Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds (sans Toasted Almonds and with Heath Bar toffee bits instead) - made January 25, 2010 from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
Earlier this week I was feeling pretty crappy. Everyone around me seemed to be sick with some kind of flu or cold but apparently my mind decided to go one better and skip the sneezing stage and go straight to headache, the occasional hacking cough and general malaise. Monday was bad and by Tuesday, I'd been "nursing" a persistent pounding in my temples for almost 24 hours. Not to mention feeling rundown in general. Did I mention it was only Tuesday? I skipped my Tuesday night Zumba class since I couldn't imagine doing a salsa or merengue without my head flying off my shoulders. But as I was driving home that night, I decided I'd had enough. I was feeling bowed down from all the work pressure I was under and the belief of sickness that I didn't need to hold onto. It was time to kick that nonsense to the curb. I wanted no part of it. I literally could feel my spine straightening in my driver's seat. My original plans when I got home were to crawl into bed and try to end the day comatose to escape it all.
Instead, I got home, cracked open one of my baking books and fished out this recipe. It was simple and straightforward and is one of my comfort foods - chocolate chip cookies. I made the dough in no time, let it chill in the freezer while I cleaned myself up from the day, and did a heavy strength-training workout while they were chilling. Then I baked a batch and ate a cookie while I watched the Biggest Loser (I know, I know, that seems so wrong. But I do it all the time). I felt fine and I've felt fine since then because I claimed health for myself and wasn't going to accept anything less. BTW, the cookies were pretty good too. It's your standard chocolate chip cookie but the edges were crisp and the middles were chewy. Can't ask for anything more from a cookie. They didn't spread as much as some of my other CCC recipes which is always a plus. Instead of almonds I substitued chopped up Heath Bars and used milk chocolate chips instead of semisweet (my standard substitutions for nuts and chips). I'd consider this another hit from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book.
½ cup whole natural almonds, toasted
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ounces best-quality semisweet (58%) chocolate, coarsely chopped into ¼ - ½-inch chunks
1. Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Roughly chop the almonds into large pieces.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another minute.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
5. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing until no flour is visible after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
6. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Stir in the almonds and chocolate. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 1 hour. (If you’re really impatient or hungry, spread out the dough on a tray or cookie sheet, lay a sheet of plastic wrap flush against the surface of the dough, and freeze so it chills up fast.)
7. Once the dough is chilled, turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half. Roll each half into a log about 12 inches long. Refrigerate the logs for at least 30 minutes before slicing. (At this point, you can wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 1 month.)
8. Cut the logs into 1-inch slides, and place them about 1 ½ inches apart on each cookie sheet. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes, or until the centers no longer have a glossy look of raw dough. They should be chewy, so do not overbake.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 weeks. Do not uncover before defrosting.