This special recipe for cookies from Food52 have a lot to live up to. It’s a choco chip cookie dressed up with sweet and salty flavors and a crisp body.
As an avid cookie baker, it was virtually impossible for me to ignore a recipe named Magical, Marvelous, Memorable Cookies from Food52. In this world full of cookie recipes, it’s a bold claim to use so many superlatives to name one single cookie after all. It’s not that I wanted to challenge the idea and prove it wrong. It’s more like I wanted to see for myself if this recipe warranted the name.
Food52 is a food site I enjoy and trust quite a bit. I didn’t think they would carelessly dole out such adjectives; especially not now when people have become more discerning about cookies. The cookie obsession currently sweeping Manila off its feet began in America after all, so I’m pretty sure they know what a good cookie is, probably better than anyone.
Funnily enough, while everyone else is busy being addicted to eating cookies, here I am busy being addicted to making them. Seriously, who needs like twenty chocolate chip cookie recipes in their life? Me, apparently. I even have a page that exclusively features variations of chocolate chip cookies. But you know what? That page is one of my favorite parts of the blog. I like making cookies, and I cannot lie.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with a compulsion for testing cookie recipes, but I am glad to be part of the club. Otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered some amazing chocolate chip cookie recipes along the way, such as these Magical, Marvelous, Memorable Cookies from Food52. I also probably would have spent an exorbitant amount of money trying out the cookies from the recent crop of local cookie sellers on Instagram.
It’s ironic that even though I am not addicted to sweets in general, I can’t resist chocolate chip cookies when I see them. I suppose it’s fair to say that a good chocolate chip cookie is one of my favorite desserts. I wouldn’t necessarily eat an entire palm-sized cookie in one sitting (way too much sugar, man) but I would probably enjoy trying to pick apart the nuances in flavor with a glass of cold milk in hand. As it stands, I already appreciate the creativity these purveyors have when it comes to their cookie lineups.
Most people would see a choco chip cookie and say, ‘Oh, it’s a freaking cookie. What is the big deal?’ I guess for me, as an avid baker, my mindset is a little different when I try cookies for the first time. I always try to study the cookie. I compare how much I enjoy a cookie that’s made with browned butter compared to normal creamed butter. I try to learn which combination of toppings creates interesting cookies. Also, I am literally loving the fact that a chocolate chip cookie could turn more complex the moment you top it with sea salt.
I am geeking out over cookies a little too much, aren’t I? Let’s talk about the so-called Magical, Marvelous, Memorable Cookies from Food52 now.
What makes these cookies magical and marvelous is how they can be pretty much anything you want them to be. You can add whatever topping you wish, mixing and matching the sweet and salty components to keep it balanced. Adding your favorite things will obviously make them more memorable to you. The cookie base isn’t too sweet so the add-ons will determine how much sweeter it can get. I highly recommend adding in granola because it adds such a nice texture to the cookies. These cookies are a bit on the crisp side all around since we did use more white than brown sugar here, but my granola made them chewy in the center.
To start with, this recipe makes use of room temperature butter and has you creaming it with white and brown sugar. It’s important to make sure you cream the sugar with the butter really well and end up with a light and fluffy mixture. An aerated base like this will make better cookies. At this point you want to add the egg and vanilla. Again, mix well.
Next you add in the dry mixture. You want to mix it just until pretty much all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Don’t go around mixing it too much because the final mix will be done once you pour in the toppings or add-ons.
For the add-ons, I stayed true to the recipe from Food52. I already liked the balance of sweet and salty in the recipe there so I saw no reason to change it up, especially since it was a first test of the recipe. I was intrigued by the addition of granola, and since I had some sitting in the fridge that was close to its best before date, I had the perfect opportunity to use it up. It gives the cookies kind of an oatmeal cookie bite, but it’s still going to mostly taste like a choco chip cookie with salty pretzels and nuts.
The original recipe says to gradually add in the toppings but I just dumped everything in so that I don’t work the dough more than I need to. Try to distribute the toppings as evenly as you can from the get-go while you mix everything in. By the time you’re done, everything should be well incorporated.
Now we scoop the dough into mounds of about 1 & 1/2 tablespoons, then roll them into rounds and set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. We’re not baking them yet. These mounds will be refrigerated for at least an hour, or frozen for about 20 minutes if you want to quickly get them into the oven. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours before baking. In any case, don’t forget to preheat your oven at least 20 minutes before baking!
I baked my dough mounds straight from the freezer, taking out only as many as I needed in a batch. Since my baking sheet can only fit six cookies, I only took six dough rounds from the tray in the freezer. I spaced the mounds 2-1/2 inches apart to give them room to spread. Finally, I baked them for 15 minutes. Rotate the sheet halfway through to ensure even baking. Once out of the oven, give them a bit of time to set on the baking sheet before moving them to a cooling rack. They will be fragile.
As mentioned, there’s twice the amount of white sugar than brown here so these Magical, Marvelous, Memorable Cookies from Food52 tend to be on the crisper side. Newly cooled out of the oven though, they are quite chewy. Depending on your add-on’s, they can either be crisper once set, or they can still be chewy like what happened with mine. The choice is yours! These cookies turned out better than I expected. They were pretty darn good actually.
Food52's Magical, Marvelous, Memorable Cookies
Makes 24 to 30 cookies (I got 27)
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1¾ sticks, 7 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granola or other cereal
- ½ cup crushed salted pretzel pieces or other salty snack-food of choice
- 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chips or chunks are fine
- ½ cup peanuts, chopped pecans, or other nuts (salted or plain)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In another bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. (If using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat at medium-low speed for about 20 seconds, then increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, another minute.) Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula.
- Beat in egg and vanilla until fully incorporated. (Beat on medium-low if using a mixer, about 30 seconds.) Scrape down the bowl as necessary.
- Switching to a spatula, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Add granola, pretzels, chocolate, and nuts. Mix until well incorporated and the add-on's are evenly distributed.
- Scoop the cookie dough, portioned into 1½ -tablespoon sizes, then roll between palms into balls. Place onto lined baking sheets, spacing them about ½ inch apart, until all the dough has been shaped. Freeze the tray of dough mounds for at least 20 minutes, meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). (You may also refrigerate the dough at this point for about 24 hours, if not baking immediately. You can bake the dough by batches directly from the fridge.)
- Bake the cookies in the middle rack of your oven. Take 6 of the dough mounds from the freezer and place them 2½ inches apart on a fresh baking sheet lined with parchment. These cookies spread quite a bit so make sure to give them space. (At this point, transfer the tray of cookie mounds to the fridge so they don't continue to harden in the freezer. Take out only the amount of dough you will be baking per batch and keep the others in the fridge.)
- Bake one sheet at a time for 15 minutes, or until cookies are deep golden brown and firm around the edges. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through to allow even baking. Let cool completely before gently moving cookies to wire rack as they will be fragile while still hot.