At Ovenly, a bakery based in Brooklyn, N.Y., owners Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin believe everybody should love frosting and cookies. Here, they share all the secrets to their best-selling chocolate chip cookies with buttercream frosting, flavored with everyday pantry staples, for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie sandwich.
Ovenly's cookies and buttercream
A note from the baker: After finishing college, I packed up my liberal arts degree and started work as a waitress at a vegetarian diner (I was an aspiring actor back then, and that's what us theater majors do). The owners of the restaurant were a kooky husband-and-wife team whose hearts and wardrobe had never left the 1960s, and the chef was an enormous man adept at backhanded compliments. "Honey, I hear you like to bake. I bet you're good at it! Bring in something next time you make it. And—as a favor to you—I'll improve anything you bring me." Those were fighting words. The diner made vegan chocolate chip cookies that were the type of dessert that gave "vegan" a bad rap. I decided that I would create a vegan cookie that put the restaurant's version to shame. Little did I know that eight years later, Agatha would take that ancient recipe and alter it to make it absolutely perfect. We're not talking the perfect vegan chocolate chip cookie. We're talking the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Period. The recipe for this cookie (which, by far, is our best selling item) is very specific and needs to be followed to a T. Trust us, if you follow the rules, you'll be ecstatic about the results.
Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: approximately 18 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder¾ teaspoon baking soda½ teaspoon salt1¼ cups dark chocolate chips*½ cup sugar½ cup (packed) light brown sugar½ cup + 1 tablespoon canola oil¼ cup + 1 tablespoon waterCoarse-grained sea salt or flaky sea salt like Maldon, for garnish*We prefer chocolate with 60% cocoa content or higher.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the chocolate chips to the flour mixture, and toss to coat.
2. In a separate large bowl, whisk the sugars briskly with the canola oil and water until smooth and incorporated, about 2 minutes. Note: use fresh, soft light brown sugar. If there are clumps, break them up with the back of a spoon or your hand before whisking.
3. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, and then stir with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until just combined and no flour is visible. Do not overmix.
4. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Do not skip this step.
5. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
6. Remove dough from the refrigerator and use a scoop or a spoon to form the cold dough into approximately 1½-inch (1½- to 1¾-ounce) balls and place them on the prepared rimmed sheet pan. If using a scoop, pack the dough into the scoop to make dense pucks. We recommend freezing the balls of dough for 10 minutes before baking as the cookies will retain their shape better that way while baking.
7. Sprinkle the balls of dough with coarse-grained sea salt (if freezing, remove balls of dough from the freezer first), and bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the edges are just golden. Do not overbake.
8. Let cool completely before serving.
Buttercream Frosting Base Recipe
Yield: enough for 3 dozen sandwich cookies with various fillings
16 tablespoons (1 cup, 8 ounces) cold unsalted butter
7 cups confectioners' sugar + more for thickening¼ to ½ cup heavy cream
1. Cut the cold butter into ½ -inch pieces. Let it come to room temperature.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, 3 cups of the confectioners' sugar and ¼ cup heavy cream, and mix on low until just incorporated. Then beat on medium-high until the mixture is creamy and ingredients are incorporated, about a minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add more confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix on low until the frosting is thick but spreadable. Beat for 1 minute after each addition. You may not need to add all the remaining sugar. Once you have your desired consistency, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Raise the speed to medium-high, and beat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. The buttercream should be thick but spreadable. If it is too thick, add a little more cream. If it is too thin, add a little more confectioners' sugar.
Optional: Flavor Buttercream With These Pantry Staples
Yield: 1 cup frosting per flavor
1. Make base buttercream recipe as above.
2. For each flavor, measure 1-cup of base buttercream frosting and add:
Halva: Whisk in 2 teaspoons tahini paste and 2 teaspoons American-process cocoa.
Peanut Butter & Honey: Whisk in 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 2 tablespoons honey.
Booze: Whisk in 2 teaspoons of your favorite spirit (we love bourbon!).
Nutella-Cinnamon: Whisk in 2 tablespoons Nutella and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Coconut Cream: Soften coconut cream packet in hot water. Add ½ cup of coconut cream to mixer with base buttercream and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
Recipes by Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin of Ovenly.
Excerpted from Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin (Harlequin Nonfiction). Copyright ©