When I dream a little dream, I dream of tossing everything out, of moving somewhere else, of starting a new, fresh life. The thought thrills me. What would happen? Where would I go? Who would I be?
I'd probably never do that though.
I'm very attached to my city of Montreal. I've lived here all my life. My family is here. Many of my friends are here. Friends and family aside and as ridiculous as this probably sounds, the thing that I love the most about Montreal is my home. Sure, it's a little messy at the best of times, but it's all me. I really, really love it. It's my safe haven.
The problem with homes is broken locks. My little world (including my cat) were locked inside, and I was locked outside, completely separated and stuck.
I'm not going to deny the flashes of panic that passed through my mind. I was lucky that my temporary roomie was there by my side to keep me grounded and distracted from the severity of the situation. It took 3 locksmiths and eight hours to get us settled back inside. It cost a fortune. And the future holds more expenses and repairs on my damaged front door and lock.
I will never forget the sound of the locksmiths hammering, drilling, forcing, and cracking open the door to the little apartment I call my home. There was a lot of swearing during the struggle. I had this worry that my cat would be stuck inside forever and starve. Completely ridiculous, but by the seventh hour, I was internally freaking out. The situation just wasn't funny anymore.
What recipes do you bake to make your house a home? A batch of chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven, helps me forget. The scent of sweet baking, chocolate and vanilla, fills my injured apartment, and transforms it back into my home. My cat runs straight for her bowl of food when she hears that I have filled it until it overflows, just in case. She plays with her bits of food like they are miniature hockey pucks. The fact that she is spreading greasy, smelly cat food all through my home doesn't bother me in the slightest.
This ever-popular cookie recipe is a definite keeper (from Jacques Torres, and published in a 2008 issue of the New York Times). The recipe is standard, just like most other chocolate chip cookie recipes, a simple list of ingredients that make this apartment my home. The technique is what sets this recipe apart (a rest period of 24–72 hours for the dough prior to baking). It allows me to settle my nerves in a matter of minutes with dough that I made a few days ago. Resting the dough transforms a good'ol chocolate chip cookie dough into the perfect cookie: crispy, chewy, sweet, salty, chocolaty. The texture of the rested dough is completely different from that of a freshly prepared batch. It's definitely worth the wait.
Best part: just pull it out of the fridge, scoop, and bake it. Better yet, always have a batch of the rested dough on hand, pre-scooped and frozen. Pull a couple scoops out of the freezer, bake (350°F, 18 minutes), et voilà!
The two types of cookies featured here actually came from the same batch, split in half prior to adding the chocolate. To half the dough, I added dark chocolate chips, to the other half, the same amount of dark chocolate chips that I had ground up in the food processor. The ground semi-sweet chips render the cookie slightly less sweet. The effect is welcome.
The ultimate chocolate chip cookieMakes ~60 2-inch cookies
- 8 1/2 oz cake flour
- 8 1/2 oz all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 oz (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 10 oz light brown sugar
- 8 oz granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 lbs semi-sweet chocolate chips (either whole or ground in the food processor)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars for at least 5 minutes, or until the mixture becomes very light in color.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl between each addition.
- Add the vanilla, and beat again.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry mixture, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Add the chocolate and mix to incorporate.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 36 to 72 hours.
- To bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Scoop tablespoons of cold, rested cookie dough, shape into balls, and place about 1 inch apart on a Silpat-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake the cookies for about 18 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Place the sheet on a wire rack to cool slightly before diving in.
- Alternatively, freeze the balls of cookie dough on a baking sheet, then transfer to a tupperware to store in the freezer for when you need a cookie or two.