Food

From the Chronicle Kitchen: The Newlywed Cookbook

Our guest blogger this week is Sarah Copeland, author of the deliciously romantic and highly user-friendly Newlywed Cookbook. Check out the video for the book, below. Leave a comment on the post and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of the book we’ll be giving away to a random lucky person. Offer valid in the US and Canada.

Some say you’re either born a baker, or not. I was born an eater, that can’t be disputed. But ask my big sisters about my first solo batch of chocolate chip cookies when I was eight years old. I might have misread the 2 1/4 cups of flour in the classic Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe as two 1/4-cupfuls of flour {aka 1/2 cup flour}. I might have made chocolate chip pancakes instead of cookies that day. But you know what I did? I scraped that gooey half-baked batter off the tray as soon as my sisters called me back into the kitchen taunting me, stirred in some extra four and re-baked that delicious dough into what turned out to be one fine, fluffy batch of cookies. Best I’d ever had up to that point in my life.

It’s not the most conventional way to make an impression with your CCC’s. Nor is my newer method, which I came to after 10 years of creating recipes in pastry kitchens and test kitchens in New York City. Inspired by the layers of butter and dough that create flaky puff pastry, I take huge chunks of bittersweet chocolate {I like Valrhona, Scharffen Berger or Trader Joe’s Pound Plus}, chop it into shards and layer it into pallets of chilled dough. Roll it together, cut out, brush with egg wash, and top with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt. The result is a crispy, bakery-style cookie marbled generously with rich, dark chocolate. These are exactly the kind of cookie you’ll want to claim as your own, take to a party, brag about a little.

Marriage is a little like these cookies. Sometimes you have to put in a little extra effort, shake it up, make it special; when you do, the result is utterly delicious. You’ll be proud of what you’ve created, something so good you want to keep it to yourself, but so special you can’t help but share. That’s the spirit of The Newlywed Cookbook—take what you know and love, turn it upside down, layer in some chocolate. Have a really, really good time. Make a mess, treat each other, and do it all again tomorrow.

I hope my book knocks your socks off. And I hope these cookies are just the thing to inspire you to always keep the cookie jar full!

~ Sarah

Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookies

Imagine the countertop of your favorite bakery piled high with generous stacks of crunchy cookies marbled with sheets of chocolate. Now imagine that in your very own kitchen. These beauties are worth the extra effort you put into them. The layered chocolate provides unparalleled texture, flavor, and a bakery-style finish that will make you very proud to call these your chocolate chip cookie.

Makes 20 cookies/biscuits

1 cup/ 225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup/150 g packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup/150 g granulated sugar
4 egg yolks, at room temperature, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups/ 280 g all-purpose/plain flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
9 oz/255 g high-quality bittersweet chocolate
1/4 tsp fleur de sel {optional}

Preheat the oven to 375˚F/190°C/gas 5. Line two baking sheet/trays with parchment/baking paper.

Cream butter and both sugars together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, two at a time, followed by vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda/bicarbonate of soda, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture on low speed until just mixed. Stop and scrape down the bowl to make sure all the butter is evenly incorporated and give the dough a final mix.

Divide the dough into 3 portions. Put each dough portion on large piece of plastic wrap/cling film, and pat into a 4-by-6-in/10-by-15-cm rectangle. Wrap and refrigerate on a flat shelf in the fridge until well chilled, about 30 minutes. {This helps to set the butter and make the dough easier to work with. Chilling cookie dough also helps cookies/biscuits keep their shape when they bake, the secret of most fine bakeries!}

Meanwhile, coarsely chop the chocolate into thin shards using a serrated knife. Set aside.

When the dough is chilled, lay one portion on a lightly floured countertop. Sprinkle with half of the chocolate and top with another piece of dough. Repeat with remaining chocolate and dough until you have a slab of dough with two layers of chocolate. Dust lightly and evenly with flour and roll gently with a rolling pin into a large 9-by 6-in/23-by-15-cm rectangle that’s about 1 1/2 in/ 4 cm thick.

Using a 2-in/5-cm round cookie or biscuit cutter or a thin rimmed glass, cut out ten rounds of dough. Gather the scraps together, pat lightly, and cut out remaining cookies.

Divide half of the cookies/biscuits between the 2 prepared baking sheet/trays, leaving about 3 in/7.5 cm between cookies/biscuits since they will spread. Brush the tops of each cookie with the beaten egg, and with a light hand, sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt, or leave plain.

Bake until the cookies are set, 12 to 15 minutes, switching the sheets halfway through top to bottom if you’re baking two sheets at a time. Let cookies/biscuits cool slightly, about 3 minutes, then transfer the cookies with a thin spatula to a wire rack to cool completely {or, just slide the parchment/baking paper directly onto the cooling rack}. Let the baking sheets/trays cool completely before using to bake the remaining dough {lining with more parchment/baking paper if needed}. Bake as directed, switching sheets top to bottom half way through baking, and cool.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Purchase: The Newlywed Cookbook: Fresh Ideas and Modern Recipes for Cooking with and for Each Other.

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