Everyone is gearing up for epic Thanksgiving cookery right now, which marks the beginning of the upcoming holiday season marathon of roasted turkeys, mashed potatoes, and gluttony galore. In case you're looking for last minute Thanksgiving desserts: might I recommend a drunken pear frangipane tart? or pumpkin pie with caramel brandy hard sauce? (Wait, why did those first two suggestions both involve liquor???) Or, for a twist on a traditional favorite, cheddar apple hand pies?
Sometimes during the holiday season, though, I get tired of all the insane hubbub of endless buffets and fancy eating and zipping from place to place. Sometimes, I just want to slow down, take some time, stare out the window at the crisp winter days, wrap my hands around a mug of tea or hot chocolate or warm apple cider or milk while sitting by a cozy, crackling fire, listen to my favorite Christmas music, and just enjoy the holiday season and the twinkle of the Christmas lights reflecting off of the walls. For those days, this is the cookie you'll want to nosh on: seasalt and thyme chocolate chunk cookies.
This cookie is your wonderfully nostalgic, just-perfectly-chewy chocolate chip cookie (with a bit of delicate crumb still) remixed into something sophisticated and ever so "adult"--or worthy of the adult table!--, with a sprinkling of sea salt and a touch of fresh, earthy thyme. When paired with the mix of dark and semisweet large chocolate chunks, the sea salt and thyme make this cookie surprisingly novel yet familiar. I got a lot of "ooooo! What is that secret ingredient that you put in here?" moments from people who tried these cookies. And then you can just smugly and silently smile in reply. Because every holiday moment should have its share of magic and mystery. ;-)
Have a very happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Read on for recipe....
Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted very loosely from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home
makes ~20-30 cookies
140 gr unbleached bread flour
185 gr all purpose flour
3/4 tspn baking soda
1 tspn coarse salt
2 Tbspn fresh thyme leaves
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) butter, cold and in small cubes
200 gr (1 cup) dark brown sugar
150 gr (3/4 cup) white sugar
1 Tbspn molasses
142 gr (5 oz.) semisweet chocolate chunks
142 gr (5 oz.) dark chocolate chunks
water, in mister
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare sheet pans lined with parchment paper or silpats.
2. In a bowl, whisk to combine the bread flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and fresh thyme leaves. Set aside.
3. In a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
4. Gradually add the brown sugar, white sugar, and molasses to the butter, beating until light and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Mix in the dry ingredients and then fold in the chocolate chunks until well-distributed.
7. Form each cookie using about two tablespoons of dough per cookie. Roll into a ball and place on the prepared pan, pressing down slightly to form a thick disc. Leave room between each cookie--they will spread. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt on each cookie and mist gently with water before baking.
8. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the edges of the cookies are just turning brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan on a rack for two minutes before removing the cookies from the pan and cooling directly on a rack.