This is a recipe I created for our Food52 Holiday Cookie Truck, inspired by Ovenly's Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie. I wanted a cookie that merged the benefits of a chewy chocolate chip cookie with the fragrance of a holiday spice cookie. Using their cookie base, I infused it with the scent of vanilla by grinding a whole vanilla bean into the sugar; I increased the chocolate (why not?) and chopped it so there would be a mix of shavings and chunks; and I gave it a little holiday oompf with cinnamon and ground chile. —Amanda Hesser
(250 grams) all-purpose flour
ground cinnamon (preferably Saigon)
(rounded) ground chile (I used piment d'espelette)
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, chile, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold the chocolate chunks (and all the shavings on your cutting board) into the flour mixture. Look at that -- you've barely started the recipe and you're already done with half the ingredients!
In a blender, combine the vanilla bean and granulated sugar, and blend on high until the vanilla is reduced to flecks in the sugar. In another large bowl, whisk the vanilla sugar and brown sugar with the canola oil and water until you have a a smoothish liquid.
Sprinkle the flour and spices onto the sugar mixture, and fold the two together with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. As Ovenly says, do not skip this step!
Heat the oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and use a soup spoon to scoop the dough into 2-inch mounds -- if your chocolate chunks are big, you may need to shape the mounds with your fingers. Sprinkle the dough with Maldon or other flaky salt. Freeze the dough for 10 minutes.
Bake for 6 minutes, then turn the baking sheet 180 degrees, and continue baking until the edges are just beginning to toast, about 6 minutes more. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.