The other day, as I was rereading CAGED IN WINTER, all I kept thinking about was I was craving steak, pizza, and cookies. If you guys haven't read this novel yet, you simply must. It's told in alternating points of views between Winter, our protagonist with loads of baggage, and Cage, a chef with his own baggage as well. At any rate, Winter is a student/waitress, and Cage is a, get this, chef in training. That's right, you heard me. This sexy, brooding, fantastic guy can also add cooking to his swoon resume. Yum!
At one point in the novel, Cade tells Winter that while he can cook, he can't bake. In fact, the only thing he can bake are cookies which are actually his mom's recipe. At this point, all I kept thinking about was how I needed cookies and needed them now. Thus, that's how this fantastic novel inspired me to bake a batch. While I'm not the best chef nor the best baker, I do think the chocolate chip cookie recipe I have (one that I've tweaked several times) is the bee's knees. Dare I say they rival Cade's? Oh dear!
I guess the only way to see is to bake a batch for yourself. Keep in mind, this is one of those cookie recipes that requires you to refrigerate it for 24 hours. Trust me, you want all of the flavors to absorb, and this also helps with texture.
Caged In Winter Chocolate Chip Cookies
*3/4 cups of butter (1 1/2 sticks)- softened
*1 cup of light brown sugar (packed)
*1/2 cup of granulated sugar
*2 extra large eggs
*1 tbsp vanilla extract
*1 tsp baking soda
*3/4 tsp salt
*2 cups of chocolate chips
*1 cup of chopped nuts
*2 cups of all-purpose flour
Yields about 3 dozen cookies depending on how big you like your cookies.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and butter and blend until smooth. Don't have a stand mixer? No problem! Combine the ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and blend with a hand mixer instead. Next, add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix using your mixer on medium speed until fully blended. After that, add the salt and baking soda. Switch your mixer to low, and gradually add the flour 1/2 a cup at a time until it's all blended.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips and nuts with a spatula. Once it's all done, wrap the top in saran wrap, and place it in the fridge for 24 hours.
Fun trick: You can also place all of the cookie dough into a large freezer bag, zip it shut (But leave a small opening for air to escape. Just don't forget to zip it entirely shut once you're done), and press it down until there's no air left in there. You should end up with a giant rectangle of 1' thick cookie dough covered in plastic. Once it's time to bake them, open the bag, take a pair of scissors, and cut the block of dough out of the freezer bag. Place it on a cutting board, and cut the dough into 1'x1' cubes. No spooning necessary!
24 Hours later (This must be how Cage felt waiting for Winter outside of the bar)...
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a baking sheet, and begin scooping a spoonful of cookie dough at a time onto the baking sheet. Be sure to leave enough space so the cookies do not touch while baking (see photo above). Bake for about 10-13 minutes, depending on how cold the dough is. The time will also vary as the dough begins to thaw a bit, especially if you place the spoonfuls onto a hot baking sheet. Just keep at eye on it!
Once the first batch is done, remove it from the baking sheet, and place it onto a baking rack. Repeat until all of the cookies are baked (or freeze the rest of the cookie dough and save it for later!).
Ta da! Behold, the glory that is the Caged In Winter Chocolate Chip Cookie. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of milk, pick up your copy CAGED IN WINTER, and enjoy.