The Cookies Instagram Made Me Bake

IMG_4206I usually don’t pay any attention to trends until it’s too late. Don’t believe me? I just started watching Suits (Harvey, where have you been all my life?), I am only now considering making a unicorn birthday cake for my girls and I have yet to stay in an Airbnb (although I have used One Fine Stay, which is close!). Not sure if this says that I’m incredibly slow or just plain lazy but it’s the truth. So, I decided to make the exception for these chocolate shortbread cookies from Alison Roman’s new cookbook, Dining In, that have been all.over.my.Insta.feed. So far, I’ve been enjoying the recipes in this book (check out the Raw and Roasted Carrots and Fennel with Feta and Pistachios Salad and Spiced Lentils With Spring Onions, yum) and I also love a challenge and wanted to see if I could nail them on the first try.

Here’s what I knew about Instagram’s fave cookies: they offered an alternative to chocolate chip cookies by way of shortbread and I love me some shortbread. Since I too am always left wanting more from my chocolate chip cookie recipe and a finicky method never stopped me before, it was game on.

The first thing that made me question my decision was the ingredients list. It didn’t say whether to use cold or room temp butter and since most baking recipes use the latter, that’s what I did. Turns out I was wrong and it’s supposed to be cold.

Everything went smoothly afterward, even when the internet told me it wouldn’t. The dough came together fine and didn’t crumble too much when chilled into a log and sliced. Some people bucked the instructions and did them as a roll out cookie but I was intrigued by the sugary crust that imparts a crunchy toasty edge. I also wanted to test her theory on using salted butter since it brings a deeper flavour than just using salt and butter.

So how were they?! Fine. Good, even. They didn’t blow my mind or piss me off like my feed suggested they would. The kids inhaled two each and asked for more. Sure, I could’ve taken them out of the oven a tad earlier (mine ended up veering into sablé territory which isn’t a bad thing at all) and spent a little more time making them into perfect circles but otherwise, this recipe yields a perfectly fine buttery, sugary, chocolatey cookie, people. But hey, if there is a life-changing chocolate chip cookie out there, please send the recipe my way.

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Recipe from Dining In by Alison Roman

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2¼ sticks) cold salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar *(I used dark)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped (but not too fine, you want chunks, not thin shards of chocolate)
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • Demerara sugar (for rolling)
  • Flaky sea salt

METHOD

  • Using an electric mixer and a medium bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until super light and fluffy, 3–5 minutes.

  • Using a spatula, scrape down sides of bowl. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour, followed by chocolate chunks, and beat just to blend.

  • Divide dough in half, then place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold plastic over to cover dough and protect your hands from getting all sticky. Using your hands (just like you’re playing with clay), form dough into a log shape; rolling it on the counter will help you smooth it out, but don’t worry about getting it totally perfect. Each half should form logs that are 2–2¼” in diameter. Chill until firm, about 2 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet (two, if you’ve got ’em) with parchment paper. Brush outside of logs with egg wash. Roll logs in demerara sugar (this is for those really delicious crispy edges).

  • Slice each log into ½”-thick rounds. Arrange on prepared baking sheet about 1″ apart (they won’t spread much). Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake cookies until edges are just beginning to brown, 12–15 minutes. Let cool slightly before eating them all.

    Do Ahead: Cookie dough can be made 1 week ahead. Tightly wrap in plastic and chill, or freeze up to 1 month. Cookies can be baked 5 days ahead. Store in plastic wrap or an airtight container.

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