Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

There is a simple beauty in the chocolate chip cookie. While it means different things to different people, for most of us the chocolate chip cookie is a reminder of home. The smell of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie is like a security blanket. The scent wraps around your shoulders, calming with a sense of familiarity and comfort. The taste brings back memories of childhood. After a long day at school, feet dangling off the kitchen stool, the cookie had the ability to make an ordinary day feel special. With a glass of milk, you knew everything was going to be okay. 

The chocolate chip cookie never loses that power.

I like my chocolate chip cookies soft and chewy in the center and crisp on the edges. While everyone has their own definition of the "perfect chocolate chip cookie," this cookie comes exceptionally close to mine. The batter has brown sugar to give it a chewy texture and a little whole wheat to add a nutty undertone. The chocolate chunks make it a classic. I like to chop the chocolate into both large and small piecesβ€”small so that they are evenly dispersed in the batter and large for the extra special bite.

The "sprinkles" on top are the fleur de sel, or flaked sea salt. This special salt gives the cookies a sweet and salty vibe, a coveted contrast in the world of dessert. Do be aware that flaked sea salt is not the same as table salt. It is coarser and less salty, which keeps it from becoming overbearing.

This cookie is the grown-up version of my childhood favorite, but it still reminds me of home.

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies are best fresh from the oven, chocolate melted and gooey. A little espresso powder in the batter brings out the flavor of the chocolate, but stays subtle enough to let the rest of the cookie shine. My father, who does not prefer dark chocolate, coffee, or salty desserts, claimed that these cookies were one of his favorites. Accompanied with milk, I have a feeling you'll feel the same way, too.

One Year Ago: Blueberry Braided Bread 
Two Years Ago: Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie, Peach & Blackberry Galette, and Thoughts on my Vegan Challenge
Three Years Ago: Dried Blueberry Granola, BizcochitosParmesan Stuffed Tomatoes, and Quinoa Pudding
Four Years Ago: Incredibly Moist Chocolate Prune Cake

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yields 1 dozen large cookies (or 2 dozen standard sized)

1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (150 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup (75 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (88 grams) whole wheat flour
4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Fleur de sel or flaked sea salt, for sprinkling (not table salt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue beating until smooth. Gradually add the espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and flours, mixing until uniform. Stir in the chopped chocolate chunks.

Form cookies using 2 tablespoons of cookie dough (or 1 tablespoon for standard sized cookies). Drop onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Fleur de Sel Caramels

Fleur de Sel Caramels

fleur de sel caramels

One of my new year's resolutions this year was to exercise more so this week I spent some quality time at the gym taking classes like Zumba and Power Tone. I also learned there is such a thing as overdoing it (note to self: just because you took two months off from the gym does not mean you can jump right back in like nothing happened).

The next morning I was a hurt bag of hurt. Muscles I didn't even know existed called out for help. I can't move without pain and agony. My legs don't bend, my arms have a range of motion of about 3 inches, and my chest feels like its going to fall off (just fall off). I crawl out of chairs with the speed and agility of a 90 year old woman. I even managed to strain my neck muscles. Who strains neck muscles doing sit-ups?

fleur de sel caramels

I almost wish I had a bruise the size of my fist so I could point to it as if to say look how tough I amβ€”my own purple badge of courage. Instead, I get to whine and groan while moving around like a rusted machine. My advice to you this week is to start slow if you are just beginning an exercise regime and then build your way up. There is no sense in working yourself too hard, causing yourself enough pain that you will be wary to return. Trust me, it will be tough enough dragging my sorry butt back to the gym tomorrow (though these caramels have certainly cushioned the blow).

fleur de sel caramels

These fleur de sel caramels are soft, sticky, and divine. The salt adds just the right twist to keep these caramels from becoming too sweetβ€”the perfect sweet and salty combination, if you will. By eating one or two, you can satisfy your sweet tooth without spoiling your diet. This recipe just begs to be shared.

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