On a rainy spring day, there is nothing better than warm chocolate chip cookies. The molten chocolate nuggets encased in soft, buttery sweetness just makes the world seem a bit better somehow, and fill the house with that intoxicating scent of vanilla and warmth.
As I type this, it’s pouring outside, and doesn’t seem like it’ll let up for the rest of the weekend. But that’s ok — I love rainy weekends, when I have the luxury of staying inside and watching the rain streak my windowpanes and wash the world clean. I make a point of reveling indoors, with hot chocolate and data analysis and baking all going on at the same time somehow. Though perhaps this time I’ll just sit in my lovely citrus-colored armchair and pick out seeds for my soon-to-be-real garden, or read a book or two.
Or perhaps I’ll make another batch of these cookies. These were one of the many projects I took on last week, and oh, they were good. We baked half the batter on the weekend, and froze the rest, but even that didn’t last long. We were making toaster oven cookies all week, and couldn’t help but sample bits here and there. The frozen dough tastes just like the little nuggets you might find in Ben & Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, except these have a slightly more exotic kick.
See, I like to play with spices, and this recipe is a case in point. We have a small container of ground wattleseed, which is an Australian spice with a coffee-like flavor and rich brown color that is often used in sweet recipes like this. I decided to tweak the Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe (thanks for the recommendation, Rachael!) with the spice, just to see what would happen. And, well, it’s pretty damn good. Is it worth going out and ordering wattleseed for this? No, probably not — espresso powder, as recommended in the original recipe, would probably have pretty much the same effect. But if you already have some in the house, or just want to experiment with a new ingredient, go for it. I certainly won’t stop you.
Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie with an Australian twist
Makes ~24 cookies.
- 1/2 c. (4 oz.) melted butter. The original recipe called for softened butter, but I didn’t plan ahead. Melted butter worked just fine.
- 1 c. dark brown sugar. I didn’t have the light brown sugar the recipe called for.
- 3 T. granulated sugar. I really think I’ll use golden syrup next time — it has a really nice caramel-y flavor that would play nicely off of the wattleseed and chocolate combination.
- 1 large egg.
- 2 T. vanilla extract. Or, if you’re like me, you pour lots, probably indiscriminately. I love vanilla.
- 1-3/4 c. (~7 oz.) all purpose flour.
- 1/2 t. baking powder.
- 1/2 t. baking soda.
- 1/2 t. salt.
- 1 T. wattleseed, or 1-1/2 t. instant espresso coffee powder.
- 1-1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips. Do yourself a favor and get some good ones.
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugars together until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Next, add the egg and vanilla, and stir until well-combined.
Sift together the dry ingredients, except for the chocolate chips and wattleseed. Stir into the wet mixture, then add the wattleseed and chocolate chips. Stir until the chips are evenly distributed in the mixture.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and distribute rounded lumps of cookie dough (~1 heaped tablespoon) ~3″ apart on the sheet. Place in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until the surface of the cookies are just set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and enjoy slightly warm if you like soft cookies, or completely cool if you prefer a crispy consistency.
If you like, you can roll the dough into a cylinder, wrap in wax paper, and store in the freezer until you feel like eating cookies. You can then just slice off coins of dough and bake those in a regular / toaster oven when you’re ready to eat them.