Sea Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

My son loves chocolate chip cookies, so I am perpetually in search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. He likes these cookies, but I love them. The touch of salt is a perfect foil to the plentiful chocolate. This wonderful recipe is from Savory Sweet Life.

The first time you try this recipe, it is important to watch the cookies carefully as they bake – they are so much better if you can get them out of the oven before they brown too much.  Don’t be distressed when their appearance changes while they cool. They will crackle more as they fall slightly and will look a touch gooey at first.

Try not to eat all of them in one sitting and do share!

Sea Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies - A Pat & A Pinch

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened

½ cup sugar

1½ cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2¾ cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour (If possible, weigh the flour)

¾ tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt (do not substitute with table salt)

1 tsp. baking soda

1½ tsp. baking powder (make sure it is fresh)

2¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.

Mix the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour in a bowl.

Cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a mixer until it is fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium-high speed). Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes until the colour lightens and the texture becomes almost icing like.

Add the flour mixture beating until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Finally add chocolate chips until well distributed. The cookie batter should be somewhat thick. Chill the batter for at least 30 minutes.

Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough or use a medium cookie scoop and plop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes. Pick up the parchment paper with the cookies still on top and transfer to a cool non-porous surface. Allow the cookies to cool on the paper for at least 3 minutes before serving.

Nancy’s Apple Torte

Nancy's Apple Torte - A Pat & A Pinch

This recipe comes via my New York based Aunt who, in turn, got it from her sister Nancy. The torte comes together quite easily and is perfect for a dinner party.

Having just read J. Kenji López-Alt’s thoughtful study and discussion of the best apples for apple pie on Serious Eats, I chose to use Golden Delicious apples rather than the McIntosh apples suggested in the original recipe. I was really pleased with the texture and consistency of the apples when the pie had baked.  I have also seen a similar recipe that suggested Granny Smith apples.  I think there is quite a bit of flexibility in your apple choice.

The recipe doesn’t specify whether to use sliced blanched almonds or unblanched almonds. I chose the latter as I wanted the extra colour. I was glad I did.  The torte would look rather pallid in the absence of the touch of colour that the glimpses of almond skin contribute.

Nancy's Apple Torte - A Pat & A Pinch

Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces

1 large egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

1 large egg

8 oz. cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

4 cups peeled and sliced Golden Delicious apples

1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400 F.  To prepare crust, pulse flour, almonds, sugar and salt in a food processor, using about 10 one-second pulses, until combined.  With the motor running, add butter, a few pieces at a time.  Add egg yolk and vanilla and process until evenly combined (Mixture will look like wet sand).   Pat the crust into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and about 1-inch up the sides.

To prepare filling, wipe out the food processor.  Add egg, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla; process until smooth.  Spread into the crust.

To prepare topping, toss apples, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and combine.  Spoon over the filling, pressing gently.  Top with almonds.

Bake the torte for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.  Continue baking until set around the edges, and just a bit jiggly in the center, 20 to 25 minutes more.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the pan sides and let cool completely, about 1 hour.  Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours, before serving.  Serves 10.