Fiddler's Favorite Recipes Episode 5: Dayna Anderson's Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 2, 2020, 10:20 AM · For this next Fiddler’s Favorites I asked someone very dear to me who also happens to be an excellent baker. Dayna Anderson was one of my first violin students. She endured me for more than eight years, and we have remained good friends ever since.

Dayna Anderson cookies

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Dayna was appointed Concertmaster of Delaware Symphony when she was just 22, and she also has been serving as Assistant Concertmaster of the Grant Park Symphony.

This post is especially meaningful to me because on February 24 Dayna was appointed Assistant Principal Second violin of the National Symphony Orchestra. This was a dream come true, as she now had a job near to her husband Nate Hepler, who is Second Trumpet for Baltimore Symphony. My heart goes out to Dayna and Nate and to the thousands of musicians that are silenced during this crisis.

We will all get through this together and certainly a batch of Dayna's amazing cookies will lift our spirits !



1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups (7 1/2 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees with the oven rack in the middle position.
  2. Combine flour and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Place 4 tablespoons of butter in a large heatproof bowl. On stove, heat the remainin 10 tablespoons of butter in a pan over a medium heat. When melted, agitate pan every few seconds until the color starts to become a caramel color. Pour the browned butter into the heatproof bowl with the other 4 tablespoons and stir until melted.
  4. To the melted butter, add the salt, vanilla, and sugars. Whisk to thoroughly combine and cool mixture. Add eggs and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Let the batter stand for 3 minutes and then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat this stand/whisk process twice more.
  5. Use a spatula to add the flour/baking soda to the batter, stirring until just combined.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and stir to thoroughly incorporate
  7. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Place cookies on the sheet, leaving a couple inches between each one.
  8. Bake one sheet at a time. Cookies should look golden brown, centers will still be soft but the edges are set. Total time should be between 10-14 mins. Rotate the sheet halfway through to help with an even bake. Transfer to wire rack, cool, and enjoy!

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April 3, 2020 at 01:24 PM · I have the exact same two oil bottles to the left of my stove like Dayna has. One for neutral oil (canola) and one for extra-virgin olive oil. But what's with the machete in her knife block? Ouch!

By the way a quick Google search shows that Desiree and Dayna have performed together at Ravinia. That must have been a treat for both.

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