Never trust people whose favorite flavor is vanilla. It’s like if your favorite band is the Beatles, or if you think Eeevee is the best Eevee-lution. Where’s the sense of adventure? Where’s the fun?
To be fair, we’ve been trained to be more “vanilla” our whole lives, so maybe it’s not your fault if you love vanilla. Maybe it was your WRTG 105 professor who told you that your writing style was unprofessional, or your new internship’s rule prohibiting bright blue hair, that reinforced this vanilla-ness.
ButI digress — this article is about food, so let’s focus on that.
Vanilla is great at enhancing other flavors in a recipe, but after three bites of vanilla cake it gets boring. This is why the best pastry chefs vary the flavors in their desserts. The simplest example of this is a chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip cookies are so good because the richness of the chocolate chips contrasts the subtle vanilla and molasses in the cookie.
This science of subtlety isn’t limited to vanilla desserts. In fact, the best chocolate dessert I’ve ever eaten featured just a thin layer of vanilla paste between chocolate ganaches, passion fruit gel, and several praline components. While this sounds overwhelming, if you try them together, it becomes nothing but melt-in-your-mouth good.
So, this week, I was desperately craving chocolate (not plain vanilla, never vanilla), and I decided to make chocolate chocolate chip cookies to quench this. The key to overcoming the richness of that much chocolate is adding just a dash of vanilla and bitter cocoa powder — both of which cut through the stronger chocolate flavor of pre-sweetened chocolate chips.
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup of granulated white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 2/3 cup of cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup oil (olive oil, coconut, canola)
- 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup or more chocolate chips
In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, white sugar, and oil. Mix on medium until it forms a smooth paste. Then, add the eggs and mix until they become completely incorporated into the concoction. Next, add the flour, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Mix, starting on low and gradually increase to medium speed until everything is fully combined (less than a minute for a stand mixer, longer for hand mixers). Lastly, fold in your chocolate chips to avoid over-mixing. Then, shape the dough into 3/4 inch balls and cook on a baking sheet for 7 min. for brownie consistency, 8 min. for chewy and a little crisp, 9+ min. for crispy cookies.
You can use whatever kind of chocolate chips or chunks you want — there’s no difference between chips and chunks no matter what TikTok tries to tell you. Also, making these cookies with butter instead of oil will make them taste a bit more like the cookies your mom bakes at home, but I’m terribly allergic to milk, so I prefer oil. If you want to substitute in butter, use 1 cup of butter for every 3/4 cup of oil.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether or not you make these cookies. What matters is that you are willing to trade in your vanilla ice cream for strawberry or your vanilla cake for chocolate and pistachio. Just don’t be too vanilla all the time, and your tongue will thank you for it.