For those of you who know me personally, you know I am stubborn, hard-headed, the epitome of the rugged individual. I am all cold logic, and no fuzzy emotion. I am ambitious and disciplined. I am not one to ask for help. I don’t back down from a challenge. I never regret. I am career oriented. I revel in hard work. And worst of all, I am proud of it. I have an ego large enough to fill several oceans. And yet, this week – I did something very much out of character. I put aside leagues of ego, and let down all my walls. I, Anh Duong, asked for a second chance. To be more accurate, I was ready to move mountains for that second chance. This obdurate individual was ready to change. There are some things in life that are worth compromising one’s principles. My naive self finally found something worth it – it is very simply called, happiness.
I realize that on this blog, there is no recipe for chocolate chip cookies. How disappointing, right? Well, it’s because I haven’t found one worth putting up yet. The Original Toll House has always been a let down. My roommate Kari once tried the Neiman Marcus Recipe, and I wasn’t happy with it. So while I mulled over my decision and debated with myself this week, I tried out a few chocolate chip recipes and after much anticipation, I found one! The entire blogging world already knows about the NYTimes Jacques Torres recipe, but I guess I am slow to follow trends – but gosh golly – it IS the absolute best recipe I have ever tried. Additionally, I also tried Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Chip recipe, and though it wasn’t nearly as delicious as the Jacques Torres one, it is an instant gratification recipe, as it does not call for a 24-36 hour chill in the fridge. I recommend the NYTimes Jacques Torres recipe, but if you need an instant fix, the Dorie Greenspan one is the way to go. As always, my modifications are in [brackets].
Dorie’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
source: Baking from My Home to Yours
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks (8oz) butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips [bittersweet]
1 cup finely chopped nuts [omitted]
Pre-heat oven to 375*F.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
In a mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add both sugars and beat until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time. Slowly add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not over mix. I used a stand mixer for the first two portions of dry ingredients, and by hand mixed in the last third of flour. To prevent over mixing, I folded in the nuts and chocolate chips.
Drop the dough by the rounded tablespoonful onto baking sheets, leaving 2″ between each. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are brown at the edges and golden in the center. Transfer from oven and allow to cool 1 minute before cooling on racks.
Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies
source: New York Times
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate [60% cacao bittersweet]
Sea salt. [omitted]
Into a bowl, sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. On low speed, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Drop chocolate pieces in and hand-incorporate with a spatula. Wrap the whole bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside. With an cookie scoop (for even sized cookies), scoop 3 oz mounds of dough onto your baking sheet. You can (or can not) sprinkle each with sea salt, your preference. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and still soft. Transfer from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.
I realize I’m being very vague about what I mulled over this week. To put it very briefly, my relationship has been strained by my busy schedule and unbending work ethic (among other things…), which essentially dictates that my priority list has no room for emotions and no time for love. I know it’s very selfish of me. I use to think that things like emotions got in the way of success and my work ethic, and so I often disregarded them at the expense of someoneiknow. And I was miserable because of it. So, after many rounds of tears and lots of deep introspection, I realized my own personal happiness depended on the reconciliation of my principles and my emotions. And so far, it seems to be working just fine. This new Anh can be in love, can be happy, and can still be a career woman.
“She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before.” (The Awakening, K. Chopin)