I called up my friend Joanne on her birthday last month to see if I could make her anything in her last few weeks of pregnancy. In typical fashion, she said, “Oh you know me, I’ll eat anything.” We started tossing around ideas of things that would travel well and as we were chatting, I realized that the almond butter chocolate chunk cookies that I have been making for some years — a somewhat less traditional variation on plain old chocolate chip cookies — would be perfect.
See, Joanne revels in being not-so-traditional. Not as a form of rebellion, but just in a happy, come as you are, no apologies manner.
In a high school where we were told that if you’re good in math and science, you go on to medical school, she eventually went to veterinary school. And she studied in the Caribbean. She announced to me and most others in attendance at the dinner the night before her wedding that she was pregnant. And then there was her father’s poem and toast at the wedding itself. I cannot repeat it here but suffice it to say, it will never be forgotten by anyone in attendance.
So, I raise my glass (of milk) to Joanne — and Jordan — for continued, um, bliss.
Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
I initially adapted this from a recipe in the December 2003 Bon Appétit Christmas cookie issue –Hazelnut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Extra bonus points if you can find, cut, and paste the amusing commentary that I wrote in to Epicurious a few years ago.
Makes 6 dozen bite-sized cookies (2-3 nibbles). The cookies are pretty decadent, so keeping them small is a good idea, but somewhat dangerous because you can keep popping them in your mouth. The nut butter keeps them moist and chewy while fully cooked. Set your timer for 12 minutes which really is the perfect amount of time for baking per batch.
– 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
– 1 cup creamy unsalted almond butter
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
– 2 large eggs
– 1 teaspoon rosewater, orange blossom water or vanilla extract (I used orange blossom water today)
– 2 C add-ins: 1 C semisweet chocolate chips (I personally hand-chop a Callebaut (information in Resources) semisweet – 54.5% cocoa – bar) + 1 C slivered almonds OR 1 12-ounce package semisweet mini chocolate chips (2 cups) OR 2 C slivered almonds if you do not like chocolate
Stir almond butter to incorporate any oil that may have risen to the top (I sometimes microwave mine for ~30 seconds if necessary).
Using electric mixer, beat butter/margarine, almond butter, and both sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extract (orange flower water, rosewater, or vanilla).
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into bowl and mix. Dough will be very crumbly.
Chop the chocolate and gently stir into mix with almonds if using.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Soften dough slightly at room temperature before shaping.)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.
Using 1 level tablespoon for each cookie, roll dough between palms of hands into 1-inch balls and then flatten slightly. Arrange 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are golden brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool.
Store in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper at room temperature. Will stay fresh up to 5 days and will survive an overnight journey in the mail!