Updated: March 21, 2013 6:12AM
A good chocolate chip cookie is like a tight hug on an otherwise bad day, the first smell of lilacs on a breezy summer afternoon, or the sight of a rafter of turkeys crossing the road on a Sunday drive.
Although small and modest, it’s an instant pick-me-up — something that makes you smile. A good chocolate chip cookie won’t shake the earth, but it will make it seem a little bit better for just a few bites — perhaps longer if an ice-cold glass of milk is its accompanist. Its popularity in this country vouches for that fact.
But an average chocolate chip cookie doesn’t have the same boost. An average chocolate chip cookie sometimes isn’t worth finishing. They fall into the trap of aridity, cakeyness, or much too often, they just simply aren’t sweet enough.
This chocolate chip cookie won’t ever transgress. This perfect recipe with a secret ingredient just won’t let it. It bakes into something dense and chewy, crispy as it cools. It’s sweet, but not overpowering, and the dough is the ideal backdrop for chunks of good quality chocolate.
The secret ingredient is cookie butter, the trendy peanut butter-like substance making its way to grocery stores. An odd choice, this thick and smooth dessert spread seems like too strong of a flavor to use. Essentially ground up gingerbread cookies, cookie butter is rich on its own, but in this cookie recipe it is surprisingly symphonic with the other ingredients. Cookie butter adds depth and a wonderful texture of crispness and chewiness that makes these cookies taste like they’ve just been taken out of the oven, even days after they’ve been baked.
This recipe calls for a lot of sweetener: dark brown sugar, corn syrup and the cookie butter. Yet, it isn’t at all overly sweet. Somehow, that medley of sugars works out to blend together a nice caramel flavor with just a hint of a gingerbread aftertaste.
Thick and dense, the cookie dough is somewhat difficult to mix, but patience is key. The end result will be worth the effort, and certainly the perfect pick-me-up on a day when you need one.
Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy cookie butter (Biscoff brand available at Meijer, Speculoos brand available at Trader Joe’s)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vanilla
11/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
11/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a large mixer, beat together the brown sugar, cookie butter and corn syrup until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
In smaller portions, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until a dough forms. Mix in chocolate chips and pecans.
Drop tablespoons of dough onto a greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Makes 11/2 dozen