Over the past year, both Jeff and I have had a wonderful time cooking and baking many delicious recipes from famed chefs and food magazines. At Christmas time, Jeff purchase Dorie Greenspan's "around my french table" which we have been religiously cooking from. See Scallops with Carmel-Orange Sauce and Spinach Bacon Quiche.
As I began to do more investigating into Dorie Greenspan, I realized she was connected with David Lebovitz, an American pastry chef living in Paris, who I follow on Facebook and Twitter. I featured his Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies that are (hands down) the best chocolate chip cookies.
Somehow, in the midst of this, I came across Sarabeth Levine, The Goddess of Bakedom. (Don't you just love her title!). She is a pastry chef and founder of Sarabeth's Restaurants. I have been eagerly following her as I love some of the recipes she has showcased. I also asked Jeff to buy me her new cookbook, Sarabeth's Bakery, From My Hands to Yours. I'm looking forward to making a few more of her recipes as she has quite a few hands-on pictures which many of the early reviews have praised. The recipe I came across was the Chocolate Cloud Cookies. They were golden brown and crackly. (They also had a cute little story about Little Miss Muffet.)
The cookies started with toasting some sliced almonds which made the house smell delightful. Almonds have become my "new" favorite food, especially the sea salt almonds. The rest of the recipe blended quickly with the help of our new mixer (Kitchen Aid). Amazing how easy it is to add ingredients and let the machine do the rest. I know that the pictures I have posted don't do the cookies justice, but these are BIG cookies. When you make them, you use an ice cream scoop to place the dough on the cookie sheet. They expand to about 5-6 inches across. They look like bakery cookies.
The chocolate clouds tasted ABSOLUTELY delicious! Crunchy, chewy, buttery, chocolate...did I miss anything? As my tasters- family and friends -were licking their fingers, they asked if there was any toffee in the cookie. I suppose I could say yes as there is butter, brown sugar and almonds in the mix.
If you live in New England, it is down-pouring on the last Friday of February vacation. This is a great afternoon project that will surely put a smile on those receiving these yummy treats. They have two options: 1.they can share this cookie with someone else or 2. enjoy it on their own because no matter how big the cookie...it's only one!
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
BAKERS NOTE: Place the dough about 3 inches apart on the half-sheet pans—they spread.
1 1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups (8 ounces) toasted sliced almonds
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
1. Position the racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 3 half-sheet pans with parchment paper. Rub the sugar and brown sugar together through a coarse wire-mesh wire sieve into a medium bowl; set aside. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar mixture, then the vanilla. Beat, occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, until the mixture is pale yellow and light textured, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer speed on low, add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until each addition is incorporated. Add the almonds and chocolate chips and mix just until combined. Empty the dough onto the work surface, and use your hands to thoroughly distribute the almonds and chocolate chips in the dough.
3. Using a 2-inch-diameter ice-cream scoop, portion the batter onto the prepared pans. Using the heel of your palm, slightly flatten each ball of dough. Bake two of the pans with the cookies, switching the position of the pans from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking, until the cookies are evenly golden brown,15 to 18 minutes. During the last 3 minutes, rap each pan on the rack. The cookies will deflate and their signature cracks will appear on the tops. Repeat with the third pan. Cool on the pans. (Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.)