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By Amy Thielen
I now think of chocolate chip cookies as wintry fare, but in childhood, I vividly remember them belonging to summer: They were stored in a clean gallon ice cream bucket with a vicious plastic snap top, into which we kids dug repeatedly, blindly, fishing around until we felt the melting eye of a chip before tearing off outside with a few in hand. I now understand the logic: cookies are good portable summer food.
Like sandwiches, stone fruits, and corn on the cob, cookies give energy without requiring utensils. (And they are lake food par excellence: I will never forget that sensation of eating a chocolate chip cookie with a wet hand, pacing in the shallows, my bottom half submerged in the lake.)
In the spirit of summer and entertaining, this recipe makes a large batch. (Freeze half of the dough in a long cylinder if you don’t want to bake it all at once.) Plush and chewy, these are new-style, with some added peanut butter for flavor and plenty of half-melted chocolate. For best results, chill the dough overnight and make the cookies big so that the centers stay moist and just ever-so-underbaked. They’re best within two days of baking, but I must weakly confess that older cookies bounce back perfectly when microwaved for exactly 20 seconds each.
Makes 48 cookies
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups (lightly packed) light brown sugar
1 scant cup peanut butter
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons brewed coffee, cool
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
4²⁄³ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
2 12-ounce bags semisweet chocolate chips, or 24 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
Note: For best results, chill the dough thoroughly before baking.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it’s soft and light. Add the granulated and brown sugars, and beat until well incorporated and slightly fluffier, about 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated before adding the next, and then mix in the coffee and vanilla.
Measure the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the flour to the butter mixture in four additions, beating slowly. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. If you have time, chill the dough.
Drop large (3-tablespoon) cookies onto light-colored cookie sheets, leaving room for them to spread. Bake until golden brown on top, 12 to 14 minutes. For a chewy texture, don’t overbake.