Cookies you can sink your teeth into

Tribune News ServiceThese thick and chewy chocolate chunk cookies are sure to please any crowd.

Sometimes, you need a cookie with substance, something you have to chew that reveals its depth and complexity with each bite. Something that makes you feel you can handle anything.

That’s what these cookies do. Chunky with crunchy walnuts, chewy with oats, fudgy with chocolate, these bake into thick, craggy disks with crisp edges and tender centers. They’re not technically chocolate chip cookies because they’re filled with chopped chocolate, but they deliver the same nostalgic comfort.

Chopping the chocolate by hand gives you the obvious joy of big, melty chunks, but, as important, slivers as thin as splinters that season the dough throughout. Untoasted whole walnuts have a tannic edge to their nuttiness that balances chocolate’s richness while highlighting its bittersweet side. And oats — lots of them — add a nuanced natural earthy sweetness to the white-and-brown-sugar base.

Each bite gives you everything at once and also something new. You might hit a mother lode of chocolate or a walnut’s crackle, but always with the foundational oatmeal chew of a nicely salted, buttery cookie.

It’s not that these are the best cookies ever. They’re the best cookies right now. Because chocolate chip cookie trends are a reflection of our times in America. We need fortitude heading into 2020, and so, these hearty, nutty chocolate chunk cookies.

THICK AND CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES

Start to finish: 1 hour

Makes about 3 dozen

14 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

13/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

11/2 teaspoons kosher salt

11/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

11/2 cups packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

4 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats

2 cups walnut halves and pieces

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Coarsely chop the chocolate into half-inch chunks, leaving all the flaky bits on the cutting board. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl or on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper.

Beat the butter and both sugars with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running on medium speed, pour in the cream in a steady stream, and beat until smooth. Scrape the bowl, turn the machine to medium-low speed, and add the eggs 1 at a time, then the vanilla. Beat just until smooth, and scrape the bowl.

Turn the machine to low speed, and gradually add the flour mixture, then the oats. Scrape the bowl, add the walnuts and mix on low speed until evenly incorporated. You should hear the nuts cracking into smaller pieces as the paddle turns. Scrape in all the chocolate chunks and bits, and beat on low speed until well mixed.

Use a large (3-tablespoon) cookie scoop to drop balls of dough onto a prepared sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Scoop the remaining dough while the first batch bakes, then bake the remaining sheets, 1 at a time.

Cool on the pan on a wire rack. You can wait for them to completely cool or eat them warm. No judgment.

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