By 300 Sandwiches
This weekend, I got walloped with the holiday spirit by our first snow of the season. Our little Brooklyn neighborhood got about 3 inches of the white stuff, a visual cue that it’s time to slow down, stay in, and get your fa la la la la on.
I spent all day Saturday whipping up various flavors of Christmas cookie dough while sipping Baileys over ice in a holiday mug and watching Q scurry around our apartment in her Christmas pjs. Nothing is cuter than candy cane pjs on a baby.
I wanted to make enough batches of cookies to give to my coworkers, my doctor’s office and other helpful folks in my orbit. Gingerbreads and shortbreads were on my to do list, and I had to include a chocolate chip variety. I could have gone with my go to recipe, but I wanted to try something fresh. Salted chocolate chip came to mind–something about that combo of salty and gooey, warm chocolate got my mouth watering.
This recipe by David Leibovitz intrigued me, as the secret ingredient was not just flaky sea salt, but also tahini. I never thought to bake with the sauce, instead only using it in hummus and savory sides. But it adds an unsuspected richness to each cookie, cutting the sweetness, leaving each bite even that more satisfying in your mouth.
I followed the ingredients to the “t”, but futzed with the preparation because I got distracted by the candy cane baby cuteness and other things. The cookies still turned out perfect, savory and sweet, melted chocolatey goodness. I ate way more than I like to admit. Thankfully, I have two more batches of cookies still left in my refrigerator to bake.
(recipe adapted from David Leibovitz’s version–but not really because David really created perfectly chocolatey salty heaven here, and why mess with a good thing?)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chunks, or chocolate chips
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel (any flaky salt will do-I tried some espresso brava salt we had on hand for a smoky, cafe flavor)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter, tahini, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the egg, the yolk, and vanilla. Continue to mix for another minute, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice, to make sure the eggs are well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and kosher or sea salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in your stand mixing bowl and mix on low until just combine. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight, or for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Form the cookies into rounds using a spoon or ice cream scoop, or your hands. For small cookies make each 1 1/2-inch, for larger cookies, make them 2-inches round. Place them evenly spaced on the baking sheets. David advises to bake one sheet at a time, so you can keep an eye on them, in the middle rack of the oven. I baked two at once, one on the bottom, but kept an eye on both to make sure neither burned. The bottom rack will cook faster than the top, natch.
Turn the baking sheet in the oven midway during baking. Bake 12 to 15 minutes–depending on the size of the cookies, until cookies are golden brown around the edges but still pale in the center. Remove from the oven, sprinkle cookies with flaky sea salt of your choice, and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.