Ballin' on a Budget: Weekend Cookies / by audrey gebhardt

The question I’m asked most about the my life in the kitchen is, ‘what’s your favorite thing to make?’

I never have a good answer. My favorite thing to make is usually whatever I feel like eating. Sometimes I feel like chopping lots of stuff, so then my favorite thing to make is soup. Sometimes I want to whisk with no abandon, so strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream it is.

Usually though, I want to make people feel good. So I usually say that my favorite thing to make is Chocolate Chip Cookies, because: a. they’re easy and I’ve made thousands so I have the recipe memorized and b. most people can’t turn down a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie with flakes of salt and pockets of oozing dark chocolate.

The question I’m asked the second most about my life in the kitchen is, ‘why are your chocolate chip cookies so good?’

Weekend Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have to admit, I can’t be humble about them. I’ve mastered them (practice makes delicious). If nothing else, what I want you guys to leave this post knowing is that there are a few techniques that can bring any chocolate chip cookie recipe to the next level, and they are as follows.

  1. CHOP YOUR OWN CHOCOLATE. Do not use chocolate chips. They are full of stabilizers and waxes to help them hold their shape when you bake them. This prevents the cookie from being FULL of chocolate- when you chop chocolate from bars (I use Trader Joe’s Bittersweet Pound Plus or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Bars), you end up with flakes of chocolate that will stud your cookie with the most delicious bits and you also get layers of chocolate and cookie, instead of a random chocolate chip here and there.

  2. TOP THEM WITH FLAKY SEA SALT! I buy Maldon Flaky Sea Salt but Trader Joe’s has a budget version called pyramid salt in their spices section! Next level baby!

  3. GIVE THE DOUGH A REST!!! Do not over mix the dough or you’ll end up with tough cookies. MOST chocolate chip cookies taste best when the ingredients have had at least 24 hours to meld in the fridge. Baking the dough straight from the fridge will help you achieve that crisp and caramelized on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside texture.

  4. UNDERBAKE THEM! Take the cookies out of the oven about 3-4 minutes before they look like they’re done. Trust. They will continue to bake on the baking sheet after you’ve taken them out of the oven and this is the difference between a soft golden cookie and a crispy brown one.

Now that you’re on your way to cookietown, let’s talk about why I call these weekend cookies. As mentioned above, I love when chocolate chip cookies are baked after a 24-72 hour rest in the fridge. THIS MAY SEEM FUSSY BUT I’M HERE TO TELL YOU WHY IT’S NOT! Think about this. It’s Sunday around 1pm and your mother in law just decided to ‘pop in’. You still have a little bit of last night’s mascara under your eyes, your laundry is piled up on the couch waiting to be folded and you can feel the judgement through her smile. But then you remember this fabulous dough you have waiting in the fridge AND BAM! Best child-in-law award goes to you.

When you open my fridge, you’ll almost always find a log of cookie dough or pre-scooped portions of dough ready to bake. I often will make this dough on a Thursday or Friday (it makes about 40 cookies) and bake off just what I need when friends stop by or I need a quick hostess gift throughout the weekend. Any dough that has been in the fridge for over 72 hours can be popped in a ziplock bag in the freezer for up to two months and baked straight from the freezer! Let’s get to it.

(to watch a tutorial on these cookies, please check out my IGTV here!)

Weekend Chocolate Chip Cookies

Weekend Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 40

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/3 c packed light brown sugar
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 c flour
2 T cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 lb bittersweet chocolate (four 4 oz bars or pound plus from TJ’s)

flaky sea salt

Soften the butter, either on the counter for two hours or in the microwave in 20 second spurts at POWER LEVEL 2.

Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder and 1 tsp salt.

Chop the chocolate into 1/2” chunks.

With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Repeat with half of the remaining dry ingredients.

Add the last batch of dry ingredients with the chocolate and stir by hand until all of the bits of flour are mixed in.

Scoop the dough into heaping tablespoonfuls into a parchment/wax paper lined plate/baking dish/whatever you have and cover. Place the scooped dough in the fridge for at least 24 hours or up to 72 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Arrange balls of cookie dough 2” apart on a baking sheet and top with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they are juuuuuuust beginning to brown around the edges but they don’t look set in the center. Trust me! Underbake these! That’s the trick!

Pour yourself a pint of milk and get after it, loves.