Sometimes I like to invite my sister over with her kids in the middle of the day when I have things to bake. Number one, now that I’m not working (oh yeah, I got laid off a few weeks ago), I get lonely at home all day long with only my flour and sugar to keep me company. Number two, since she has a two-year-old boy and a 7-month-old daughter, I like to think that having them here is teaching me how life with children will be.
What I have learned so far is that life with children is messy, chaotic, noisy, frustrating and also endlessly adorable. My nephew likes to spray me with the water bottle my husband uses on his bonsai tree (I may have taught him to do it.) He pretends that he just wants to give his little sister a kiss, and then he steals her pacifier. He thinks there is a monster in my shed (thanks to his other aunt). And if I ever go, “Crap!”, he says, “W’Happened, M’ria?”
And when you ask him what he wants, if you get it right, he goes, “Yeth.” Do you want to go outside? Yeth. Do you need water? Yeth.
It’s kind of the cutest thing ever in the whole world.
I spent that particular morning making an ice cream that I’m going to share with you soon (you’re going to love it!), and then I whipped up these cookies because my vacuum cleaner of a sister demands a constant supply of food when she comes to my house. I told her she could go to town on them if she gave me 20 minutes to take some photos.
Dried strawberries are something I came across in the bulk section of my grocery store a few weeks ago, and I’ve been snacking on the suckers ever since. They are soooo good. And my motto is, if it’s good, it will be even better in a cookie. It’s just science, people.
My nephew was pretty interested in the photography process and wanted to help out, but I didn’t feel like letting him play with a thousand bucks worth of equipment. What a killjoy, Aunt Maria.
When I finished shooting, he climbed up on my step ladder to reach the counter. So I asked him if he wanted a cookie. He looked at me with those gorgeous blue eyes and just said, “Yeth. Yeth.” And if you give a toddler a cookie, he’s definitely going to want milk to go along with it. (Chocolate milk, technically, but I’m not that cool of an aunt.)
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (160 grams) light brown sugar
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (180 grams) bittersweet or dark chocolate chunks
- ¾ cup (75 grams) roughly chopped dried strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Turn mixer to low and add in egg and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat for a little bit longer to make sure everything is combined.
- With the mixer on low, add in flour mixture until just incorporated. Add in chocolate chunks and strawberries pieces and mix until evenly distributed.
- Using a medium disher (about 1½ tablespoons capacity) scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes until edges are golden brown.
- Move pans to wire racks and let them cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies directly to wire rack to cool completely.