Cranberry Almond Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love dessert for breakfast.  When I bake muffins I make them as healthy as I can so I don’t feel guilty eating them for breakfast.  Oil and butter can be swapped for apple sauce, mashed banana or Greek yogurt (or some combination thereof).  Sugar can be reduced, especially if using banana as it has naturally occurring sugars.  Nuts and/or seeds are added for an extra protein boost.  White flour is swapped for a combination of whole wheat and Red Fife.  Oats or other grains are added.  Fruit is increased.
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Sunday Baking: Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

I cheated a bit with this one.  Chocolate chip cookies aren’t an easy thing to make using local ingredients.  But I had such a craving for them, I had to give in.  Earlier in the day, we were discussing how there is nothing better than eating raw chocolate chip cookie dough… to which my dad replied, “Yes there is – chocolate chip cookies!” After that, I knew I would be thinking about them until I made them.

The only local ingredients here are the vanilla and the eggs.  But one could argue that making anything yourself is a kind of local eating because the processing is local!  I think any kind of DIY embodies the locavore spirit.  So today I presen the BEST chocolate chip cookies EVER.  Why are they the best ever?  I did everything wrong.  My butter and eggs weren’t room temperature.  I didn’t mix the dry ingredients first nor did I refrigerate the dough.  I probably over-mixed. I ran out of parchment paper.  But they still turned out amazing.

1 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt + more for sprinkling on top
2 cups (1 package) chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350.  In a stand mixer cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add vanilla and mix to incorporate.

2. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt and mix just until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Add chocolate chips and mix until well distributed.

3. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or not – I found the ones I did without parchment turned out crispier, which is my preference). Using two spoons, scoop balls of dough onto baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each dough ball with sea salt.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for about 2 minutes before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

[NOTE: Cook half the dough now and roll the rest up in plastic wrap like a log, then put it in a ziplock bag in the freezer for later.  To cook frozen dough, remove from freezer and slice into rounds and bake as usual (might need a few extra minutes.]

Recipe from Mom It Forward