Mention chocolate chip cookies and you’ll get a smile. They have the same positive effect on the mood as Mo Willems’ picture book The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? The New York Times bestselling author and illustrator creates humor and art and even teaches values, such as sharing and good manners, all through a simple cookie and a minimum of words and lines. Like a joke, his book is short with an unexpected, witty ending. It’s perfect for tired parents at the end of a long day. The dialogue is so dynamic and so familiar to kids that it animates the stylised characters and gives life to the book. Kids wants to read it again and again. Maybe not the best option for tired parents after all!
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? seems simple, but the book is far from simplistic. It’s the kind of simple that’s not a starting point but rather an achievement. As with food, really. Take the chocolate chip cookie: as uncomplicated and familiar as it is, there remains a serious quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I have tried many recipes, and since the duckling in the story shares his chocolate chip cookie with nuts, here is my recipe for chocolate chip cookies with almonds, semisweet chocolate, and white chocolate. But unlike the duckling, my intentions are truly pure!
Ingredients: • 1 cup and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour • 1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons cocoa powder •1/2 teaspoon baking soda •3/4 teaspoon kosher salt •1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature •1/2 cup sugar •1/2 cup light or brown sugar •1/2 teaspoon vanilla •1 egg •1/2 cup almonds, chopped •1/2 cup white chocolate chips •1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Steps: In a medium-sized bowl, place the flour and sift in the cocoa powder and the baking soda. Add the salt and whisk together. In a different bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until you obtain the consistency of mayonaise. Then add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the dry ingredients in two additions and mix on low speed for just a few seconds.
Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there, then add the almonds and chocolate mixes until combined.
Using a small ice cream scooper or rolling dough gently between the palms of your hands, place dough balls on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, leaving about two inches of space between them. Then bake in a 350F preheated oven for 16 minutes.
Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes until their consistency is rather firm, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
These are my favorite cookies, crispy outside and soft (not doughy) inside, with a taste of good chocolate that pairs so well with almonds. As for the original chocolate chip cookie, I am still looking for the perfect recipe. If you have it, won’t you share it?