Cookies and Cream!

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies or 3 dozen medium

3-1/2  cup all-purpose flour                                                                                                     1 1/4 tsp. baking soda                                                                                                             1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

 ½ tsp. coarse salt  (kosher)                                                                                                   2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter                                                                                 1 cup light brown sugar                                                                                                         1 cup plus  granulated sugar                                                                                                 2 large eggs                                                                                                                           2 tsp. natural vanilla extract                                                                                                   1-1/4 lb. bittersweet chocolate chunks                                                                                 Coarse sea salt (Maldon)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Dough may be used in batches and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside. 

Scoop 6 x 2 ½ -ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto each baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Adapted from Jacques Torres                                                                                                                                  

MARSCAPONE & STRAWBERRIES Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar
Yield: 6-8 servings

3 pints strawberries, sliced if large
3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar, more to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste*
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
2 Tbsp. pistachio nuts


1.  Put the strawberries in a bowl and scatter generously with the 2 Tbsp. sugar followed by the balsamic vinegar. Stir and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. 

2. Mix the vanilla seeds with the mascarpone cheese and sweeten to taste with remaining sugar. 

3. For each serving, place a spoonful of mascarpone on a plate, cover with a generous heap of strawberries and drizzle on some of the balsamic juice and a sprinkle of pistachio nuts. 

Kathleen Sanderson