Canal House Chocolate Chip Cookies

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A couple of weeks ago, a friend told me she had checked out Canal House Cooks Every Day from the library and described it as the loveliest cookbook she had seen in a long time. Middle child that I am, afraid to miss out on any fun, I immediately followed suit. That night by the light of my itty bitty book lamp, I poured through every chapter, making mental notes of ingredients to purchase and recipes to try, feeling more wound up with every page I turned, finally closing my eyes to a photo of a sheet pan lined with chocolate chip cookies, the last beautiful image in the book.

The following morning, before even thinking about coffee, I set butter out to soften and turned to the recipe, credited to Katherine Yang, a New York City pastry chef. When the Canal House ladies sought Yang’s guidance for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever, Yang passed along this one, a thin and crisp variety, one that perfectly balances that irresistible salty-sweet dynamic — there’s no need to top these off with any flakes of fancy sea salt. Crisp on the edges, chewy in the center, buttery with chocolate chunks throughout, these delicate cookies are enough to convert the thick-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookie lover in me forever. They are delectable. Even Ben, who never does any heavy lifting in the dessert department, eats them by the half dozen and swears he could eat them by the whole. I wouldn’t put it past him.

While I know the last thing many of you need is another cookbook, I am confident none of you would regret this addition to your libraries. And while these chocolate chip cookies, as simple and classic and timeless as they are, in some ways perfectly capture the spirit of the Canal House cooks, they aren’t perhaps the best reflection of the cookbook. With chapters organized by the months of the year, the book’s recipes are driven by the seasons, not only its produce gems — peas and favas in the spring, squash and apples in the fall — but also its preparations — grilled salmon in the summer, braised brisket in the winter.

Be warned: If you acquire it soon, it will make you seriously regret having not visited more pick-your-own strawberry farms this past May and might make you feel you squandered asparagus season entirely. But don’t despair: you will redeem yourself soon, vowing to make every tomato recipe in the August chapter. The book is inspiring to say the least. It will make you want to hang your pots and pans from the rafters and tie up your apron with pride every time you set to work. It will make you covet your mother-in-law’s china collection and make you want to scour flea markets (or have a field day at Fish’s Eddy) for vintage serving platters. It might inspire you to clear off your kitchen table and break out your pasta roller. It might make you a pickler, a poacher, a preserver.

As you read the vignettes, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about how you might get into mushroom foraging this fall, and although you’ve felt quite lazy in recent months, you think you might even consider peeling — yes, stalk by stalk — your asparagus next spring. And if your pleasure reading gets interrupted one more time, perhaps by a disagreeable toddler throwing himself at your feet, you might find yourself wishing to be nothing more than a duck floating along the canal ready to snatch up bread and any other nuggets tossed out the Canal House studio’s open French doors. Ahhh, where would we be without our dreams?

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Canal House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Source: Canal House Cooks Every Day

Notes: You can make this batter and store it in the fridge for a week, baking off cookies as you like. I like to weigh (so anal and totally unnecessary) my cookie balls before baking and found that 1 oz (28 g) was a nice size for these cookies. Also, I find “thin and chewy” as opposed to “thin and crisp” to be a better description of these cookies. Also, I used Kerrygold butter because I had it, but it’s not necessary. Finally, I found a 350 degree oven to be a better temperature for my cookies — mine browned a little too much at 375 — but this might not be the same for your oven, so start with 375 and then adjust accordingly.

Also, if you like thick-and-chewy chocolate chip cookies, try these.

10 ounces room temperature high-fat butter, such as Kerrygold
1¼ cups (298g) dark brown sugar (I used light)
¾ cup (149g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or extract (I used extract)
2 teaspoons kosher salt*
2 large eggs
1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons (265g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces chocolate chips

*It seems like a lot, but go for it…I even used salted butter, which I don’t typically use or recommend, and the cookies were not too salty.

1. Preheat the oven to 375° (or 350º…see note above). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix on medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes.

2. Whisk the flour and baking soda together, then add to the dough, continuing to mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, quickly mix the dough, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Drop the batter by the well-rounded tablespoon, about 4 inches apart, onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, 10–11 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

84 Comments

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  2. As a pastry chef, this recipe and pictures make me shudder in horror. Very few people would buy or eat cookies that looked like this. The large amount of butter is what makes them this way, and you can achieve thin and chewy cookies in other ways without these results.

    Reply
    • Wow, ok, well, I can say from experience that many people have loved these cookies, but since you are so horrified by them, maybe you could offer some guidance as to how you would have prepared them without all of the butter. Side note, the recipe comes a pastry chef from New York City who was asked by the authors of Canal House Cooks Every Day to create a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookie. This is the recipe she passed along.

      Reply
      • Hello again!

        I just wanted to say that I love these cookies. I have made them 5 times already and every time they make my day. Lesley’s comment made me think about how narrow minded people are :) Alexandra, you are doing a great job and this is my favourite cooking blog! Don’t let people’s taste/moods/arrogance bring you down! There are very many people who look up to you 50% because of your wonderful recipes and 50% because of your wonderful personality!

        LOVE!
        K

        Reply
        • Kristine, you are too too kind! Thank you thank you. This means so much to me. I am so happy you like these cookies. They are one of my favorites, too. And I wish Lesley had provided some more information in her comment because it was useless otherwise. I don’t understand the negativity! Alas, thank you again for writing in.

          Reply
      • Just wanted to let you know I just made these cookies with my 3 and 4 year olds and they were fantastic. 10 minutes at 350 and they were baked to perfection. I usually like big thick cookies but these have a beautifully thin and chewy texture that is to die for. The only thing horrifying about these cookies is how many of them I just ate.

        Reply
        • Haha, not horrifying at all :) I’m so happy to hear this. I am the same — I usually prefer a thick and chewy cookie, but there is something delicate and delicious about this thin and chewy one that I love. Thanks for writing in!

          Reply
    • As a total layperson I just have to say these are totally delicious. I made them tonight with my son and we were blown away. My friend who is staying over said , and I quote “these are several expletives not appropriate in front of children good!”

      I have to agree, cookies worth many expletives indeed.

      Reply
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