was windy, and rainy-I was freezing all day.   Below you will see the contrast!!!!

Tulips and Daffodils

                            What CCC looked like after just going into the oven.

Cooled and almost ready to eat off my thrift-store plate which I love!

Now ready to eat with a delicious glass of cold milk.

Recipe follows Spring/Oriole pictures

5 Orioles in this pic-a couple sitting on my viburnums.  Grape jelly is the draw.
My talented husband made the cup holder.
Rescued cat Bozo chewing his big on to the recipe!

The recipe (for a small batch of two dozen cookies):  Loosely adapted from the Cookie Madness site, Ghirardelli bag, and my own spin...

1 1/4 cups flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose and a quarter cup of whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a 1/2 teaspoon salt if you are not going to sprinkle with sea salt)
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened salted butter  (I usually put my cold stick of butter in the microwave for 25 seconds at 50% power)
1/4 cup +1/8 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup +1/8 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg (I've heard it's good to have it at room temp when baking. Not sure why...)
Generous 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup lightly toasted pecans or walnuts
Sea Salt or kosher salt

In a small bowl mix the flours, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium-size mixing bowl add the sugars and the butter. Beat with an electric mixer for about 4 to 5 minutes until light and a bit fluffy.
Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat on medium speed until incorporated, or for about a minute or two.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients mixing on low. Then pour in the chocolate chips and nuts. Mix on low or by hand until evenly distributed in the batter.   If you don't want to refrigerate them, you can go directly to the Baking step (I highly recommend refrigerating them.)
Press the dough into the bottom of the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. 
**Refrigerate at least four hours-this will help turn the cookies from flat to voluptuous!

Preheat oven to 375°

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper-I've tried this with and without parchment paper.  It is easy to remove the cookies from the parchment paper or directly from the cookie sheet, but cleanup is easier using parchment paper.   No need to grease the paper or cookie sheet.

Scoop stiff dough out with an ice cream scoop or tablespoon.  I rolled dough in my hands quickly into golf ball size blobs and set them approximately 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. 

Put a tiny pinch of sea salt on top of each cookie.

Bake anywhere from 9 to 12 minutes depending on how long your dough has been refrigerated and how large your cookies are.  Remove tray from oven and let cookies set a spell- 2 minutes. Then remove to cooling racks
I like my CCC browned around the edges and a little bit lighter in the middle. I left my dough in the refrigerator overnight, made golf ball size blobs, and baked them about 10 minutes.