Controversial statement: all chocolate chip cookie recipes are basically the same.
Sure, some are better than others (The New York Times recipe is probably the best one out there) but they’re all different ratios of butter, brown sugar, regular sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate. And though different ratios will yield slightly different results, in my experience what matters much more than the recipe are the specific techniques you use to make your cookies. For internet purposes, let’s call them hacks and I’ve got six of ’em that’ll work with any chocolate chip cookie recipe and produce consistently good cookies every time.
Taking liberties with a recipe is one thing, taking liberties with a recipe name is another. When Dorie Greenspan first published the recipe for Pierre Hermé’s famous double chocolate cookies, they were called “Korova Cookies” for the restaurant where they were served in Paris. Then, one day, Dorie’s neighbor told her that the cookies were good enough to bring about world peace, so she renamed them World Peace Cookies and that went a bit viral. For some strange reason, though, these cookies never made an appearance in my kitchen. Maybe it’s because, in my small-mindedness, I thought: “How good could chocolate chocolate cookies be?” Then, last week, I made them and they were so good, so instantly adored, I knew I had to give them an even more appropriate name; the kind of name that could make a viral cookie go even more viral. And so Shirtless Ryan Gosling Cookies were born.
Sometimes I wake up with a specific craving that has no obvious root. For example, on Saturday morning I woke up with a craving for cornbread. Where did that come from? Was it the fact that I’d been watching the Sean Brock episodes of “Mind of a Chef” at the gym? Actually, that was probably it–strike that first sentence–because in the episode I just watched, he harvested his own corn, shocked the kernels in liquid nitrogen, and made the most incredible-looking corn grits I’d ever seen. I didn’t have grits in my cupboard on Saturday morning, but I did have cornmeal, which is where this idea came from. Then all I had to do was find the right recipe.
Cookies, cookies everywhere and not a chocolate chip cookie in sight. Look, let’s be honest about Christmas cookies: they’re fun to look at but are they really fun to eat? Most of them taste like cardboard with over-sweetened frosting slathered on. While everyone tries to reproduce the cover of Bon Appetit (which is, admittedly, pretty stunning), why don’t you do what I’d do and make a batch of these comforting, hot from the oven chocolate chip cookies from one of America’s greatest bakers? As someone who makes a lot of chocolate chip cookies (Martha’s, whole wheat, Eric Wolitzky’s, ones with cranberries and oats) these may be the most wholesome and comforting I’ve yet made, partially because they’re packed with walnuts.
1. Because it’s the weekend and you can eat whatever you want and not get fat.
2. Because crumb cake works equally well as breakfast, as an afternoon snack, a post-dinner dessert or a late night treat.
3. You have four sticks of butter in your refrigerator and you don’t know what to do with them.
Every generation is given its iconic body part. The 90s gave us Cindy Crawford’s mole. The aughts gave us Janet Jackson’s breast (perfect cupcake fodder). And now the 10s have given us a gift in the form of a pointy, wet protuberance: Miley Cyrus’s tongue.
I first became aware of Miley’s appendage, as most of America did, at the MTV Music Video awards when she appeared onstage with stoned, pink teddy bears (no I’m not talking about Robin Thicke) and she stuck her tongue out in a way that defied the laws of mouth-physics. Was it disturbing? Was it groundbreaking? I’m not sure. But one thing was for certain: that tongue was seared forever into my memory banks.
Like a dying swan, I came to L.A. and watched as, feather-by-feather, all of my bagel-eating genes fell to the ground. I tried, I really did. I made bagel bombs, which were a nice alternative, but not the real thing. I stood and ate a bagel at Brooklyn Bagel and thought, “Oh man: this doesn’t feel right at all.” I basically gave up. And then, very gradually, a new idea began to hatch in my brain: what if I made my own everything bagels? How hard could that be? On Friday afternoon, I bought bread flour and malt powder and cream cheese and nova and red onions; on Saturday morning, I woke up all set to make Peter Reinhart’s famous recipe.
Hello your honor,
My name is Reese Witherspoon–Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon. I am so embarrassed to be standing in front of you today after having been arrested for disorderly conduct in Atlanta; almost as embarrassed as I was at the premiere of This Means War. What: you didn’t see that movie? Join the club. Anyway, please don’t consider this bribery–oops I said the “B” word–but I baked you a batch of my famous blondies. Get it? Because I’m a blondie? (Well not in my mugshot.)