chocolate chip cookies

dark chocolate chunk cookies with dried cherries and walnuts

I’m not sure if this is true where you live, but here in Brooklyn this has been the weirdest, craziest winter I’ve ever seen.

dark chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and walnuts

To start with, up until very recently we’ve barely had anything even remotely close to an actual “winter”. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but on Christmas eve it was almost 70 degrees outside. On Christmas day we had to open all the windows in the house while I made dinner, but with the oven on all day we were still all overheated and sweaty by dinner time, even with the open windows.

dark chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and walnuts | Brooklyn Homemaker

After Christmas it was more of the same. Temperatures didn’t dip below freezing until well after the new year, but even then snow flakes were nowhere in sight. Having grown up and lived in New York State for my entire life, this is the latest and longest I’ve ever waited to see flakes of frozen water fall from the sky.

dark chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and walnuts

Then, practically out of nowhere, we got dumped on.

A few days before it happened they mentioned the possibility of a blizzard on the news. As the day of the blizzard grew nearer, the predictions grew bleaker and more serious. They even named the storm the same way they name hurricanes. Winter storm Jonas. Since when do we name winter storms?
By the morning before Jonas came to town, they were practically predicting the end of the world, by snow and freezing and ice.

I’ve been around this block before though, this unpredictable New York State weather block, so I took the impending “snowpocalypse” with a grain of salt.

dark chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and walnuts

Then it hit us. I checked the window just before bed last Friday night, and saw that a few flakes were just beginning to stick. I honestly expected that I’d wake the next morning to find an inch or so of accumulation, and turn on the news to hear apologies and oopsies from our local meteorologists. It’s happened before.

My alarm woke me early Saturday morning, and before I started to get ready for work I checked the window. I suppose I shouldn’t have been, but I was shocked to see that we already had about six inches on the ground, with plenty more on the way. Part of me thought it wouldn’t keep up though, and I had to go in to work anyway, so I went about my day. It wasn’t until I got to work, my beard covered in snow, that I started to realize it wasn’t letting up. It was getting worse. Some of my coworkers couldn’t even get in for the day because the trains couldn’t get through.

By noon the governor had issued a state of emergency and they were announcing bus closures and travel bans. Not long after that the police commissioner sent out a tweet saying that anyone found driving on the roads in NYC would be arrested. Staff at work, myself included, started to panic and since there weren’t many customers to speak of, we closed early and trudged our way home while we still could. Luckily the train line I live off of runs underground. There were delays, but it was still running. I walked home from the train down the middle of the street, since most sidewalks in my neighborhood hadn’t yet been shoveled.

dark chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and walnuts

The next morning the clouds parted and the sun came out, but the sidewalks still weren’t shoveled, the intersections not clear to pedestrians, and the streets were barely plowed. I was practically snowed in, and with nothing to do and nowhere to go, I figured I may as well bake some cookies.

dark chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and walnuts

I didn’t want to brave the streets so I dug through the cupboards and took inventory of what we had in the house. My mom gave me a big bag of shelled walnuts the last time I went to visit, and I had an extra bag of dried cherries leftover from my Christmas pork roast.  I didn’t have any chocolate chips in the house, but I did have a big ass bar of 72% dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s. (incidentally, I’m not sure if you have a TJ’s near you, but I seriously can’t sing enough praises for the price and quality of their chocolate. I generally try to avoid specific product endorsements, but their “Pound Plus” bars are a dream come true to someone who loves chocolate almost as much as he loves to bake.)

dark chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and walnuts

In keeping with the extremely unusual and unpredictable nature of this winter, it’s less than a week since our “snowmageddon” and it’s melting away as quickly as it came. There will be nothing left but memories and instagram photos in a few days more.

dark chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and walnuts

Whether you’re snowed in or just want a sweet treat, these cookies are THE BOMB!

The cookie itself is buttery, soft, chewy, delicately salty, and perfect in every way (Thanks Martha). Twice as much brown sugar as white ensures a tender chewy cookie that stays soft for days. Rather than the traditional chocolate chips though, this cookie is loaded with pockets of rich and melty bittersweet dark chocolate; studded with bits of chewy, sweet, tart, and jammy dried cherries; and peppered with just enough crunchy, toasty, nutty, earthy, ever-so-slightly-bitter walnuts to tie it all together. These three ingredients were seriously made for each other.

What are you still doing here? Go preheat that oven and take that butter out to soften!

dark chocolate chip cookies with dried cherries and walnuts

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Dried Cherries and Walnuts

  • Servings: makes approximately 32 cookies, depending on scoop size
  • Print
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup chopped walnuts
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar (light would work fine too)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups dark chocolate chunks or chips
1 cup chopped dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer, and toast for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until they smell toasty and nutty. Cool and roughly chop.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars and beat on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well combined, for about 1 minute. Add flour, mix until just combined, then stir in the chocolate, cherries, and walnuts just until evenly distributed.

Scoop dough out using a portion scoop and place cookies about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I like big cookies so I used a #24 scoop, which works out to about 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie. You can make smaller cookies, and you’ll end up with more individual cookies, but you’ll need to reduce the baking time by a few minutes. Alternatively you can make larger cookies with a smaller yield, but you may need to extend the baking time by 2 or 3 minutes.

Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, around 11 to 13 minutes for 3 tablespoon sized scoops. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. 

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel

I realize that a lot of you are probably all cookie’d out right about now, but I just had to squeeze one more cookie recipe in before the end of the year.

I’d say that I’m sorry, but no one should every apologize for making cookies.

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel | Brooklyn Homemaker

I gathered the makings of this recipe with the intention of making them on Christmas day, but it didn’t really work out that way.

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel | Brooklyn Homemaker

The days leading up to Christmas tend to be pretty stressful in my world, so when it comes to the actual holiday itself I try to take it pretty easy. Russell and I spent the day at home with the dogs, opening presents, calling friends and family, watching Murder, She Wrote, and eating everything in sight. Since it’s just the two of us, I thought that making some cookies would be a fun activity we could do together during the day. I didn’t want to do anything too fussy or involved like cutouts, but thought a fancied up chocolate chip cookie could be the perfect holiday treat.

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel | Brooklyn Homemaker

The ham I was making for dinner, along with some roasted broccoli and sweet potato gratin, had other plans though. I was not thinking ahead at all and didn’t take the fact that the ham would be cooking at a low temperature for several hours into consideration.

We weren’t yet ready for cookie time when the ham went into the oven, and when it came out we feasted and immediately fell deep into a food coma, so our cookie plans were (temporarily) abandoned.

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel | Brooklyn Homemaker

Later that evening we aaaaaalmost rallied and went for it, but opted instead for another glass of wine and mouthful of chocolate from our stockings.

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel | Brooklyn Homemaker

In the end it may have been a good thing that we didn’t make these on Christmas day. For one thing, we had plenty of chocolate in our stockings. For another, making them a few days later also meant that I was able to photograph the process and share them with you. These babies are so delicious and perfect that I’m actually pretty thrilled to get to share them.

This post was brought to you by a salty little Christmas ham and a holiday food coma.

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel | Brooklyn Homemaker

Browning the butter for this recipe requires some extra time since it needs to firm back up after it’s melted and browned, but I promise you it’s worth it. Browning butter deepens and intensifies everything that’s already great about butter, and then adds a toasty nuttiness. Taking the time to toast the pistachios before adding them to the cookies also helps to intensify the nutty goodness. It’s all about building layers of flavor here.

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel | Brooklyn Homemaker

When it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I’m definitely of the “go big or go home” school of thought. I usually like to use a #24 portion scoop, which works out to 1.5 oz (or 3 tablespoons) of dough. I love portion scoops for drop cookies because it makes it really quick and easy to get all of your cookies the same size and shape. If you don’t have a portion scoop, you can certainly measure out 3 tablespoons of dough to see how it should look and then try to make the rest of your cookies match that size.

You can easily use a smaller portion scoop, or make smaller cookies if you want, you’ll just need to adjust your baking time accordingly to avoid over-baking.

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel | Brooklyn Homemaker

I know there are a jillion chocolate chip cookies out there on the internets, but I beg you to give these a try. You can thank me later.

I brought some to work with me and two of my coworkers separately came to tell me that these cookies have the perfect texture for chocolate chip cookies. They’re soft and chewy in the center, with perfect crispy crusty golden edges.
The brown butter and toasted pistachios are the perfect rich nutty compliment to the sweet and bitter dark chocolate, and the briny minerally crunchy fleur de sel is the perfect finish to every bite. They’re buttery, chocolatey, sweet, salty, and completely wonderful. I could go on, but you’re just going to have to make them and see for yourself.

pistachio and dark chocolate chunk cookies with brown butter and fleur de sel | Brooklyn Homemaker

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Brown Butter and Fleur de Sel

  • Servings: about 2 1/2 dozen cookies, depending on size
  • Print
adapted from Martha Stewart

18 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks + 2 tablespoons)
1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 10 to 12 ounces) roughly chopped good dark chocolate, or good quality dark chocolate chips or chunks
1 tablespoon (ish) fleur de sel or other crunchy finishing salt

In a small heavy-bottom saucepan, brown the butter over medium high heat until golden to deep brown, should take about 10 or 15 minutes. Watch carefully once it starts to brown to avoid burning. Pour out into a heat-proof dish, trying to leave the burnt solids behind, and refrigerate until soft but beginning to firm. If it solidifies, you can remove and leave out until soft.
If you want to skip this step, you can simply use 2 sticks of softened unsalted butter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange pistachios on a baking sheet in a single layer, and toast for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until they smell toasty and nutty. Cool and roughly chop.

Whisk together the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the cooled brown butter with both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate and toasted pistachio.

Scoop dough out using a portion scoop and place about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I used a #24 scoop, which works out to about 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie. If you make smaller cookies you’ll need to reduce the baking time by a few minutes, but you’ll have more cookies in the end. Sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of fleur de sel.

Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, around 11 to 13 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.