Chocolate chip cookies are a classic cookie–most people have baked and/or consumed them at some point in their lives. They’re unifying like that, a shared experience we can all claim. That also makes it difficult for me, as a blogger, because I embarked upon a quest to find new and exciting ways to eat what everyone has already eaten. It was a little overwhelming, but a welcome way to return to the kitchen. I turned on some music from local bands. I rocked it out in the kitchen (yes, I realize just saying “I rocked it out” dates me). And I found my Zen again. It was wonderful.I’m also quite lucky that I have friends who inspire me to think outside the box.
If you haven’t checked out Spiceologist yet, you should. It’s your one-stop shop for everything that can bring spice into your life. Amazing rubs, out of the ordinary powders, and your usual stuff, too. Basically, everything you need if you eat. I was lucky enough to be gifted one of the gorgeous Spiceologist spice blocks last year, but I’ve gone back for more, and I haven’t been disappointed. I adore Spiceologist!
In that block I received was a vial of aleppo chili powder. I’ve used cayenne. I’ve used red pepper flakes. I’ve used the common chili powder. But aleppo was new to me. I’ve been adding it to just about everything because it’s just so darn pretty–and it’s a nice, milder chili powder, coming in at only 100 Scoville Heat Units. Enough to wow, but not so much that your taste buds are destoryed after. Naturally, I threw it in dessert, too. I’m crazy like that.
This recipe took a few rounds of testing to get it just right. I wanted to incorporate a trick I had learned long ago about using bread flour in cookie dough (and yes, it does make a difference–I won’t go back to full all-purpose again!) while messing around with the vanilla and, yes, the chili powder, too. I went mild at first, then bolder, then milder, then settled back on bolder. If you’re worried they’ll be too much, cut the aleppo back to 3/4 teaspoon. You’ll still get a nice hint of heat that enhances everything beautifully. If you want a more assertive dessert, go for the full teaspoon. You won’t be sorry!
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon aleppo chili powder
- 1 cup (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)
- 10 ounces Guittard Super Cookie Chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Get out 2 rimmed non-stick cookie sheets and set aside.
- While the oven is preheating, lay out the walnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast them in the oven, tossing periodically, until fragrant. Remove to cool, then chop rough and set aside.
- In a 2-quart mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and aleppo.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars, beating until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Gradually mix in the flour and remove from mixer once just combined.
- Stir in by hand the walnuts and chocolate chips.
- Using a #60 cookie scoop, portion out the dough at least 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
- Bake on the center rack for 4 minutes, then rotate, front to back, and bake for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned and the centers are set. They will not look completely done, but will finish baking outside the oven.
- Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.