Things I crave in the blustery, shivery, bleary month of January:
1. Long, quiet mornings, and the peppermint tea and crossword puzzles that come with them.
January is a difficult month. Here in New York, it’s cold. Like, finger-numbing, eye-tearing, sorry-I-just-bumped-into-you-but-I-have-to-nuzzle-my-head-in-my-coat-because-otherwise-my-face-will-freeze-off cold. The holidays are over, so all the pretty lights have flown north for the next eleven months (apparently to some town named “Yourattic”) and the city sidewalks are covered with dirty snow and pine needles, sad remnants of the merriment of Christmas past.
Despite the searing cold, people are full of resolution, so the gym is brimming with runners and kick-boxers and yogis, and the blond woman who’s always there seems to now be always always there, which is both impressive and concerning.
Cookies are frowned upon. Salad is the darling of the month.
January plays host to this weird back-and-forth, one side of which takes one look outside and says stay in the warm, nothing good can happen out there, the other side chirping it’s a New Year! Be happy and healthy! Run faster!
Well. Fine. I consider myself an optimist (and, you know, someone who likes her pants to fit), so I’ll go to the gym. I’ll make a big, productive to-do list. I’ll drink more water, and less booze. I’ll even eat a bunch of salad. But I will finish it all off with a cookie.
These are decidedly not healthy, but I use a bit of whole wheat pastry flour in the batter to make myself think that they, you know, could be. I also flash freeze the dough in single cookie portions, so I can store the ready-to-bake dough in my freezer and bake myself one (or two, c’mon now) warm, fresh cookie(s) at a time. This method eliminates the threat of baking an entire batch at once and feeling the need to eat them all. I mean, we all have our ways of cutting back after the holidays.
- 8.5 ounces all-purpose flour
- 8.5 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 2.5 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 10 ounces light brown sugar
- 8 ounces granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate chips
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer). Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add vanilla. Stop the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Gently mix together until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Using an ice cream scoop, drop cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and use your fingers to flatten them slightly – you’re getting ready to flash freeze them, not bake them, so don’t worry about overcrowding the baking sheet; drop the cookies as close together as you can get them. When you’ve filled up an entire baking sheet, place the sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the cookies are frozen through, about 2 hours. Once frozen, transfer the raw dough balls into a freezer-safe plastic bag and seal tightly. Store in the freezer up to 3 months, and when you’re ready for cookies, bake at 350ºF for 10-15 minutes (baking time will vary depending on how large you make your cookies – just be sure to remove them when they’re lightly golden and just browning around the edges).