I've been on the quest for a great chocolate chip cookie recipe for as long as I can remember. I know I've posted a few recipes I've tried out on here, but finally I found the best one of all. I'm not sure what makes these cookies so amazing. Maybe it's that there is more brown sugar than regular sugar (always a plus in my book) or maybe that it uses chocolate chunks versus regular chocolate chips. I can't put my finger on the exact cause, but it really doesn't matter because in the end these cookies are incredible and that's all you need to know.

I like a big cookie that is super soft in the middle and only slightly crispy on the outsides. I don't like to have any bite that's all crisp, I just want enough to have them hold their form. The first batch of these I made was regular size and I didn't have chocolate chunks so I substituted bittersweet disks and semisweet minis. The second time around I made giant ones with the chunks. They both turned out great, but I prefer the semisweet chunks.

I've written before how I think judging a recipe by the way someone else describes it is usually a pretty good bet. If someone hasn't written very much about it, I usually assume it's just decent. Maybe this is just because I am the queen of going on about how delicious something is if I really like it. Sydney at The Crepes of Wrath said, "These are my favorite chocolate chip cookies and I promise you that you’ll never find a better recipe." I already am in love with her white chocolate macadamia nut cookie recipe, so I knew these had to be good. So, if you're like me and are in an never-ending quest to find the best of each type of cookie, cake, etc., give this recipe a try. I guarantee it's a runner in the best chocolate chip cookie category.

The Best Ever Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Recipe from The Crepes of Wrath

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks (this is crucial – you can use chips if you can’t find chunks, but chunks are what make these cookies the best ever)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (or 310 degrees F for convection). Grease and or line your cookie sheets.

2. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.

3. Mix the sugars and melted butter just until thoroughly mixed, then add egg, yolk and vanilla and mix until creamy. Add the sifted ingredients and mix until just blended – don’t over beat!

4. Stir in the chocolate chunks, then drop dough a bit less than 1/4 cup at a time on a cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart, and bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.

5. Leave them on the cookie sheet to cool a bit when removed from the oven (this is important as they fall apart if you move them too quickly). Once they cool a few minutes, remove the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Makes 10-12 cookies, depending on their size.

You can't go wrong with strawberries, whipped cream and puff pastry. This was one of the easiest, but most impressive looking recipes I've seen in a long time. I was crunched for time so had to skip a few steps and assemble it quickly (hence the messy whipped cream and one less layer than in the regular recipe). I figure if I put the whole thing together in five minutes and it looked like that, imagine what 10 minutes could do.
I don't quite know what is the best thing to cut it with. I think it's virtually impossible to get whipped cream to say in its place while cutting. I had a cake cutter with a serrated edge, but that didn't work very well. Regardless, everyone loved it. Taste is what matters most anyways.

The only change I made to the recipe is instead of simply whipping cream, I made real whipped cream. I wanted it a little sweeter so I went ahead and added sugar and vanilla.

Strawberry Millefeuille
Recipe from Sea Salt with Food ( adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends by Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm)

1 Sheet Puff Pastry (1/2 package), thawed according to package instructions and unfolded
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ Cups Thinly Sliced Strawberries
Juice of ½ Lemon
1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Heavy Cream
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
On a lightly floured board, roll out the pastry sheet to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in half lengthwise. Transfer the 2 rectangles to a rimmed baking sheet. Prick them evenly all over with a fork and brush with the beaten egg. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Set aside.

In another bowl, using a whisk, whip the cream until soft peaks form.

Using a serrated knife, slice 1 rectangle horizontally to create 2 layers. Use the uncut rectangle as the base. Top with half of the whipped cream and 1/3 of the strawberries. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to create 2 more layers, finishing with just strawberries. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving

Serves 6

Since I feel that I have to come back with a bang, I've got many recipes I'll be posting in these next few days here. These chocolate brownie cupcakes are really good, but as the recipe says, it's crucial that you do not overbake them. They're much more brownie tasting than cupcakes and overbaked brownies are even worse in cupcake form. I made two pans of these and pulled one out a little sooner than the other and it made a big difference in taste. And lastly, as usual, I didn't add the nuts in this recipe.

Deep Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes
Recipe from La Mia Vita Dolce 
(Originally from Food and Drink)

  • 4 ounces (120 g) unsweetened chocolate, broken up
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) chopped-into-bits semi-sweet chocolate or chips, about 175 g (6 ounces)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) broken toasted walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup (250 ml) chopped-into-bits semi-sweet chocolate or chips, about 175 g (6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C)
  2. Line 18 muffin cups with papers or silicone cups.  Over low heat, melt chocolate and butter together in a large saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.  Stir in sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla.
  3. Mix flour with baking powder and salt.  Stir into chocolate mixture along with chocolate and nuts.  Divide among cups.  Bake 16 to 18 minutes or just until cupcake centre is raised and feels slightly firm when touched.  Do not over-bake.  Cool completely on rack.
  4. Meanwhile, to make icing, melt chocolate in whipping cream over very low heat in a small saucepan.  When almost smooth, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Cool to room temperature.
  5. Ice cupcakes.  Icing sets at room temperature in about an hour.  Store cupcakes at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to a month.

First off, let me start by explaining my extremely long absence from blogging. It's been over a month since my last post, but I'm back! There were a few factors that led to my break. For the most part, they were all out of my control, nonetheless it's been way too long. The first problem was that my camera was stolen over Easter break (and really, what's a food blog without pictures?). So, even though I was still baking all the time I didn't post anything. The second was a random computer crash that deleted all of my food blog bookmarks. Two years worth of bookmarked recipes all gone. Bummer. And the third was that I literally haven't even had time to breathe I've been so busy recently. But, hey, that's life.
I still don't have a camera, but I've been able to borrow one to take pictures recently. Point of everything is, I'm going to get back on my regular posting schedule and sorry for the long break!
Now to the food. It's strawberry season and with the masses of fresh strawberries appearing at the stores and farmers' markets I figured I had to start the season off right. I've seen a million and one posts with strawberry shortcakes, tarts, scones, etc. This recipe is a little different, though, and I really liked it. The vanilla bean custard in the middle of these cupcakes is so good I could eat it plain. Luckily, it also complements the angel food cake and strawberries wonderfully so I held back on that impulse. Even though box cake mix makes these cupcakes not quite so homemade, you can't deny that boxed mixes are great. It also makes the recipe pretty simple. The only negative is that these cupcakes don't last very long at all (I'd say two days maximum). After that they're still good, but the custard soaks into the cupcakes and you have to eat them with a spoon. So make these, but eat them quick! This shouldn't be a problem.

Vanilla-Stuffed Strawberry Cupcakes
Recipe from Southern Living April 2010
Makes 2 dozen, Hands on Time: 30 minutes
Cupcakes will rise over baking cup edges. Use a paring knife to gently loosen from pan.

Vanilla Bean Custard (see below)
24 paper baking cups
1 (16 oz) package angel food cake mix*
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups halved fresh strawberries

*Southern Living says they used Duncan Hines and that worked best. I used Betty Crocker and I think the cupcakes themselves could've been better so I'd try Duncan Hines.

1. Prepare Vanilla Bean Custard.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place baking cups in 2 (12 cup) muffin pans. Do not grease. Prepare angel food cake batter according to package directions using a paddle attachment (I'm sure a hand mixer would work fine too). Stir in vanilla extract. Spoon batter into baking cups, filling completely full.
3. Bake at 325 degrees on middle oven rack 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.
4. Gently run a knife around edges of cupcakes to loosen. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 20 minutes).
5. Scoop out centers of cupcakes, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the bottom and sides. Spoon or pipe vanilla bean custard into centers of cupcakes. Top with strawberries. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish if desired.

Vanilla Bean Custard
Recipe from Southern Living

2 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla exract

1/ Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a heavy 3-qt saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract. Cover and chill for 3 hours.