Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few years ago, the New York Times had an article about the secret to a great chocolate chip cookie.  (Note: in my mind, whenever I think about the date of the article, I think of it as last summer, no matter how many years go by, so imagine my surprise when I see that this is from over three years ago--gets me every single time).  Apparently the key(s) is(are): letting the batter chill for at least 24 hours and up to 72 before baking it into cookies, and using a combo of cake and bread flour.  I think the resting and bread flour (which is high-gluten) allows the final product to be a little denser with a lovely toothsome quality (I don't really know what "toothsome" means but this seems an appropriate time to use it) that is all part of a good, chewy-but-crisp-at-the-edges chocolate chip cookie.

This is self-apparent at this point, but this is not the easiest of chocolate chip cookie recipes.

There are some changes you can make.  Don't have bread flour and you don't want to buy it? Go ahead and use all-purpose flour, no biggie.  Same goes for cake flour? Same answer.  What, you don't have chocolate feves? Neither do I. Don't know what they are? Neither do I.  And folks, I lived literally around the corner from Jacques Torres, which the article specifically mentions as a source for these feves or whatever they are, and never bought them. Regular chocolate chip morsels have never done me wrong in this recipe.

However, the resting time is pretty important to this recipe, if only to let you see what all the hoopla is about. Of course a yummy cookie will still result without resting time, but the resting time leads to a cookie that will have people kinda looking at you in amazement and saying "Oh my gosh you made these?"

Adapted from New York Times

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour (I used pastry flour, although I have been known to just use plain ol' all-purpose flour)
1 2/3 cups bread flour (personally I haven't skimped on this ingredient because of some oddly rigid belief that the high gluten really contributes to the final product, but I certainly won't come after you if you use all-purpose flour for the whole recipe)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (20 TBS, yeah you read that right) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves (this is a lot of chocolate, more than you know--you will see later what I mean.  Also, chocolate chip morsels usually come in 10 or 12 oz bags, so I just use two of them and call it a day.)

Makes 1 bajillion cookies

First, mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  The original recipe says to sift, but I don't sift. I never sift because I'm lazy and sifting is messy. I whisk the ingredients.  It's totally not the same thing but I don't care. Which seems contrary to the fact that I'm spending so long on justifying why I don't sift. Hm.
Wow, a phone camera just doesn't compare, does it. By the way, that little pear crock is my salt crock.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars, scraping the bowl a couple of times with a spatula. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating and scraping well after each addition.  Also add the vanilla extract.
My butter was a wee bit soft, so yours might look a bit fluffier than this.

Next, mix in the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar/egg mixture in batches. This will seem like you're squeezing an elephant's worth of flour into a mixing bowl.  Don't worry, this is par for the recipe.

Then add in your chocolate chips.  This will seem like adding another elephant's worth into the mixing bowl.  You will give up on using the mixer because it will have started wheezing and whining, and perhaps you will see fumes emanating from the mixer.  Take over with a spatula and show that cookie monster who's boss.

Cover batter with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours.

About 30 minutes before you're ready to start baking the cookies, take out the batter and let soften from the chill.  It will make it easier to scoop.

Wait, don't get me wrong. It will still be hard to scoop. And such is life. Did I mention this recipe wasn't easy.

Anyway, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line/spray your baking sheets and drop large golf ball-sized mounds of dough onto the sheets (the recipe says 3 oz balls, like I have a kitchen scale or something, psh).  Leave a few inches between each mound, about 6 per standard sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are light golden brown.  Let rest on sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a cooling rack.

Then, after all that work, you can enjoy! Or, pack up all of them for your husband to bring to his coworkers, belatedly realizing that you got to enjoy only one cookie. One, lonesome cookie.



  1. I don't know why I can't see your pictures at work but I'm never one to turn down a chocolate chip cookie so, yes, you can send me some. :)

    (That was what this post was all about wasn't it??)

  2. Really? Resting/chilling time, huh? I had no idea! No wonder those refrigerated premade cookie dough cookies always turn out better looking than my homemade cookies. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. I'm not that big on baking, and if I get in a Baking Mood, then I pretty much want to eat my "creations" immediately. You have more willpower than I if you can let cookie dough sit in the fridge for 24 hours! I would be sitting in the corner with a spoon and the bowl, muttering like Gollum.

  4. Ditto @Sara - Chilling sounds like a neat step that I've never tried!!! Too antsy to get that sh*t in the oven and into my mouth. :)

  5. I have totally tried this recipe! Buuuut I skipped the most important part: the chill/rest time. :) Well, to be fair - I let them chill for a whole hour before my impatience got the best of me and I baked them. They were hard for me to gauge 'doneness', so I overbaked them, but they were still tasty. I may have to try them again soon!

  6. Yep. Apparently the NYT one is one of the best. I need to try this. My backing skills are whacktastic.

  7. ohhh it sounds like it'd be hard to wait 24 hours for the chilling....

  8. *bonk* that was my mouth hitting the screen at that last picture.

  9. I LOVE a good chocolate chip cookie, but who has the patience to wait over a day to make them!?! LOL Thanks for sharing this! I'll keep it bookmarked for the next time I attempt choco-chip cookies!

  10. Get in my belly!! I want to eat all of those chocolate chip cookies, they look so good!! How could you give them all away?

  11. Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite thing in the entire world to eat... I must make these immediately

  12. jessica: i did something wonky with the pictures but hopefully it's fixed now! and yes, of course these were for you.

    sara, cathy: i know, who knew?

    allie, lobster, megan: i know, the waiting is killer

    terri, brandi: you have to make these, you won't regret it.

    sashacleo, kelsey: i'm about to cry a little that i don't have any right now, i miss them so.

  13. I really don't know how you do that to me every time but I actually made freaking crab cakes last week because you have some crazy food craving mind control over me. Carb cakes! Me! The girl who puts butter on noodles and calls it dinner for the next 3 nights! And guess what I'm making tonight? Damn cookies.

  14. *Crab cakes, not carb cakes.

  15. These sound really good, but it would be so hard to wait for them for 24 hours!

    And yeah, I have no clue what chocolate feves are either!

  16. I never knew about a chilling time for cookies, but these look amazing!