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Chocolate Chips, Valentine’s Day and a Big Thank You

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

According to Andria Frankfort, these chocolate chip cookies are perfect in texture and taste.

I owe Kristen O. a debt of gratitude. 

Actually I don’t know Kristen O. But she has come up with the most delicious, perfectly textured, sink-your-teeth-into chocolate chip cookies, which might render our weekly walk around the corner to buy our all-time favorite chocolate chip cookies obsolete. (Which actually is a shame because there goes the exercise that justified the yummy cookie. So be it.)

We found this chocolate chip cookie accidentally, at a Christmas cookie exchange. My dear friend Mary Clark Granberry, who is an awesome cook, brought a couple dozen of the life-changing cookies, which she says have reached cult-status at her house. Mary Clark stumbled across the recipe on Houstonian Carly Lee’s C. Style blog: According to Carly, her friend Kristen O. came up with the recipe and shared it on a girls’ trip, and here we are.

A box of instant vanilla pudding is the secret ingredient that gives these cookies a texture we hadn’t been able to achieve, no matter how many iterations of butter, eggs and baking soda we tried. And did we ever try! My daughter and her friends took it upon themselves to figure out how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, the one that comes closest to that cookie around the corner from us. They never got close.

But this past week, that same daughter had a bunch of friends over for dinner (and to yell at the TV while watching the latest episode of The Bachelor – oh how I love those girls!), and she served these cookies. One friend asked if we had bought them down the street. SCORE.

Now that it’s Valentine’s Day and chocolate is in the air, I thought it was the perfect time to share this awesome recipe. With thanks to Mary Clark, and to Carly, and to Kristen O. You have all made us so very happy!

Kristen’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted ever-so-slightly from Carly Lee’s C. Style blog

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix (must be instant, and must be the large box)
¾ bag Heath bar bits
6 ounces milk chocolate chips
12 ounces chocolate chunks (buy these in a bag, or I like to break 12 ounces of a really good, semi-sweet chocolate bar into ¼-inch or so pieces)

Recipe directions:
Heat the oven to 375 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a stand mixer using the paddle, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Mix until all is thoroughly incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda and vanilla pudding mix. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, scraping the sides of the bowl to be sure all is combined. By hand, stir in the Heath bits, chocolate chips and chocolate chunks.

Using a medium-sized cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoons), place dough about two inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes for soft-in-the-middle cookies. Cool the cookies, and be sure to eat one while it’s still warm and gooey. A happy Valentine’s Day, indeed!

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