I was trying to think of an introduction for these cookies, but no story can do them justice. Just know that I could eat these everyday; I actually ate two today. It’s easy to put away 5 or 6 (or more) in one sitting, they’re that good.
I’ve been a little extra inspired to bake lately, not only because I keep rewatching episodes of GBBO but because I got to meet one of my baking (and writing) heroes a few weeks ago. Mom and I drove to San Francisco on a sunny Thursday, first stopping at Manufactory for a lovely dinner and a fantastic, fiery ginger-kombucha and whiskey cocktail that made my face glow like the setting sun. From there we headed over to Omnivore’s for a book signing with David Lebovitz. I’ve read all but one of his books—he’s a fantastic writer, cook, and baker, and one the inspirations for this blog. I nervously debated what to say to him, not wanting to come across as Obsessed Fan but also wanting to avoid Apathetic Attendee. David spoke for a bit before signing, telling a couple of hilarious stories and answering a few questions before squeezing into a corner of the tiny book shop, ready to sign. Mom and I were fifth in line, and when we got to the front we excitedly rattled off a few of our favorite recipes as we piled multiple books in front of him. He graciously signed all of our books, told us a couple of short anecdotes, and then consented to taking a photo with us. We left in high spirits, clutching our signed books closely and chatting happily about cookbooks, food, and our new BFF David.
Last weekend I was still feeling inspired, so I made David’s Coconut Ice Cream (one of my all-time favorites) with meringue nests, all from his updated The Perfect Scoop. (It’s a fantastic, exhaustive book on homemade ice cream, other frozen treats, and accompaniments, and it was recently republished with updated recipes.) This weekend, however, I briefly left the pages of David’s books and again turned to these Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies.
The recipe for these little beauties has been reposted all over various food blogs, and if you haven’t seen it and tried baking them, here’s my PSA: do it. Alison Roman published the original recipe in her wonderful cookbook Dining In, and since trying her recipe several months ago and making a few tweaks, I haven’t looked back. Much to Jonji’s chagrin, I actually prefer them over normal chocolate chip cookies—they’re buttery, perfectly short, salty, chocolatey and, as they say on GBBO, “melt-in-the-mouth.” Normal chocolate chip cookies are never the same the next day, in my opinion, but these stay crisp and delicious for a few days. As with all recipes with a short ingredients list, work with the highest quality that you can.
Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
makes two dozen cookies
2 sticks + 2 tbsp salted* butter (18 tbsp total), at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks**
flaky sea salt (I love Jacobsen)
*Salted butter results in a richer, more satisfying cookie than unsalted. If unsalted is all you have, mix 3/4 tsp salt in with the flour.
**If you only have chocolate chips, just chop 6 oz into slightly smaller pieces.
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, both sugars, and vanilla together until really light and fluffy, 3–5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then slowly add the flour. Mix in the chocolate pieces until the dough just comes together.
Divide the dough in half onto two large pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Squeeze each piece together to form a rough log shape, then roll the dough in the plastic wrap or parchment paper until you get a neater log that’s roughly 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill in the fridge for 1 1/2–2 hours, until quite firm. (These chilled logs will last for about a week in the fridge and for about a month in the freezer.)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap each log and slice into 1/2–inch rounds. (If you want crisper cookies, slice into 1/4-inch rounds.) Place each round on the parchment paper-lined sheets about an inch apart, and sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt.
Bake for 12–16 minutes, until the edges are a light golden brown. Let cool at least 15 minutes before eating. Enjoy!