Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chocolate chip cookie heaven

I delight in other people's culinary successes. A new friend of mind in Greensboro recently tried a chocolate chip cookie recipe from the NYT food section and shared it with several of us. I had read the article and accompanying recipe when they were published a couple of weeks ago.

The article recommends two things the my friend and I agreed were key to the cookies' success: 1. the dough chills for 36 hours, and 2. just before baking the cookies get a sprinkle of sea salt. Now I don't know about you, but 36 hours is a LONG time for me to wait on chocolate chip cookie. Left to my own devices, I would not be able to do this. Therefore I'm happy that I tried the fruits of my friend's labor.

The 36 hour chill results in cookies with a deep, rich flavor. The eggs and butter have a chance to work some cookie magic: the baked cookies are crisp on the edge, goey in the middle, and the in between layer is somewhere in between. The sprinkle of salt makes perfect since because salt is a flavor enhancer. On top of the cookies, it brings out the flavor of the chocolate.

Here is the divine recipe for chocolate chip cookie heaven:

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 (see note)

Sea salt.

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.

Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.


Matthew said...

Is coarse salt any coarse salt (kosher, sea salt)?

K said...

Sea salt or even fleur de sel if you want to splurge.

Sallie said...

what you do is, just make enough cookies to eat for the first night. And then refrigerate. Everynight, you get fresh baked cookies that are even better because of the chill time.