Tag Archives: chocolate

Resturant Review: Serendipity 3 in Georgetown

2 Jun

These are only the appetizers. Oh boy.

Brace yourselves, friends, because this one is going to be a doozy.  The newest Serendipity 3 opened in the heart of Georgetown on Memorial Day, and I was lucky enough to be invited to a friends-and-family preview night on Saturday.  One of my friends got four of us in for dinner, and, since we are all both foodies and fatties, we proceeded to devour a 3-course-plus-cocktail meal.  It was unfortunate that our next destination was up a very long hill.  Note to self: don’t eat that much ice cream before going anywhere other than your couch.

Weaver: "Wait. Will you take my picture already?" Thanks for the free food!

Weaver: "Wait. When are you taking my picture?" Thanks for the free food!

For appetizers we got the crab and artichoke dip, and a truly inspired choice of onion rings.  We all gasped as the tower of perfectly battered and fried rings descended upon us.  These were seriously the best onion rings I’ve ever had- cooked through and soft in the middle, with a crunchy thick shell, Parmesan cheese over them and dipping sauces on the side.  The crab dip was slightly overshadowed by the onion rings, but it was also great- lots of big chunks of crab in a not-too-creamy sauce with a nicely browned top.   For mains I got the Full Monty- chicken breast with bacon, pepper jack, arugula, and BBQ sauce on ciabatta bread. It was quite good- my only complaint was that the bread was a bit dry and I ended up eating much of the sandwich without the it.  Also it could feed a family of four.  The equally-large-portioned spaghetti and meatballs was also yummy, with ricotta on top of the meatballs and thick spaghetti.  The veggie burger and crab cake sandwich that rounded out our table were received very favorably as well.  On the downside, the sweet potato fries that were an option with sandwiches were not the best I’ve had (our batch wasn’t very fresh)- you would be better off getting the steak fries, which were tasty.

The Full Monty Sandwich.

After all of this, you would think we might call it quits before dessert.  But as anyone who has heard of or been to a Serendipity knows, dessert is their claim to fame, and their trademark “Frrrozen Hot Chocolate” is the most

Dessert!

famous offering.  We got one of the regular frozen hot chocolates and the red velvet sundae.  The hot chocolate was delicious- it’s just what you would imagine, basically hot chocolate mix mixed with ice and topped with whipped cream.  I like that it isn’t the consistency of ice cream, more a blended chocolate drink that makes it easier to eat/drink.   The red velvet sundae was an aggressive dessert choice- it is literally a huge piece of red velvet cake, on top of a also huge sundae.  To take this over the top, even the sundae glass is resting in a pool of hot fudge.  This was more intimidating than the hot chocolate, but very good, although the cake itself was a bit dry (since it rested in a pool of chocolate and ice cream, this didn’t matter too much).  Serendipity was a delicious and indulgent dinner, but make sure you bring at least two or three friends to share all the courses with if you want to be able to walk afterwords.

PS. Oh, did you think I forgot the drinks?  Come on now.  All of them were pricey but good, and unsurprisingly over-the-top.  I recommend the champagne with elderflower and an edible hibiscus in the bottom.  I think it was called the Fourth Prince. Opulence at it’s finest.

This blueberry mojito came with lots of fruit-accessories. I was skeptical. But it was good.

Delia’s Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding

23 May

Finished chocolate bread pudding

We had a rare visit from some extended family members this weekend, and took the opportunity to celebrate Father Spice’s birthday a few days early with a big dinner. Unfortunately (for me, that is), he isn’t a huge fan of cake, or most sweets, so the dessert was the trickiest part of the menu to plan. We considered a classic British summer pudding, but currants are difficult to find at the best of times in America, and apparently impossible this early in the season. So we decided to go for the not-quite-seasonal, but certainly delicious, chocolate bread pudding.
This recipe is from Delia Smith, basically the British equivalent of Julia Child. Whenever we’re cooking a big dinner at home, someone immediately suggests consulting “Delia.” As this recipe indicates, her recipes might not always be the healthiest, but she never lets us down.

I won't tell if you munch on those crusts

A couple notes on the recipe: I roughly increased it to fit our oval baking dish, about 12 inches lengthwise. I used four eggs (up from Delia’s three), but some of them were quite small and I think it would have been fine with three. The booze flavor does come through quite strongly, so if you’re not using it I would definitely add something like a teaspoon of vanilla. And lastly, this is definitely a make-ahead dish (perfect for dinner parties), as you want a lot of time for the sauce to soak in to the bread.

First layer of bread down

Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding
Serves 10
Equipment: Double boiler or saucepan with heatproof bowl, ovenproof dish preferably a bit smaller than 9×13
Ingredients:
1 loaf good-quality white sandwich bread, 1 day old
7 oz (200 g) Dark chocolate, 75% cocoa solids
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) heavy cream
6 tbsp dark rum or amaretto
3/4 cup (155 g) super-fine/caster or granulated sugar
1 stick (113 g) butter
Good pinch of cinnamon
3 extra-large eggs
To serve: Chilled heavy cream
Method: Lightly butter your ovenproof dish. Remove the crusts from your slices of bread, and cut each slice into four triangles. Set aside. Place the chocolate, whipping cream, rum, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a double boiler or a bowl tightly fit over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl is not touching the water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter and chocolate have melted and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture will not be homogenous. Remove the bowl from the head and stir well to amalgamate the ingredients better (the chocolate will probably have sunk to the bottom).
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. (I poured a little bit of the chocolate mixture into the eggs to temper them because I was worried the next step would cook them, but Delia doesn’t find this necessary.) Pour the chocolate mixture into the eggs and whisk very thoroughly to blend them together.
Pour about a 1/2 inch layer of the chocolate mixture into the base of the dish, and arrange half of the bread over the chocolate in overlapping rows. Next, pour half of the remaining chocolate all over the bread is evenly as possible. Arrange another layer of the bread triangles over the first. You may not use up all the bread. Finish by pouring the rest of the chocolate evenly over the top layer, and then gently press down the bread with a fork so that it is evenly covered in chocolate.

Ready to absorb all that chocolate-y goodness

Cover the dish with clingfilm and allow to cool at room temperature for about 2 hours, then transfer for the fridge to continue soaking for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours (longer is better).
When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C). Remove the clingfilm and bake on a high shelf for 30-35 minutes. It is done when the top is slightly crunchy, but the inside should still be soft and squidgey. Let cool for ten minutes before serving with cold heavy cream.

Dark Chocolate Sour Cherry Cookies

27 Apr

Yummies.

After making mushroom lasagna for my family this weekend, I decided we needed something to balance out the vegetables and so made these cookies, which are loaded with two types of chocolate and delicious sour cherries.  The recipe comes from Martha Stewart Cookies, a book Gina and I were given for Christmas by Gina’s godmother, who is also an avid and excellent baker.  I’ve never been a big Martha Stewart fan (I tend to like less grandmothery chefs who haven’t gone to jail), but this book is pretty awesome.  It has about 100 cookie recipes, divided by type such as “chewy”, “crispy”, “cakey”, etc.  I am told she has a similar cupcake book, although I can’t imagine how there are quite as many cupcake varieties as there are cookie types.

I sometimes forget how easy cookies are to make, but these were really a cinch- just mix some dry ingredients, add an egg and chocolate, put in the oven and enjoy.   We didn’t have a mixer in the mountains, so I even made do with just a spoon to whisk everything together.  They are intensely chocolatey, so certainly not for anyone with a chocolate aversion (is there such a person? I don’t know one), but the sour cherries add a nice contrast that lightens up the chocolate monotony.  Below is a halved recipe from the original, but I assure you, you will still have cookies for days- I’m never sure why cookie recipes assume that you are baking for 20.  Try these sometime soon, I promise you will not regret it.  Just have a large glass of milk nearby.

Dark Chocolate Sour Cherry Cookies
From Martha Stewart Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen

Equipment: Electric mixer (or wooden spoon and some old fashioned elbow grease), knife, cookie sheet

Ingredients:
3/4 plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar (light brown works too)
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup firmly packed dried sour cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter. In a bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, or large bowl with wooden spoon, cream together the softened butter and sugars until fluffy and light.  Add egg and vanilla and stir/beat until combined.  Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  With a wooden spoon, mix in the chocolate and sour cherries.

Form balls of dough (mine were about 1 rounded tablespoon although Martha recommends 1/4 cup, which seems excessively large).  Place balls on the baking sheets, 2-3 inches apart.  Bake until puffed and cracked, about 9 to 11 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy!

Best Brownies Ever

25 Mar

Chocolate and butter, what more could you ask for?

I was browsing through our posts recently and was shocked to discover how long it’s been since I posted a baked good recipe. I feel like I’m a much better baker than real-food cook, but I guess I’m so busy at college that I don’t have as much time to just make something delicious for myself. (Or I just don’t have time to make something delicious AND post a blog about it. Sorry.) But it was the opening night of the Children’s Theater play I’m in last Friday, and I felt like the cast might need some motivation during our Thursday rehearsal, so I decided to make these brownies.

I love you, Trader Joe

Brownies are one of the baked goods that I rarely buy in stores or bakeries. With the exception of the amazing ones at Baked, I usually find them overly sweet, not chocolate-y enough, and dry. Brownies from mixes are also usually too sweet, and without the chocolate punch. You will not think any of those thoughts about these brownies. They are intensely fudgey and just sweet enough, and if you under-bake them like I did, deliciously gooey. And it’s not just me–  they got pretty rave reviews from the cast (though home-baked goods in a college setting always seem to be met with wonder).I think the key is to beat the eggs in until the mixture is silky and pulling away from the sides of the bowl– this isn’t hard, but it is definitely more than just a regular “stir to combine”.
Three notes: I used Trader Joe’s 70% chocolate labeled as “Imported from Belgium,” which apparently was voted the best dark chocolate by Serious Eats not long ago. It is definitely the cheapest you will find, and available in little three packs and a huge “pound plus” bar, so I highly recommend it.
While I was at Trader Joe’s, I decided to pick up some dried cherries, because I’ve heard they’re awesome in brownies, and that Trader Joe’s has good ones. Unfortunately, I picked up the wrong type– I should have gone with the tart instead of the regular “Bing” cherries, but either way they added a nice textural contrast to the brownies, though not a huge amount of flavor.
Lastly, all the measurements for the recipe I followed were in weights, and I don’t have a scale. This meant a lot of looking up conversions, and a lot of guessing. I’ve put down the approximate amounts I used in cups, but can’t guarantee they are actually faithful to what Jamie intended.

Silky, silky batter. (Taking pictures of final products is hard)

The Best Brownies (Adapted from Jamie Oliver)
Equipment:
Square baking tin, two mixing bowls, saucepan or double boiler, parchment paper
Ingredients:
250 g butter (18 tablespoons, 2 sticks + 2 tbsp)
200 g dark chocolate (70% is best)
75 g dried sour cherries (I used about 1/2 a cup) (optional)
50 g chopped nuts (optional)
360 g superfine or white sugar (1 3/4 cup)
80 g cocoa powder (2/3 cup)
65 g flour (A little over 1/2 a cup)
1 tsp baking power
4 large eggs

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line 8×8 baking tin with parchment paper (I did this very roughly with one piece and it came out fine, this is just to make lifting out and cutting the brownies easier). Roughly chop chocolate and butter into pieces and put in a large bowl over simmering water, or in double boiler, or a microwave. Melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Roughly chop cherries if desired, and stir them and nuts in if you are using them.
In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and baking powder, and add to chocolate mixture. Stir together well. Beat the eggs (in the bowl that used to have the flour in it, if you want), and stir into the chocolate mixture. Keep stirring until the batter is a silky consistency and starting to pull away from the sides.
Pour mix into tin and put in oven for 25 minutes. A toothpick shouldn’t come out clean, or they won’t be fudgey. They should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Mine were a little undercooked… it’s a little hard to tell when they’re done, so if you definitely don’t like undercooked brownie then perhaps cook a little longer. Allow to cool in tray, then pick up parchment and transfer to plate to cut into squares (this is easier if they have been refrigerated, especially if they are very gooey). Try not to eat them all.

Eating Our Way Through Brooklyn

23 Feb

The Red Hook waterfront

Mother Spice is off gallivanting in India (supposedly for work, although when we talked to her she seemed to be at a spa on the beach), so Gina and I came to New York for the weekend to keep our long-suffering father company.  The three of us decided to go on an adventure to Brooklyn, spurred by a trip to Brooklyn Gina and Father Spice took over the summer, which led to Father Spice discovering Brooklyn at about the same time The New York Times did (see: this).  Our trip to Brooklyn turned into us eating at no fewer than three places in one afternoon, visiting Williamsburg, Red Hook, Cobble Hill, and driving through multiple other places while Father Spice both a) gave us history lessons (always fun!), and b) went into a 30 minute discussion with himself about why it was a mistake that we didn’t think more seriously about moving there when we first came to NY.

Oops, we ate half of this before remembering the picture

We ended up grabbing lunch at a decent-but-nothing-exciting Thai place in Williamsburg, and then went on to Red Hook, original home of Red Hook Lobster Pound, a spattering of little boutiques among the old industrial buildings, and our destination: Baked.  Baked has been featured both on Serious Eats, for being the Best Cupcake in New York, and on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, for their salted chocolate brownie.  So it was pretty inevitable that we would be going there to sample some butter-laden goodies.  We tried the red velvet cupcake with cinnamon frosting, the salted brownie, and a pumpkin chocolate chip pound cake.  All three were delicious, and I can absolutely see why one would go to Brooklyn just to stock up on brownies.  The cupcake was somehow both much moister and much lighter than any other I have tried (and trust me, living in a combination of DC and NY means I eat a lot of cupcakes), and the frosting was amazing and airy without being at all too sweet or cloying.  The salty-sweet combination of the brownie was also sublime, and it had a very rich, gooey, chocolate texture.  The pound cake was ordered as an afterthought by Father Spice, but was (surprise, surprise), also awesome, very moist and cakey with a great flavor combination of the pumpkin and chocolate.

Prime Meats steak frites

After some more history lessons while looking out over the docks in Red Hook and driving around Prospect Park (did you know it was designed by the same person who created Central Park, which was inspired by a park in Liverpool, aka Father Spice’s hometown?), we headed over to the Carrol Gardens area for an early dinner at Prime Meats.  Prime Meats is well known in Brooklyn and was recommended to us by a family friend who seems to have eaten at every “best restaurant” in the city.  They take no reservations, but we got there at about 5:45 and only had to wait 10 minutes before being seated.  The atmosphere is very friendly and relaxed, and there were lots of families there while we were eating.  It was noisy without being overwhelming or annoying, and the brick walls and wood finishing with tealights around the window contributed to the casual feeling.  It was also quite reasonably priced for such a lauded place in New York City- it wasn’t cheap, but was less expensive than we thought it might be.

Brisket with cabbage and juniper berries (whatever they are)

The menu is very simple and only has a few main items on it, including a roast chicken, burger, steak, and brisket.  Gina and I split the duck salad to start, which had pieces of shredded duck as well as some slices of duck breast, with apple and toasted pumpkin seeds.  It was very good, as was Father Spice’s celery salad with a simple but delicious vinaigrette dressing.  For the main courses, I had steak frites, which was a very generous and well cooked steak with great fries, Father had the braised brisket with cabbage and juniper berries, which had come recommended to us and was also delicious, and Gina had the burger, which looked great and was finished by her in approximately two bites.  Seriously, I looked over about a minute after getting our food and it was gone already, so I’m gonna guess it was good.  I would definitely go back here under many circumstances- it would be a fun place to go with family, or with a group of friends for a casual but very tasty dinner.  And it’s within walking distance of the Carrol Gardens subway stop, so if you’re in NY consider taking a trip across the bridge for this, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

New Zealand: Cafes and Chocolate

26 Jan

Mmmm iced coffee

Lily demonstrates how to eat a chocolate fish

Hello again. So one of the reasons I have been so very lax in blogging is that my winter break wasn’t quite as relaxing as usual– after a few days in England with the family, I flew to Wellington, New Zealand to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding. Upon arrival, my friend Lily and I were very quickly put to work as slaves willing helpers. We were pretty much busy the entire week, and as a result were living off take-outs and chocolate (though you won’t find me complaining too much about this, as I was very eager to reunite with cheap take-out curries and the amazing Whittaker’s chocolate).

I also enjoy a chocolate fish

Wellington, however, is famous for its multitude of cafes, and we were not going to spend a week there without doing a bit of cafe-hopping. So in between picking up fabric to make a veil and searching for ties for the groomsmen, we stopped off at Fidel’s, which became my favourite of the Wellington cafes when I was living there. Located on Cuba St, Fidel’s is filled with communist memorabilia, but more importantly has excellent food and lots of outdoor seating (it was, after all, mid-summer).

Sipping ice cream-y coffee requires this face.

As soon as I walked in I remembered what I had to get– an iced chocolate. I first discovered these delicious drinks in Australia, but they also abound in New Zealand with the addition of the all-important chocolate fish (resulting in the series of photographs seen in this post, because Lily is incapable of seeing a camera without posing). An iced chocolate is basically chocolate milk poured over scoops of vanilla ice cream, with whipped cream on top. Simple, yet delicious. What’s bizarre to me is that in both countries if you order an “iced coffee” you will get the same concept– iced coffee with ice cream. My inquiries as to what you would order if you just wanted a cold coffee were met with somewhat blank stares. Apparently it’s just not done.

Chocolate cake was also consumed. The bride could not wait for a photo to be taken to dig in.

I also, of course, ate plenty of Tim Tams when I was there. These chocolate biscuits are (I believe) technically Australian, but thankfully you can get them in New Zealand, because they are amazing. I was very sad when the packet I brought back with me to DC ran out so quickly, but have ordered a fresh delivery with Lily’s impending arrival in the US. If you are ever in the area, I recommend picking up a good supply of the double-coated variety, though the traditional are also excellent. Overall, I think I managed to hit all the classic New Zealand junk foods while I was there, and I highly encourage you to do the same. Especially if it’s chocolate-related.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Coconut Cookies

17 Dec
C-C-C-C-Cookies

Try to be less messy than I am when putting cookies on the sheet

I only realized as I was typing the title to this post that all of the ingredients in this cookie start with C!  I did not do that on purpose, but it does make a fun alliteration.  These cookies were made when at 9:30 one night I decided I really wanted homemade cookies, despite the fact that I was planning on going to bed in an hour.  I happened to have a container of some dried cranberries, coconut, and chocolate chips in my fridge, so I decided just to throw them in some batter, and thus, Chocolate Chip Cranberry Coconut Cookies were born.  And then I chopped up another bar of chocolate and added that as well, just for good measure.  I’m completely guestimating the amount of ingredients used, as I didn’t measure the add-ins at all.  Mine had very little coconut, but I would definitely suggest adding some more, as when the flavor comes out it really adds to the overall cookie experience.

Your batter will not look exactly like this if you remember to add flour.

I got the recipe from this chocolate chip recipe on All Recipes, just because that was the first thing that came up when I googled chocolate chip cookies. I used the basic batter as a starting point, and it turned out very well- the cookies were chewy and crispy at the same time when first out of the oven, and lasted very well for the next few days (I know, because one night I ate about 4 while I was waiting for my dinner to cook).  I have to admit though, these were very nearly a complete cookie failure, because the first time I scooped out the cookies onto my baking sheet I realized I had forgotten to add flour.  In case you are not familiar with baking, the flour is a pretty important ingredient in basically any cookie.  I blame the fact that I was rushing in my cookie-craving state, and also that I was distracted by how good the sugar and butter mix tasted that I forgot I was missing the main ingredient.  Luckily I realized before putting the sheet into the oven, otherwise I would have had a very buttery messy situation on my hands.  If you’re looking for a cheap gift for anyone for the holidays, these would be a great holiday cookie to make and wrap up nicely!  They only take about 30 minutes from start to finish, and as long as you remember the flour, they are pretty much foolproof.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Coconut Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Equipment: Big mixing bowl, stand or hand mixer, spatula, spoon, cookie sheet and parchment paper or silicone mat

Ingredients
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Dissolve the baking soda in hot water, and add to the batter along with the salt.  Beat to incorporate, then stir in the flour, chocolate chips, cranberries, and coconut (with a wooden spoon or spatula). Drop by large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat (but not greased).  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are brown.  Cookies will keep for a few days in an air-tight container at room temperature.

World Peace/Win People Over with Cookies Cookies

29 Nov

Magic on a plate

Gina was the first one of the Ginger Spices to make these cookies, but I have made them several time since and have no intention of stopping.  They are seriously delicious, melt in your mouth chocolaty, and on top of that are very simple, utilizing ingredients that I almost always have in my kitchen anyway.  I first read about them on Smitten Kitchen, which is where the “World Peace Cookies” name came about, and if you think that name is exaggerating the power of these cookies, you only need to try them to be converted.  I firmly believe that if served to any friend, boss or person you are trying to impress they will be immediately won over, and will continue to ask for “Roxie cookies” (or “Insert-your-name-here cookies”) every time you see them henceforth.  I personally have a certain friend’s mother who tried one of these intending just to taste one, then ate about three more, and now apparently asks after me all the time (admittedly, said friend may be exaggerating/this may not have to do solely with my baking skills, but I choose to believe in the power of cookies above all else).

Chopped chocolate. Say that three times fast.

I think it’s the texture of this type of cookie that make them so strange and addictive- they are apparently known as “sandies”, which makes sense because the dough sort of resembles sand and they crumble easily.  They also have a lot of brown sugar in them, which always reminds me of sandcastles, so I like to think that fact is somehow related to the name.  All you really have to do is chop some chocolate (which is super fun, therapeutic, and gets chocolate all over your hands in the best way possible), cream the butter with a stand mixer or hand held mixer, and then add all the ingredients until a dough forms.  The recipe makes a large amount, but trust me, you want to make it all.  Plus you divide the dough into two pieces to chill, so can easily bake one that day and save the other for a few days later when friends are banging down your door begging for these.  Or just for when you find you have eaten 25 cookies in three days and want some more.  They also keep very well in a container at room temperature, and as they are not chewy they last for about a week if for some crazy reason you see reason and decide not to eat them all in a day like me.

Sandcastle-like sugar

World Peace/Win People Over with Cookies Cookies
From Smitten Kitchen, from Dorie Greenspan (fantastic name, btw)

Equipment: Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer, or a whisk and very strong arms, sheet pan, sharp knife, cling film or tin foil

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter, at room temp
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks, or 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together. Working with a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.  Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour and mix at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time.  If there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more.  Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.  Logs can also be frozen for a couple of months if desired.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 and line baking sheet with parchment or silicone mats.  Slice logs with a sharp thin knife, if they fall apart just form them back together on the baking sheet.  Put them on the baking sheet with about an inch between (one log needs two batches), then bake for 12 minutes. They will still look very soft, but take them out and let them cool until they have hardened and can be handled.  Enjoy, and store any extras in airtight container!