I want to talk about chocolate chip cookies. Really, good chocolate chip cookies. Among most of my friends, the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie is on par with the quest for the meaning of life. The thing is, I’m fairly confident that these cookies are the answer to that query.
I stumbled upon this recipe one day while browsing the internet for new recipes (my favourite lazy-afternoon activity). Hailing from the New York Times and accompanied by an entire article on the characteristics that make up a perfect chocolate-chip cookie, I suspected they could permanently end my personal quest for the perfect cookie. I did, however, have a few reservations:
For one, the recipe requires both cake flour and bread flour. At the time I owned neither. Perhaps more problematic, however, was the technique. The cookies required a 24-36 hour rest period. That is exactly what it sounds like: you make the dough, cover it in plastic wrap, and stick it in your fridge for a day to a day and a half. Yes, for a day and a half you have to know that perfect and delicious cookie dough is within arms reach, and you have to force yourself to do nothing about it.
I put off making this recipe for a few weeks. Then, one Sunday afternoon in July, I forced myself to buy some bread flour and cake flour while on my weekly grocery-shopping trip. I had the foresight to pull butter out of the fridge before leaving my apartment, and I put my mixer to work as soon as I got home.
A half-hour later I had dough.
20 hours later I gave in and started pre-heating my oven and rolling the dough into golf-ball sized cookies. I have no patience. Delayed gratification? No concept whatseover. According to most studies this means I will fail at life. I’m ok with that if failure means these cookies.
These are 100% worth the wait. Crispy at the edges and soft in the middle with that perfect chewiness in the in-between section that is (in my opinion) the hallmark of a perfect cookie.
So trust me, and make these. Buy the flours, and wait for them.
The only foreseeable problem is that your quest for the perfect cookie will become irrelevant. I’d apologize, but I’m not really sorry, and I suspect you’ll forgive me once you’ve had these.
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from the NYT)
Makes approx. 30 4-6 inch cookies (I’ve seen this number vary, but that’s how many I’ve got sitting in my kitchen – anyone want a cookie?)
Here’s what you’ll need:
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 teaspoon coarse salt (note I cut this amount down, I like very little salt in my baked goods… I know some people swear by it, but I find it makes them, well, salty)
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
*If you do have a kitchen scale, I’d recommend using it, the measurements were slightly off when I just used the measuring cups.
Here’s what you do:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
2. In a separate bowl whisk the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each one is added to incorporate. Add in vanilla.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, stirring gently until they have all been added.
5. Dump in the chocolate chips – I used an entire bag of dark chocolate chips – and fold gently with a spatula to combine.
6. Now for the hard part – transfer into a bowl, press plastic wrap against the dough and put it into the fridge. Forget about it.
7. After 24-36 hours the dough will be rather hard, and a bit crumbly, but scoop out golf-ball-sized amounts of dough, and roll them into balls with your hands – they’ll come together just fine.
8. Place six balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and then press down with the heel of your hand to flatten slightly.
9. Bake for 18 minutes – this was perfect in my oven, but yours might be a bit different, you want them just barely browning on the edges, and puffed up in the middle.
10. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for ten minutes, then remove the cookies from the baking sheet and place on a separate wire rack to cool completely. Repeat from step 7 until you run out of dough.