All posts by Nichole

The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ll go ahead and warn you: This is one of those Let Me Tell You a Story posts where I type and type and type about something and then finally get to the recipe from the post title. So if you’re just here for the recipe? Click here.

It’s not a long story, though. I promise. Here goes.

The Great British Baking Show Bake-Along that I’ve been participating in on Facebook has started up again, and the first challenge is Regional Biscuits. The instructions are to make a dozen perfectly identical cookies that have a recognizably regional flavor and that have a personal meaning to the baker. I don’t know that there’s a regional cookie from my area, though, and I know I can’t get my Aunt Judy’s rugelach to look anything even close to identical (and possibly not even edible).

So I decided to go with the all-American chocolate chip cookie.

Fortunately for me, my friend April sent her chocolate chip cookie recipe out with her holiday cards this year. It was boldly titled “The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.” My first thought was “Oh, that’s a sweet idea,” and my second thought was, “Wow, April, that’s a pretty big flex. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

But it was Christmas and so I didn’t try it for a few weeks. I made my first batch last week, and I am happy to report that she was not overstating things. These are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. They have a ridiculous chip-to-cookie ratio, and they’re somehow crisp and chewy all at the same time.

I’m not sure why I was surprised that they’re perfect, though. April is a scientist, and I’m positive this recipe went through lots of testing under rigorous conditions before she committed to it.

The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
courtesy of April Bauer

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (10oz)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (8oz)
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (10oz)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups bread flour, approximately 20oz
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks
Maldon sea salt

Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time until mixture is homogenous. Add vanilla.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.

Add flour mixture to the prepared butter/sugar mixture. Beat together until homogenous. Stir in the chocolate chips. (This takes some effort. Twenty ounces is a LOT of chocolate chips.)

Cover and chill dough at least 4 hours and up to 4 days.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper approximately 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each dough ball with a few crystals of Maldon sea salt flakes.

Bake until edges are golden brown, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely, if you can stand the wait.

Hey Nineteen

It’s the return of the All & Sundry survey! I’m not sure if it’s still a going concern over there, but we’re going to do it again here regardless.

What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
I saw a show on Broadway.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My goal for 2017 and 2018 was to try to treat myself with more kindness and mercy and to go out with Rockford more often. I think Rockford and I definitely did go out more often this year. Still working on the kindness thing. As for new resolutions, I’m going to try to drink more water and stop drinking sweet tea.

January – We said goodbye our first house and moved across town.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

A couple of friends from church did.

Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. We lost Rockford’s grandmother this year. It feels weird mentioning them in the same sentence as her, but we lost both of our 16-year-old cats this year, too. It was a tough year.

February – JJ T. Cat enjoyed taking his boy for walks.

What countries did you visit?
It was another entirely domestic year.

What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

March – We said goodbye to Marsha T. Cat. It was a hard month.

What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I don’t have a good enough memory to remember specific dates.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?


April – We finally made it to the room where it happened! “Hamilton” was even better than I thought it would be.

What was your biggest failure?
I don’t need your negativity in my life, question.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing terrible.

May – Rockford and I went to the Shaky Knees music festival for a weekend.

What was the best thing you bought?
A new house.

Where did most of your money go?
The new house.

June – This is the last photo I have of JJ T. Cat. He disappeared not long after this.

What did you get really excited about?
Seeing “Hamilton” and watching the kids in “A Christmas Carol.”

What song will always remind you of 2018?
Not applicable.

July – We went to Michigan and Chicago in July, and this deer spent a lot of time in our yard.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Last year and the year before I said more family hikes. This year? More family hikes.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Chugging sweet tea.

August – We welcomed Zobrist and her sister Zoe to the family.

How did you spend Christmas?
At home! It was relaxed and glorious.

What was your favorite TV program?
I really enjoyed “Legion,” “The Good Place” and “The Great British Baking Show.”

September – I only take pictures of the cats now.

What were your favorite books of the year?
I wrote a whole post about that yesterday! Ye Olde 2018 Reading Roundup.

What was your favorite music from this year?

Fleet Foxes, Phosphorescent and The National. Not necessarily new stuff, but it’s what I’ve been listening to a lot.

October – We went to a food truck festival and ate a lot of food.

What were your favorite films of the year?
I really and truly loved “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.”

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 40 this year, and.

November – I wrote a novel!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Fewer deaths.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
My Jim James / Mrs. Roper look is still going strong.

December – We had one pretty, pretty good snow.

  • 2006
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  • 2015
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  • Ye Olde 2018 Reading Roundup

    I set out to read 40 books this year, and I ended up reading 51.

    My presidential biography project got sidelined a bit this year, which is probably why I read more. I tend to either take comfort from the fact that we’ve been arguing about the same national issues since the beginning or I get irritated about it, and I found myself getting irritated more than comforted this year.

    I still read a lot of nonfiction this year, though, and some of those titles were my favorites of the year. In no particular order, here are my Top Seven Reads of 2018:

    “Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)” by Jeff Tweedy. I probably would’ve enjoyed this regardless because I love Wilco, but this is so well written, funny and moving that I think it would be enjoyable even to non-Wilco fans.

    “The Broken Earth” series by NK Jemisin. OK, so this is technically three books. But it’s a wonderful and different sci-fi/fantasy series and I think you should read it.

    “No Turning Back: Life, Love and Hope in Wartime Syria” by Rania Abouzeid. This is not a light breezy read, but it will give you a new perspective on the Middle East.

    “Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches” by John Hodgman. This made me laugh out loud, and I read a lot of passages to Rockford. It’s terrific.

    Thanks as always to Goodreads for helping me keep track of all of this!