I wanted to share one of favorite little lunch and coffee shops since I’m in SF! I’ll see you there!
As you know, I sometimes throw parties when I have people in town that I want my friends to meet. So, I’d like to throw an e-party and introduce you to Amanda Michael, founder, and chef at Jane. Jane is a very busy café on Fillmore Street known for having some of the BEST cookies on Earth.
In 2011, Amanda opened the doors of Jane (named after her daughter), in hopes of creating a “third space” in the neighborhood by offering excellent homemade pastries, well-crafted coffee as well as basic breakfast and lunch options. Jane is patterned after a 1970’s hip London coffee bar. Light comes in the large windows from Fillmore Street all day long, flowing across the crisp black and white decor. A particular design feature is a mirror that extends the length of the cafe behind the counter while three unique and very large light fixtures adorn the upper portion of the mirror.
I met Amanda through my friend, Leslie Podell, and am lucky enough to know Amanda for the past 18 years. Unfortunately, due to distance, I don’t get to see her as much I’d like. Well, I struck gold while on my visit to San Francisco in March, and I had the awesome pleasure of not only visiting with Amanda but baking with her, too!
During my visit to this lovely and quaint establishment, Amanda shared with me these tips and deliciously top-secret recipes to her heavenly cookies. Enjoy!
Always mix butter and sugar until fluffy before adding eggs. Sugar molecules have sharp edges that separate the fat in the butter and create air bubbles. This allows the moisture in the butter to evaporate quickly, leaving you with cookies that are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Adding eggs too soon prevent the air bubbles from forming.
Keep butter and eggs at room temperature (let rest for at room temperature about 30 min), so they are easier to blend. But don’t melt the butter because that makes the cookies greasy.
Let the dough chill a little before scooping. It will be easier to handle. Then, scoop dough onto a cooking sheet with parchment paper and chill before putting into the oven. We like to let all cookie doughs chill for 24 hours. This allows the flour to absorb the moisture from the dough and produces the crispy-soft texture we love.
When in the oven, rotate the cookie sheet every 5 minutes and pat them gently with a spatula to get an even bake.
Don’t overmix the flour. We like to finish mixing our cookies by hand to make sure they keep a great texture. Over mixing the flour leads to a tough cookie.
If available, using flour from a local miller is best. You can use different kinds of flour, but it should always be unbleached.
Chocolate chips should be made with 63% cocoa. It is well worth it to splurge on good chocolates like Scharffen Berger, Ghirardelli, and Callebaut.
On the debate of chips versus chunks, we at Jane like to use chips – and plenty of them. They incorporate nicely into the batter and guarantee chocolate in every bite. But chunks are good too – the nice thing about cookies is that you can make them the way you like!
Have fun with cookies and personalize them! Think of something you loved in childhood – Captain Crunch perhaps!? – and add that to the batter. Or put other cookies in cookies, like Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies. If it doesn’t turn out just right, try it again! Good things to play with are cereals, marshmallows, dried fruits, toffee peanuts, candies – the sky is the limit!
CAPTAIN CRUNCH COOKIES
11 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
14 oz granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
11 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
4.5 oz cornmeal
5 oz Captain Crunch cereal, crunched up
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tbsp baking soda
1 ½ tbsp kosher salt
- Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer till combined – about 3 minutes on high.
- Add eggs, one at a time while mixer is running
- Stop mixer when eggs are incorporated – about 2 minutes – and scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula
- Turn mixer back to high and cream about 10 minutes. Use this time to prepare the rest of the ingredients
- Combine AP flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix with a fork or whisk to incorporate.
- Measure out captain crunch cereal.
- When the butter/sugar/egg mixture is nice and fluffy turn the mixer off, add the flour and turn the mixer to low to mix in the flour. Only mix until barely incorporated and add the cereal. Mix about 45 seconds more and remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Please do not over mix. It will ruin the texture of the cookies.
- With a spatula finish the mixing by hand.
- Scoop golf ball size pieces of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put them close together as the dough will have to be chilled prior to baking.
- Chill the dough at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- When you are ready to bake your cookies preheat the oven to 350. Remove the dough from the fridge about 30 minutes before baking.
- Place the scooped dough 4 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. With your clean hands press the dough balls lightly to flatten.
- Bake about 12 -14 minutes, rotating the sheet once during cooking. The cookies should be nice and gold but remain soft.
- Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer cookies to a rack to continue to cool
Yields 14-20 cookies, depending on size.
2123 Fillmore Street (between California & Sacramento Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94115