After the disappointing Granola Grabbers, it seemed time to renew my faith in the goodness of cookies with the mother of all cookiedom, the chocolate chip cookie. I love experimental recipes and fancy ingredients as much as the next foodie, but when it comes to homemade cookies, I usually prefer a simple, honest, unembellished chocolate chip cookie, warm from the oven and loaded with chunks of chocolate.
Chocolate chip cookies seem to be the latest rage on food blogs these days. It seems like everyone has tried their hand at the ultimate cookie ever since the New York Times wrote an article giving their definitive recipe. After the paper was published there was a flurry of bake-offs around the blogosphere, resulting in dozens of drool-inducing photos and scientifically calibrated taste tests.
But, like the popularity of Judd Apatow movies, the music of M.I.A., and the dreadful re-emergence of leggings as a viable fashion choice, this was a trend I wasn’t sure I could support. I already HAD a tried and true favorite cookie recipe, stolen from Jacques Torres several years ago. How could the New York Times top that?!
Turns out, they can’t–the New York Times version was basically Torres’s recipe with a little extra salt and resting time. Once I learned that they wouldn’t threaten my beloved recipe, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and make another batch of my favorite cookies.
The Times recipe calls for fancypants chocolate discs (preferably couverture chocolate, mais oui!). Instead of breaking the bank on chocolate for–let’s face it–a cookie that would be gobbled in seconds, I used a mix of milk and dark chopped Callebaut chocolate. I like chopped chocolate better than chips, because the chocolate disperses better through the cookie, and each bite has a different degree of chocolate: sometimes it’s lightly layered through the dough, and other times there are big chunks of melty, molten chocolate.
So do you have to follow the Times recipe to the letter to get a great cookie? I think the sprinkling of sea salt and the longer rest time (and the ginormous serving size!) produce an amazing cookie, but they’re almost as good if you make them right away, skip the sprinkling of salt on top, and make modest-sized portions. Just remember to underbake them slightly (if they look “done” when you take them out of the oven, you’ve gone too far) and serve them, warm and gooey, with a tall glass of cold milk. And if you’ve made the NYT cookie, or variations thereof, what did you think?
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Jacques Torres
Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content [I used chopped chocolate instead]
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. 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, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies, or a bazillion (like, 10 dozen) smaller cookies.