Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday mornings are my favorite. Not just because I don't have to go to work (I actually love work...)! Why then, you ask? There is an amazing yoga class at 10:30. Literally amazing. It's challenging, inspiring, and just really, really fun. Lately it's been filling up, but today was absolutely insane! I'm talking 2" max between mats. I actually expected there to be fewer people than usual since it's Valentine's Day, but apparently I'm not the only one who would rather spend their Valentine's Day morning at yoga than anywhere else! The instructor had a great message for us to carry with us throughout and beyond our practice: love yourself. It doesn't matter if you are single, married, divorced- those adjectives are irrelevant, the message is the same. You have to love yourself before you can love others. You have to love yourself before you can genuinely acknowledge faults and make positive changes in your mentality and behavior. You have to love yourself to be truly happy.

This is the first year I haven't hand-delivered cards and baked goods to all of my friends so I'm a little bummed, but I figured I would still post what I would have given to all of my valentines. I did send out cards to close friends and family to show that I was still thinking of them, but unfortunately only my current housemates and lab mates got to enjoy these amazing cookies. And since you have to love yourself to love others... I definitely ate some too;) These cookies really are the most flavorful chocolate chip cookies I've ever eaten. The sea salt on top and the espresso powder mixed into the dough taste amazing with the chocolate! Just try it- you'll see! They crisp up quite a bit after cooling, so make sure to eat one on it's way out of the oven so you get to have a taste while the center is still completely soft and gooey! I usually don't like crisp cookies unless they're shortbread, but the crisp edges of these cookies are actually a great addition to this cookie. Plus, then you can dunk in milk later which makes the experience even more amazing:) Alternatively, if you want that gooey center to remain after cooling, you can make larger cookies and increase the baking time to 15-20 minutes.

sea salt & espresso chocolate chip cookies

3 2/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (I'm not going to stop you from putting in more though, and probably would encourage it!)

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and instant espresso powder into a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and the sugars together until very light, about five minutes. It may seem like a long time, but the texture is fantastic if you whip it for that long! Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Scoop dough to about 1-1 1/4" round and place on cookie sheet. Bake for about 7 minutes until they start to melt and sprinkle with sea salt. Then bake for about 5-7 more minutes until golden brown but still soft. Alternatively, if you want a gooey center, you can double the size of the dough and bake for 15-20 minutes, sprinkling with sea salt half way. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more before storing (or devouring!).

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