This chocolate chip cookie variant should get its own special bookmark in your brain right now, for the next time you need a last-minute party snack or cookie swap entry or a gift for pretty much anyone (including yourself). Conveniently, the brittle packs up well in a big jar for holidays, birthdays, and sugar-fueled road trips and plane rides. It's also quite friendly to swap-ins for the nuts and chocolate—coconut? chile? pretzels?—if you need a place to set yourself free. Adapted slightly from Real Sweet: More Than 80 Crave-Worthy Treats Made with Natural Sugars (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2015). —Genius Recipes
about 3 dozen 3-inch pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup (200g) turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (90g) coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup (130g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (60% to 70% cacao)
Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C), with a rack in the center.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between bursts, just until the butter is almost completely melted and the sugar has started to dissolve, about 2 minutes. (Alternatively, melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to let the mixture come to a boil.)
Whisk the mixture until the butter is completely melted. Let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk continuously until the mixture is thickened and smooth and no longer looks separated, about 1 minute. Whisk in the vanilla and salt until combined. Add the flour and stir until no streaks of flour remain, then stir in half of the nuts.
Scrape the dough onto a rimmed 12 by 17-inch (30 by 43cm) baking sheet and pat it into a very thin, even layer with your hands. It won’t look like you’ll be able to fill the entire baking sheet, but you will! Just keep patting the dough to the edges. Use an offset or rubber spatula to smooth the top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and the remaining nuts over the dough and press them down lightly with your hands.
Bake until light golden brown and slightly firm to the touch all over, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet every 7 to 8 minutes. Let the brittle cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Use a wide, thin spatula to loosen the edges of the brittle, then ease the whole slab of brittle onto the rack. Alternatively, if it looks like the slab might not come out cleanly, line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Flip the brittle slab onto the paper and then immediately invert it right side up onto the rack, peeling off the parchment. Once completely cool, break into pieces—try to avoid smudging the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore.