Do you remember when this blog was strictly about baking with a side of soup? A couple years in and my pants got tight, so I shifted my focus to healthier (that’s a loaded word), wholesome eats. And then I got pregnant with Hal, ate ice cream every night, and baked liked it was my job. After she arrived, I was certain I’d have to majorly cool it. But for the first time in my entire life, I had trouble keeping on weight. I guess nursing can do that to you. Of course, that luck eventually ran out. Hard. I went back to my healthier, more balanced ways. That’s when Kev started asking, “Where’s the dessert?” To which I responded, “Did you shrink my jeans in the dryer?” My favorite skit on Whose Line Is It Anyway? was always “Questions Only”. It’s exactly as it sounds: you can only respond with questions.
Weight. It’s a shifty conversation. My favorite cake baker, Warren Brown, begins his book on cakes by talking about moderation. It’s an unlikely intro but one I’ve adopted for myself. Since high school days, I’ve tried all sorts of ways to manage my weight from diets to restrictive eating. I even gave up pizza for a couple years. Even I still can’t believe it. Moderation, balance, and workouts seem to be the best long term solution for me. Because life needs a little extra room for sweets and homemade pizza.
Especially on weeks like this one when we’re potty training. Everyone needs to be congratulated with a big fat, bakery-style chocolate cookie (plus a margarita for me).
On the eve (ish) of our move from the east coast to the midwest, I made a Swig Sugar Cookies to cope. (The coping style is not lost on me.) Since then, I’ve wanted to give the Swig treatment to every variety of cookie. Swig Cookies hail from Utah. They are incredibly soft yet rich and taste like they belong in a bakery. These Peanut Butter Cookies got the Swig treatment. And after enough tests to feed a neighborhood, these chocolate cookies did too.
Speaking of potty training, that tiny hand below earned her cookies and dry diapers this week. I used to be a proud baker when things went right. Now, I’m just a proud mama with lots of cookies on the counter. Maybe I should hop on the treadmill now?
- 1 3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/2 c. cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. pure cane sugar (plus more for flattening)
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil*
- 1 large egg
- Frosting (optional)
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1/4 c. cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- splash of vanilla extract
- pinch of kosher salt
- extra flaky salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Set out butter to come to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until pale and well combined. Add in oil and mix until no lumps remain. Beat in the egg until just combined.
- Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and incorporate on low speed until just combined, pulsing to initially incorporate. Dough will be dense and fairly dry. You should probably taste it just to make sure it's good. Ok, now stop. This recipe makes exactly a dozen.
- Using a #16 (2 oz) ice cream scoop, scoop out 6 dough balls on to the prepped baking sheet leaving at a time, at least 2" apart. Into a flat-bottomed bowl add about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Using the base of a glass cup (with the tiniest shmear of water to get the sugar to initially stick), liberally dunk in sugar, and press out dough until it just passes the edge of the cup. Repeat.
- Bake for 8 minutes, no longer. Just trust me. Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to continue cooling.
- While cookies cool completely, make frosting (optional). Cream butter until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in half of the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, vanilla, and kosher salt. Once the mixture comes together, mix in the rest of the powdered sugar. Continue beating until frosting lightens and it completely smooth.
- Spread on cookies. Start by adding a dollop to the middle of the cookie and spread towards the edge, working frosting in a circular motion. Sprinkle with toppings. Store lightly covered for up to two days, or freeze them for long lasting consumption. After 12 hours, place on baking sheet and flash freeze in freezer for about 30 minutes. Remove and individually (and carefully) wrap in plastic wrap. Store in an airtight freezer bag in freezer for up to a month. Allow to come to room temp for about 20 minutes before eating.