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In college, I was known for pearl sugar cream scones. I would bake them on weekends for my housemates, working on their thesis papers. I would bring them to bake sales for the art history department. I would make them for a friend who was feeling down. They were my little signature baked good. Here in Milwaukee, those scones do not go uneaten. But my new known-for? Sea-salted chocolate chip cookies.

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This all started because one day I decided I needed to put some sea-salt on chocolate. So I found a cookie recipe. It seemed OK. It had a cute French elementary school story attached to it. But it needed work. So I made these things about four times before I’d adapted it to my liking. Then I made them four more times because I couldn’t stop eating them.

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Now they are so good, they drive me crazy.

Why do they drive ME crazy, you ask? Because everybody I know–when I ask what I can bring to a party, what they think I should bake this weekend–they emphatically cry, “Those salted cookies!” I’ve reached the point where they’re not exciting to make any more, and I don’t even want to eat them any more. (This statement sort of frightens me, because this girl? turn down a cookie? really?, but then I think about how I made them pretty much every weekend straight during the five months of My First Midwestern Winter 2010, which, well, I don’t even want to count how many dozen cookies that must add up to, but turns out that number could be the breaking point even for me, sweet tooth girl extraordinaire.)

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What to do? Well. When all your friends are begging, you can’t exactly ignore them…

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So you grab the best chocolate chips ever (you have a stash in your baking cabinet because friends keep giving them to you as gifts–hint, hint), and just whip up a batch. Because you’re a good friend.

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And because, well, since they’re sitting there, right out of the oven, staring at you, being delicious and all, you could probably stomach just one cookie…

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Sea-Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
Heavily adapted from Epicurious

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
1.5 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 generous teaspoon vanilla extract
11.5 ounces 60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips
Bowl coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, the soda, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a separate bowl.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugars until it is light and pale yellow. Mix in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly blended. Mix in the vanilla, then stir in the flour just until it is blended. Stir in the chocolate chips or pieces and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Lightly roll the tops of generous tablespoonfulls of the dough (I use a cookie scoop) in sea salt, and dust off excess. Bake in the center of the oven until the cookies are golden, about 11-12 minutes. (Cookies will stay rounded like balls and remain just a smidge gooey in the middle. If you don’t like that, smush them down before baking.) Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheets for about 4 minutes to allow the cookies, then transfer to wire rack.

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