When Kendall Parslow was growing up in West Vancouver, she and her family often remarked that the small beachside town needed a fun, casual place to hang out. “We don’t always want to go to a full restaurant and have that experience,” she says of her and her husband Matthew’s decision to open Modern Pantry’s second location in the Marine Drive space where La Regalade used to be. Parslow worked at the French restaurant as a teenager, and the opening of her own place marks a full-circle moment for the community.
“Whether it’s a post-hike lunch where maybe you’re not looking your best but still want something great to eat or heading out to a movie and stopping to have a bite and a glass of wine, the community has been looking for a space to stop in that’s more fluid,” she says. “What we’re already seeing is people bumping into friends and pushing their tables together or coming in the morning for a work meeting and then back in the afternoon with a girlfriend (and picking up bread for home on the way out). It’s functioning as a gathering space and feels like a living room, which is exactly what I hoped for.”
The 1,800-square-foot artisan bakery and café is the sister to the much smaller but still beloved location on Old Dollarton Road in North Vancouver. Long term, Parslow has plans to hold evening workshops and cooking classes, and to open a weekend wine bar with the extra space. She may even host long-table dinners. “I envision us continuing to expand on our “pantry” items and making more and more retail products as well as frozen meals and picnic packs,” she says.
But first and foremost, Modern Pantry is a bakery with a reputation for interesting twists on baked goods. Many of its offerings are favourites that are deceptively simple yet elevated. The humble chocolate chunk cookie, for instance, has been on the menu since day one, and Parslow says it is the most requested recipe, with many people trying to guess the secret ingredient. “We’ve kept it a well-guarded secret until now but figure if people really want to go through all the effort of making them at home, they deserve their reward.” For the first time, the Modern Pantry reveals what makes its chocolate chunk cookies the best.
260 grams unsalted butter
260 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
400 grams golden sugar
20 grams molasses
10 grams white vinegar
20 grams molasses
600 grams white flour
220 grams dark chocolate
8 grams ground cinnamon
6 grams salt
12 grams baking soda
Put first 260 grams of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until butter is
browned—it will smell nutty and be dark golden.
Leave the browned butter to firm up at room temperature or transfer to a bowl and freeze to speed up the process. It should be spreadable.
Combine the cooled browned butter with 260 grams of room-temperature butter and golden sugar in a stand mixer. Cream with a paddle attachment until combined and no chunks of butter remain. Do not whip air into it.
Add the eggs, molasses, and vinegar; mix again until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl so the ingredients are well incorporated.
Pour in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix—there should be tiny flecks of flour still visible.
Scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined tray and chill at least 30 minutes, ideally a few hours. If you’re not going to bake all the cookies at once, they freeze well and can be baked at a later date from frozen.
Preheat the oven to 325°F and place the cool tray on the middle rack of the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden and barely set. This may take a few minutes longer, depending on how your oven cooks. Cookies will collapse as they cool and be delicious.
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