When A Global Pandemic Cancels Your Trip To Paris, You Bake Cookies (+ RECIPE)

This is a collaboration post again with Fariha Nasir of Pennies For A Fortune as part of our COVIDcrafts series of DIYs and easy projects you can do while social distancing.

I wish this was a photo-laden post about how gorgeous Paris looked in mid-March; how the weather was glorious — how lucky we were to have missed the rain that plagues so much of the world during springtime. How stunning the views of the Eiffel Tower were from our Airbnb in Montmartre. How much good food we ate, and maybe how much good wine we drank.

But ah, my friends, this is not that post! It is March of 2020, which means it’s the month that COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, and we cancelled our trip and hung out at home instead.

The week leading up to our ill-fated departure was one that was met with more anxiety than I’ve experienced in the last year. Every day I was frantically checking the COVID-19 stats for the US and Europe; Italy is neighbors with France and it was only a matter of time before the spread engulfed more than much of the world anticipated.

This was the week where I stopped laughing at the folks who had been buying canned goods and Lysol for weeks before. Up until this point, I was basically bragging about how excited I was to go to Paris during a time when tourists probably wouldn’t flock there. Maybe I’d even get to go to the Louvre with no lines! The catacombs! I’ll just pack a bag of antibacterial wipes! It’s going to be fine!

And then we cancelled everything. We got our money back for the most part, whether in refunds or vouchers, and we made plans to stay home.

We adapted, like humans often do, to the reality of our new normal: seeing no one but each other, staying at home or walking Jet around the neighborhood park, and getting things done around the house that we’d put off in favor of something else.

I decided to take up punch needling and crocheting, to dabble in a few paint projects around the house, to work in my garden, and to bake. Jake had some espresso machines he wanted to work on, an old trials bike that needed repair, and a Nintendo Switch to play.

It also just so happens that March 21st was my six-year anniversary of moving to Nashville. After being hit hard by an F3 tornado three weeks ago, immediately followed by a pandemic, I can tell you with unwavering certainty: I am so proud of my city. I am so unbelievably encouraged by the strength, stability, and compassion the people here have shown each other during all of this. It’s the one thing that’s kept me thinking we will be okay.

When I first moved here, my then-roommate Meredith and I bonded over our love to bake and cook (especially together). She’s still one of my best friends and we still carry this tradition, so trust me, it works!

One night, back in 2014, we were cuddled up on our huge couch in our tiny apartment to watch a movie, and Meredith said she wanted cookies, but also wanted brownies. I decided I wanted to try and wing a recipe that embodied both. I had never done that, and much to my surprise, they turned out incredible. To this day they are my favorite cookie.

What better way to celebrate my anniversary of moving to my beloved city while hunkering down at home than to bake a cookie that was invented shortly after I started calling this place home?

They’re more or less an opposite-day version of a classic chocolate chip cookie: a rich, chocolate cookie with white chocolate chips (I always mix in a handful or two of very dark chocolate chips too, but these are very mix-in friendly if that isn’t your speed). The one egg and one egg yolk combination make them dense and chewy (you can even do two egg yolks for even more moisture). They can be baked to be smaller cookies, but can also be made extra large like your favorite bakery.

Chewy Brownie Cookies

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time13 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Cookie
Author: Abbey Chiavario

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour (1:1 GF or regular)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup walnut, or other mix-in
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • Cream melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until fully combined. Add vanilla extract, egg, and egg yolk. Mix on med-high until creamy and lighter in color, careful not to overwork butter (about 2 minutes).
  • Gradually mix in dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips, nuts, or other add-ins. Batter will be very thick.
  • Place cookie dough on baking sheet in 2-4" balls, 2-3" apart.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes.
  • Remove from baking sheet after 2 minutes. Let cool.

Notes

You can add an extra egg yolk for a more chewy, moist cookie. You can also use softened butter in lieu of melted.
You may also replace the 1/3c of cocoa powder with flour to make a classic chocolate chip cookie.
Imitation vanilla extract will give you a more nostalgic flavor than a natural vanilla extract — I personally love imitation vanilla in cookies and cakes, but it doesn’t matter much.

Check out Fariha’s post here to see what she’s got going on this week!

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