On the first day of the new year, I meant to sleep in.
Like many of you, I’d had too much food, too much champagne, too much company; I wanted to lie in bed, firmly tucked under the covers. But it wasn’t long, of course, until I began to feel restless. The sun (rudely) poured in, dispelling all hopes of going back to sleep. So I pulled on some woolly socks, and went to put the kettle on. And as the water began to bubble, almost before I knew what I was doing, I was pulling out the ingredients to make these cookies.
I know it’s supposed to be the month now for ‘cleansing’ teas, meager salads, and all the other punishments we love to perform after the holidays. But for once, I wanted to start with something that felt celebratory, something comforting — a gift to one’s self, as a way of saying You made it through. Perhaps it’s because they’re so simple, or because they’re a childhood staple, but for me that kind of coziness and comfort comes in the form of a chocolate chip cookie.
The recipe below is based off of Tara O’Brady‘s renowned cookies from her cookbook. (They’re a staple in my household, and if you’ve never made them before, you should try them out as written, because they’re truly, truly great.) I made a few tweaks here and there to suit my mood, though, and the resulting cookies were too good not to share.
I swapped out some of the flour for chestnut flour (which can be a bit tricky to find, but is often at Italian specialty stores, some health food stores, and Amazon carries it as well), which adds an earthy, nutty richness to the dough that I increased further with the addition of toasted pecans. The dark chocolate, since it’s chopped instead of using chips, melts into these gorgeous ripples of richness throughout, balanced by just a kiss of sea salt scattered on top. The result is a craggy, beautiful mess of a cookie, with crisp edges and a chewy centre — a real celebration.
Whatever way you’re choosing to kick off the new year, may it be full of joy, love, and — of course — something sweet.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 300g dark chocolate
- 1 cup toasted pecan halves
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chestnut flour*
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1½ cups packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
- In covered medium or large saucepan over low heat, gently cook the butter until just melted; remove from heat and set aside.
- While butter is melting, chop chocolate and pecans; set aside.
- In large bowl, whisk together flour, chestnut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir brown sugar and granulated sugar into melted butter; mixture might be slightly warm but should not be hot. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated. Whisk in vanilla.
- Pour butter mixture over flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate and pecans.
- Portion dough into 3 tbsp balls, and transfer to parchment-lined container, with parchment between layers of cookies. Refrigerate dough for a minimum of 4 hours, up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 360F. Transfer dough to baking sheet, 2 inches apart, and sprinkle with flaky salt, if using. Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. If cookies puff up in the oven, tap the baking sheet on the counter when you pull them out of the oven to deflate them.
- Allow to cool completely on racks. Transfer to airtight container and enjoy within 3 days.