Archive for the ‘Favorites’ Category

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And the winner is…

October 29, 2009

Thanks to everyone for their ice cream sandwich ideas. You all sent in some delicious combinations. It will take me quite a while to make them all. They are inspiring.

It was really hard to pick a favorite. Next time I will ask you to mail me samples. Fedex and dry ice required of course! My favorite of all was submitted by Sarah. In honor of fall her entry was pumpkin-butterscotch cookies filled with brown-butter ice cream.  As Sarah said, “These cookies are cupcake-like, so the sandwich’s texture is something like a whoopie pie. Yum!” I second that YUM! There’s a reason you are starting to see brown butter on dessert menus across the country. It brings so much flavor to anything and everything.

If you have never made brown butter it is easy. Put butter (I use unsalted) in a pot and cook over medium heat until it starts to brown. It will fill the kitchen with amazing aromas. Stir it occasionally as you don’t want bits to stick to the bottom and burn. The trick is to get it a rich brown color but not to let the little pieces turn black. Some chefs strain the butter but as long as none of it is burned I leave them in. I like the color. As soon as it is finished pour it into another container. If you leave it in the pot it will continue to cook and get too dark.

In other ice cream sandwich news, I have created some new combinations for a conference I am attending at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa next month. The conference is an annual think tank for food professionals. Chefs come in from around the world and we all share ideas and of course, food.  This year’s theme is Frontiers of Flavor: World Street Food, World Comfort Food. As soon as I heard the title I instantly thought of the ultimate American comfort food ice cream. And what better way to enjoy it than from a cart in an ice cream sandwich. No plates or utensils required. In keeping with the international theme, I created four different sandwiches based around Thai, Vietnamese, Latin American and Asian cuisines.

Thai- Coconut Meringues with Mint Lime Ice Cream

Asian- Pistachio Orange Shortbread with Rosewater Ice Cream

Vietnamese- Ginger Cookie with Cardamom Coffee Ice Cream

Latin American- Chocolate Cookies with Dulce de Leche Swirl Ice Cream

Here’s the recipe for my Thai creation.

 

Coconut Meringue with Mint Lime Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yield 10 sandwiches

 

Coconut Meringues

6 ounces egg Whites

.75 ounces sugar

3.5 ounces sugar

3 ounces powdered Sugar

2 ounces sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened coconut, finely ground, not toasted

  1. Whip Egg Whites until frothy.  Add first amount of sugar and whip to stiff peaks
  2. When Meringue reaches stiff peaks add second amount of sugar, whip to very firm peak
  3. Place meringue in a bowl and gently fold in powdered, third amount of sugar and coconut.
  4. Pipe meringue into 1 3/4 to 2 inch circles with #802 tip (about 1/4 inch) on parchment lined sheet pans.  Bake 150-200 degrees until dry.

 

Mint Lime Ice Cream

4 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/2 cups cream

1 1/4 cups whole milk

Zest from 3 limes

5 grams mint leaves

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

  1. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt.
  2. Scald milk and cream with lime and mint.
  3. Temper into eggs.
  4. Make creme anglaise to 170 degrees.
  5. Strain and cool over ice bath.
  6. Stir in lime juice.
  7. Refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight.S
  8. pin into ice cream.
  9. Harden off in freezer.
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Caramel

October 23, 2009

sugar

 

Now that daylights savings time is a little more than a week away I feel we are finally in autumn. As much as I love Indian summer days, the crispness of fall puts me in the mood to bake. This is the time of year I get excited about caramel. I use it all year round but it really shines and shows all its complexities when it is paired with pumpkin, apple, pears and other fall flavors. It is remarkable something so much a part of the pastry palate is just sugar and water. Home cooks are reticent about making caramel but once you learn how to do it a whole pastry world opens up- crème caramel, caramel pot de crème, caramel ice cream, apple caramel bread pudding- the list goes on and on. And that doesn’t even include caramel sauce and all its variations- caramel coffee, caramel peanut butter, caramel chocolate, caramel apple, caramel calvados, caramel ginger, caramel pineapple etc etc.

Whatever you make with caramel you start at the same place- cooking sugar until it is an amber color. Most French (and some American) pastry chefs make a “dry caramel”. This is made without water. I avoid making dry caramel as it has a higher chance of cooking unevenly and burning. Adding water takes a few minutes longer (the water has to cook off before the sugar can cook) but it is much easier.

Caramel sauce is the Grand Dame of all things caramel. The first thing you do is gently stir together the sugar and the water in a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan. Avoid using dark colored pots as it is difficult to gauge the color of the caramel. You want to gently stir it because you want to minimize the amount of sugar splashed up on the sides of the pot. Cook the sugar over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and no longer looks cloudy. Dip a pastry brush in water and brush the inside sides of the pan above the cooking sugar to eliminate any sugar sticking to the sides. (You can also put a lid on top of the pot for a minute. The steam will dissolve any sugar on the sides of the pot.)

Increase to medium high (or high heat if your stove isn’t that powerful) and cook, without stirring, until the sugar is amber colored. This will take anywhere from 3-8 minutes depending on how much you are making and how high the heat is. While it is cooking put your oven mitts on. The caramel will first start to get colored around the edges. At this point swirl the pot gently to evenly distribute the part that is more colored. Once it is a rich deep amber color, turn off the heat. (If you have an electric stove, remove the pot from the burner as the residual heat will keep cooking the caramel.) Acting quickly, pour in about 3 tablespoons of the cream. You want to add it right after you take the pot off of the heat as the caramel will keep cooking and getting darker even though the heat source is turned off. Be careful as the caramel will sputter as the cream is added. Once you have added the cream, using a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula, stir it in. If the cream sputters a lot, stop stirring. Let the bubbles subside and then stir again. Carefully add the remaining cream. As you add more cream and the caramel cools down you can add it more quickly. Stir until combined. Let cool slightly (should still be warm) and whisk in the butter. This allows the butter to be emulsified into the sauce rather than melt in.

The trick is to get the caramel at just the right color. Too light and your sauce will be thin and more tan in color. Too dark and it will have a bitter taste. Once you have made it a couple of times you will get the hang of it.

Here’s one of the best pastry tricks I know. Cleaning caramel pots can be dfficult when the caramel sticks to the sides of the pot. For quick clean up fill the pot half with water and bring it to a boil. The hot water will dissolve the hard caramel. Similarly, if you burn the caramel and need it to stop cooking so you can get rid of it, add a couple cups of water, carefully at first, just as when you add the cream, to dilute it and stir to combine. This mixture can be poured down the sink.

Now that I have walked you through making caramel sauce here’s my recipe. Use your imagination to decide what to serve it with. Sometimes I don’t get past vanilla ice cream but who would argue with that as long as there are some warm toasted sliced almonds and bittersweet chocolate chunks.

What’s your favorite thing to serve caramel with?

Caramel Sauce

Yield: 1 3/4 cups

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Stir together the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Brush the insides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to eliminate any sugar sticking to the sides. Increase to high heat and cook, without stirring, until the sugar is amber colored, 3-5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Wearing oven mitts, slowly add a little bit of the cream. Be careful as the caramel will sputter as the cream is added. Using a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula, stir the cream into the caramel. If the cream sputters, stop stirring. Let the bubbles subside and then stir again. Carefully add the remaining cream. Stir until combined. Let cool slightly (should still be warm) and whisk in the butter. Keep refrigerated for weeks if it lasts that long.

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Still Jamming

October 8, 2009

jam

I have a nice stash of jam in the back closet. I have been adding to it since the spring when I first made Meyer Lemon and Orange Marmalade. Next up was apricot and then strawberry. I thought my making jam days for 2009 were over once the calendar turned to September. But I was wrong. At the farmer’s market in San Francisco this past Saturday (on the 3rd of October!) I found the most beautiful looking and tasting strawberries. Most were small and some were tiny, perfect for jam making. Before I knew it I was asking for a case. So much for the rest of my afternoon.

When making jam it is very very (Yes, I said very twice for emphasis.) important to cook it in small batches. Small batches allow the berries and juice to thicken quicker. The faster they cook the more flavor the jam has. It is tempting to make a big pot so you can get a lot of jars done at once but you will regret it. You lose the freshness of the fruit. This goes for any type of jam you make. Use a heavy bottomed pot at least 10 inches in diameter.

Once I finished making the strawberry jam I had a few empty jars that had not been filled. I hate putting away empty jars for a year so I decided to make some pear-vanilla bean jam with some pears that I also had picked up at the market. Pears can be cooked into jam very quickly as they are full of natural pectin. The pectin helps the fruit thicken. Berries have very little natural pectin.

There are several pear varieties you can use. In California I like French Butter pears and the small Seckel pears.  You can find Bartlett and Comice in grocery stores across the country. Check out your farmer’s market to find local varieties specific to your area. Make sure they are ripe.

I like to give jam as a hostess gift when I am invited to someone’s house for dinner. It is unexpected and gives everyone a break from the usual bottle of wine. I also give it as gifts for Christmas. When it is snowing and cold it is nice to have a reminder of the warmer time of the year.

Here’s my recipe for pear-vanilla bean jam. Pears are plentiful at the market. No sense giving you my strawberry jam recipe as the season is over. I’ll give it to you next spring.

 

Chunky Pear-Vanilla  Jam

Yield 1 pint jar

You can double this recipe but this is the amount of pears I had at home when I tested it. It is quick and easy. Don’t make more than a double batch. I know it is a small amount but it really is worth it. Don’t reserve this just for toast, it’s great with cheese too.

 

3 cups apple cider or apple juice (no sugar added)

2 vanilla beans

3 pounds ripe pears, Bartlett or French Butter (about 9)

3/4 cup sugar

Put the apple cider in a large pot or saute pan. With a paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Run the knife along the pod, releasing the seeds. Put the vanilla bean and seeds in the pot with the apple cider. Bring to a boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes until the liquid has reduced to 3/4 cup.

While the apple juice is cooking, peel, half and core the pears. Cut the pears into 1/4 inch pieces.

When the apple juice has finished reducing, add the pears and sugar to the pot and cook at a high simmer, stirring frequently, until thick and jam like, about 10 minutes.

Put up in jam jars or just refrigerate until cold and eat right from the fridge.

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Books for Cooks

October 1, 2009

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In my next life I want to be Celia Sack, the owner of Omnivore Books in San Francisco. I have always loved all types of books- Scholastic books in grade school, biographies, fiction, and nonfiction, table top, used- anything with words on a page. And cookbooks are even better. I love the idea of being surrounded by books about food all day. It’s like putting a kid in a candy store. I think subconsciously I wrote my first cookbook not only to share recipes but to have my name listed in the Library of Congress among all the famous authors. 

Celia’s shop is devoted solely to books on cooking, food, and everything related to these subjects. It is an oasis. I walk in the door and I want to stay for hours and sometimes do. Omnivore Books has all the cookbook authors you expect to see plus books about food, agriculture, wine, foreign publishers with book in both English and other languages, and vintage books. I love the old, small, mostly, English baking books that have intricate sketches of pastry equipment. There are also obscure books that you have never heard of but once you know they exist you have to have them. Like the cookbook I found yesterday called Royal Recipes. It focuses on dishes made for the Kings of England throughout history. She also has wine and old food labels. But don’t go looking for any pastry ones this week- I just bought them all. You will have to wait until she restocks. (Sorry- but really I’ m not.)

 

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Besides its wide inventory what makes Omnivore Books so special is Celia. When you walk in the door you are immediately caught up in her enthusiasm and passion for her books. I call them her books because she intimately knows about each one. You mention a book and she says- “Oh, it is right over here.” Followed by, “Have you seen this one, this is a wonderful book.”

With the stash of books I got yesterday I am having a reading marathon this weekend. The stack of books by my bed makes navigating in and out of the covers cumbersome. Time to clear them out so I can get ready for the next pile that I know I will pick up the next time I stop by Omnivore Books.

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Happy Anniversary KitchenAid!

September 24, 2009

KA anniv machine

The first gift my husband ever gave me was my KitchenAid stand mixer. That was a clear sign he was worth keeping around. Who else knew I would prefer a heavy metal object over a cashmere sweater or silver necklace? My mixer is a white 5 quart and it has seen me through the testing of 5 dessert cookbooks, family and friends’ birthday cakes, countless dinner party desserts and years of Christmas cookie marathons. I cannot even begin to imagine the number of times I have whipped cream in my machine. Come to think of it, it would have been cool if it had a meter that logged the number of minutes used. If my mixer could talk it would have a lot of memories to share. The good news is twenty years later I still have my husband and my mixer. They are both going strong and a vital part of my life.

Even though my mixer is working well and I would not give it up for the world when I heard about the 90th anniversary stand mixer and looked it up online my instant reaction was I have to get one. Then I said to myself- Don’t be silly, you don’t need a new mixer, yours is working fine. That thought lasted for about 24 hours until I went into the Sur La Table at The Ferry Building in San Francisco and Will, the general manager, showed me the new machine. Once I laid my eyes on it I knew it would only be a matter of time before it ended up on my kitchen counter. It is an absolutely gorgeous machine. The color is a deep cherry red, deeper than the red in their standard machine. It has a bit of a metallic sheen to it. Then there is the glass bowl. The thick glass is reminiscent of the mixers of the 50’s but you still get the work horse machine that KitchenAid mixers are known for. Retro and modern. I stare at it the way a mother stares at her newborn baby. I can’t take my eyes off of it. People come in the house and I instantly show it off.

But rest assured I have not given up my old machine. It is tried and true and deserves a rest. With all the baking and testing I do they will both get plenty of mileage. My two machines sit side by side. Visually they complement each other and I like to think they keep each other company.

Here’s is the recipe for the first thing I made in my new 90th anniversary mixer. Appropriately it is one of my husband’s favorites.

Almond Biscotti

Makes about 36

3 large whole eggs

3 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon anise seeds

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Grated zest of 1 lime

Grated zest of 1 orange

1 2/3 cups (7 ounces) whole natural almonds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, lightly whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla. Set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, anise seeds, and all the citrus zests in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until mixed. Add the egg mixture and continue to mix until almost completely incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add the almonds and mix until the dough comes together.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into thirds. Shape each third into a log about 10 inches long. Place 2 logs on a prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Place the third log on the second baking sheet.

Bake until light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool on the pans to room temperature.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

Transfer the logs to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, slice crosswise on a slight diagonal, 3/4 inch thick. Place the slices, cut side up, on 1 baking sheet and return to the oven. Bake until golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the pan to room temperature.

Planning Ahead

The biscotti may be made up to 2 weeks in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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YUMMY NEW SWEEPSTAKES! WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM SANDWICH COMBINATION?

September 11, 2009

 

Waterbar's It's It
Waterbar’s It’s Its

Who would not agree that an ice cream sandwich is one of the best ways to eat ice cream? Eating ice cream by itself is pretty darn perfect but eating it with your fingers has to be close to heaven.

When most people think about ice cream sandwiches the first thing that comes to mind is vanilla ice cream bookended by soft chocolate wafers. But we shouldn’t stop there. In my book A Passion for Ice Cream, I have a whole chapter devoted to ice cream sandwiches called With your Fingers. Chocolate cookies with mint chocolate chip ice cream, cocoa nib florentines with orange ice cream, ginger snaps with lemon ice cream, ranger cookies with peanut butter ice cream.

On the Waterbar dessert menu we have our version of an It’s It. (If you are not familiar with the It’s It, a mostly west coast treat, check out their website.) Our rendition is malted milk ball ice cream sandwiched between two crisp oatmeal cookies. It is then half dipped in bittersweet chocolate. It’s a big seller on our bar menu.

Ice cream sandwiches are easy to make. Yes, you can make your own cookies and/or your own ice cream but if you are short on time or inclination don’t despair. Get your favorite bakery cookies and your favorite commercial ice cream and go for it.

Slightly soften the ice cream (or even sorbet) when you assemble them so the cookies won’t break when you press the sandwich together. Store them in a single layer on a baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze until solid. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap to keep the flavors fresh. (If they last that long.)

Ice cream sandwiches can also be turned into a “dinner party” dessert. Serve them individually on a plate with a dish of warm caramel or chocolate sauce for dipping. YUM!

THE CONTEST: In honor of ice cream sandwiches and how much joy they bring to the world, I am going to have a contest. Send me your favorite ice cream sandwich combination (the cookie and the ice cream). Whoever comes up with the best idea will win signed copies of my three best selling cookbooks, A Passion for Desserts, A Passion for Ice Cream and Classic Stars Desserts (Valued at over $100!).

If you want it to be a homemade creation great but it doesn’t have to be. Store bought cookies and ice cream are fine. It’s all about the combinations. Get creative and just have fun. Send in your entries on the comment board here by October 30th.

To get your creative juices flowing, here’s my recipe for Raspberry Ice Cream Sandwiches. These don’t even use a cookie but crispy filo.

EmilyLuchettiLogo-FIN - Copy

Raspberry Ice Cream Sandwiches                                                      

 

Makes 8 sandwiches

 

Raspberry Ice Cream

12 ounces frozen raspberries (no sugar added), defrosted

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1 1/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream

 

Filo Rectangles

2 ounces (1/2 cup) whole natural almonds, toasted

1/4 cup sugar

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

4 sheets filo

 

To make the ice cream: Puree the raspberries in a food processor or through a food mill. Strain the puree through a sieve to eliminate any seeds.

 

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt.

 

Warm the milk, the cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbling around the edges, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk the liquid into the egg mixture. Return the milk and cream to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden or rubber heat-resistant spatula, until it coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve.

 

Stir in the raspberry puree. Cool over an ice bath, then refrigerate until cold.

 

Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is freezing, grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with a piece of plastic wrap. Spread the freshly churned ice cream into the pan and freeze until solid, 6 hours to overnight.

 

Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the pan. Place a cutting board on top of the parchment paper. Invert the pan and cutting board together. Remove the pan and then gently remove the plastic wrap. Cut the ice cream into rectangles 4 by 2 1/2 inches. (Save scraps for nibbling.) Place the ice cream rectangles on a baking sheet in a single layer (or stack with plastic wrap between layers). Freeze until you are ready to serve the sandwiches.

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

 

To make the filo rectangles: Finely grind the almonds and the sugar together in a food processor. Put in a small bowl.

 

Lay the sheets of filo on a flat work surface. Remove 1 sheet from the stack and place it on the work surface in front of you. Cover the remaining sheets with a kitchen towel. Brush the single sheet with some of the melted butter and then sprinkle with one quarter of the almond sugar. Lay a second sheet of filo on top of the first and again butter and sugar it. Continue in the same manner with the remaining 2 sheets of filo.

 

Cut the filo stack into 16 rectangles, each 4 by 2 1/2 inches. Using a metal spatula, transfer the rectangles to the prepared baking sheets, placing them about 1/4 inch apart.

 

Bake the filo rectangles until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

 

To serve: Place a rectangle of raspberry ice cream between 2 pieces of filo and serve immediately.

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Chips or Chunks

August 21, 2009

chunk or chip

Photo by Kim Goddard

I overdosed on sugar this week big time. I have been on a baking frenzy testing recipes for a cookbook I am writing. In 6 days Robyn, my pastry cohort, and I tested 32 recipes. Talk about a sugar rush.  All this sugar has gotten me thinking. If I were on a dessert island what desserts would I want? What couldn’t I live without? What do I dream about even after a day of intense baking? (Yes, I know there are no desserts on desert islands. This is hypothetical, a litmus test to see what desserts are really my favorites.) Chocolate chip cookies would certainly be on the list.

Chocolate chip cookies are the iconic American cookie. Seen everywhere from high end restaurants to the cookie aisle in the grocery store, the quality ranges from sublime to pretty disgusting. Although my mom didn’t make a lot of desserts I have fond memories of getting home from school to find her pulling a tray of Toll House cookies from the oven with some already cooling on the counter. While chocolate chip cookies are simple and everywhere they are also sophisticated and satisfy like no other dessert. Since becoming a cookie professional I am always pondering how to make them better and better.

One of the big discussions between chocolate chip cookie lovers is- Are chocolate chips or chocolate chunks better? (Even if it has chocolate chunks in it I still call it a chocolate chip cookie.) Using one or the other makes different cookies. The former gives small bites of chocolate even if you put more in. They still feel and taste small. This is good for small cookies.

Chocolate chunks give you much more of a chocolate hit when you take a bite. If you have chopped the chunks off a big block of chocolate then you also get the smaller slivers of chocolate in between bites that have chunks. These are real chocoholic chocolate chip cookies.

There are numerous brands of chocolate chips on the market. The chocolate is the main flavor of the cookie, so don’t skimp on quality. Pick a chocolate chip that you think tastes great. Go to the store and buy as many kinds as you can and try them all. (It’s a rough job but someone has to do it.) For the big brands, my favorites are Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate chips and Guittard Double Chocolate or 63%. I prefer bittersweet over semisweet as it has more flavor. (The exception to this is Scharffen Berger semisweet. It tastes like bittersweet.)

Some companies have even started making chocolate chunks or bigger chips so you don’t have to chop your own. If you chop your own chocolate into chunks your options are greater- E. Guittard, Lindt, Valrhona, El Rey, Scharffen Berger, TCHO and Green & Black’s. Go to the Chocosphere website and you will find these chocolates and other chocolate jewels like Amedei, Felchlin, and Michel Cluizel. Although these last three are not normally used in chocolate chip cookies why not?

Here’s a recipe for chocolate chip cookies to hold you over until you get to the desert island where fresh chocolate chip cookies will be waiting for you.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Makes about 36 cookies

 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks

 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

 In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly add the brown sugars and again beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, distributing them evenly.

To shape each cookie, using a spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop up a spoonful of the dough and roll between your palms into a 1 1/2-inch ball or smaller if you wish. As the balls are formed, place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart for the big cookies. If you want the baked cookies to be taller, refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. If you don’t mind them a little flatter, you can bake them right away.

Bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes for the larger cookies. At the midway point, switch the pans between the racks and rotate them 180 degrees to ensure even baking. Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes. You may then transfer them to wire racks or leave then on the pans to cool further.