Let’s get cooking: Willa Jean’s cookies

March 2020, I was so sad to leave the city of New Orleans to quarantine with family back at home. Just as everyone had told me I would, I had fallen in love with the city. I was devastated to leave it. In the blink of an eye, all of our worlds were turned upside down and I yearned for some comfort. More specifically, I craved some of my New Orleans favorites. With a grumbling stomach and literally nothing else to do, I ventured to my parents’ kitchen to attempt to cook some of my favorite dishes from some New Orleans restaurants. 

Willa Jean

A friend of mine was really craving Chef Kelly Fields’s cookies from her restaurant, Willa Jean. Willa Jean is known for its cocktails, food, and pastries. A crowd favorite is the classic chocolate chip cookie. I have never walked by Willa Jean and not seen a line of people patiently waiting to buy one. Luckily, Chef Kelly Fields published her famous recipe in her cookbook,The Good Book of Southern Baking, and I was able to attempt baking her cookies. 

Here is the recipe that I tried, an original recipe from The Good Book of Southern Baking by Chef Kelly Fields, published by Vanity Fair: 


  • 1 1/2 cups pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour (note you can sub all-purpose flour for both of these if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces caramel flavored chocolate (or whatever chocolate you love!), coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces white chocolate (or whatever chocolate you love!), coarsely chopped
  • Large crystal sea salt, for sprinkling
  1. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir both flours with the baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or using a handheld mixer, cream the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add both sugars and the kosher salt and beat at medium-low speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. At low speed, beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  5. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 parts, mixing well each time and scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally. At low speed, stir in the chocolate until just combined.
  6. Using a 1 ½-ounce ice cream scoop (about 3 tablespoons), scoop slightly rounded mounds (2-inch mounds) of the dough onto the prepared parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a tiny bit of space between the cookies.
  7. Transfer the baking sheet with cookie dough to the freezer and freeze for at least 24 hours. (Once frozen, the cookie dough balls can be removed from the baking sheet and transferred to plastic freezer bags)
  8. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Transfer the cookies to 3 parchment paper-lined baking sheets and space them about 2 inches apart; you should have 2 rows of 4 cookies per sheet. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt and bake for 22 minutes or until lightly browned; rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. The cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temp for 3 days.

Here is a photo of my creation:

My attempt at making Chef Kelly Fields’s chocolate chip cookies.

Making these cookies was much easier than I anticipated. However, I have to say that did not taste nearly as good as the restaurant version. Chef Fields’s cookies were perfectly crisp on the outside and I would say that these cookies lacked that component. 

Here is a photo of the restaurant version: 

The restaurant version of Chef Kelly Fields’s chocolate chip cookies.

This cookie is unmatched. Gooey on the inside and a perfect chocolate to cookie ratio. I could eat 10 of these if someone let me! 



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