I am constantly on the search for the perfect cookie recipe. I know some people are crazy over molasses cookies or snickerdoodles, but they don't do much for me. The perfect cookie recipe must contain one essential ingredient: chocolate. It can be dark, milk, white, bittersweet, whatever...but it must have chocolate. If nuts or oatmeal are added to said cookies, I will go absolutely wild. Cheering, high fiving and maybe even a heel-click is sure to ensue. The one exception to my cookie-chocolate rule is peanut butter cookies, but they will be the recipient of above celebration plus a back flip if they happen to also contain chocolate.
I found this recipe in my new favorite baking cookbook flour by Joanne Chang. This woman knows her stuff and everything I have made has turned out incredible (Plum Clafouti); these cookies were no exception. These cookies have chocolate, they have oatmeal, they have nuts (which happen to be pecans, my favorite nut in the world) and...be still my heart...they have coconut. I know coconut is one of those love it or hate it ingredients, and I happen to think coconut is akin to ambrosia. A delicacy for the gods.
Chang recommends in all her cookie recipes to chill the dough overnight to allow the flavors to meld. I was curious whether this really makes a difference because I have read other recipes that do the same. So I did an experiment and decided to bake one batch after 4 hours of chilling and another after 18 hours. You know what? She's right. Those darn pastry chefs, they know their stuff. This is good news and bad news. Good news, because the cookies that chilled overnight were noticeably better. Bad news, because now when I make cookies I need to think ahead and be patient and wait for my cookies overnight. Hmph. So unfair.
I learned a lesson about reading a recipe all the way through. You'd think after countless surprises halfway into recipes that I would learn to do this, but come on this was just cookies! I decided to double the recipe because it said it only made 18 cookies. 18? That's not nearly enough! So, I doubled away and made enough cookie dough for a small village. It turns out that it makes 18 cookies that are 1/4 cup each. I think my poor Kitchenaid almost had a heart attack, that motor was working hard! Also, 1/4 cup cookies are a bit large for my liking because you can only eat one without feeling guilty. I like to be able to eat two or three cookies before the guilt sets in, so I did standard 2 tablespoon sized balls.
These cookies are quite thin after they bake, probably because of the amount of butter in them. The recipe called for flattening the dough into a disk before baking, but I found that it made the cookies much too flat. The second go-round I left them in ball form and they turned out much better. A lot less spreading.
The bonus of chilling the dough overnight was that I had a helper this morning. Oh, how I hope this girls loves to bake with me as she grows! And since these were the first cookies she's ever "helped" me with, I am going to go ahead and name them after her. One of our favorite nicknames for her: Annamazing.
Annamazing Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from flour by Joanne Chang
Makes approximately 30 cookies
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pecans on baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Set a timer and keep a close eye on them, as they will turn on you in a heartbeat. Allow to cool and then chop.
Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment cream butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (You can do this by hand or with a hand mixer, but up the time to 8-10 minutes.) Stop the mixer and scrape down bowl several times during mixing. Beat in eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate, coconut and chopped pecans and stir to combine. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined and evenly mixed. Cover bowl with saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator over night or at least 8 hours for best flavor. If you are short on time, these will still be good if you bake them right away, they'll just have more defined flavors if you let the dough chill longer. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container.
Preheat oven to 350. Drop dough in 2 tbsp sized balls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and still slightly soft in the middle. Allow to cool on pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing with a spatula, they cookies are fragile while they are still piping hot.