Monday, September 8, 2008

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies?

My local newspaper ran an article from the New York Times by David Leite in which he went in search of the "perfect chocolate chip cookie". He went to New York City's best bakeries and got all the insider tips. Custom chocolate made exclusively for bakers, small batches baked so they are always fresh, warming trays for customers who wanted their cookies all nice and gooey.

One of the most interesting things was offered by Dorie Greenspan who noted that salt was incredibly important when dealing with sweet baked goods. Not only mixed in the cookie itself but sprinkled on top as well. I was intrigued. The recipe called for sea salt that I did not have. I used kosher salt and it was a VERY interesting addition. GOOD-interesting and something that was always present in chocolate chip cookies but somehow enhanced the contrast to sweet without being overwhelming.

Another unusual practice that was common across the board for the professional bakers was refrigerating the dough for at least 36 hours! This technique is said to "allow the dough and other ingredients to fully soak up the liquid - in this case, the eggs - to get a drier and firmer dough, which bakes to a better consistency." To be perfectly honest, it worked like a charm! I've never made cookies that came out so evenly cooked and soft yet still firm and crispy around the edges. These are absolutely the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made!


Source: David Leite

  • 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, at least 60 percent cacao content (I roughly chopped mine into at least halves)
  • 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. 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 six 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.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.


Anonymous said...

Salt on top of cookies?! Well, I will have to try this and report back.

Niki said...

DO IIIITT! But be, uh... careful? Use conservatively!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Niki, these are amazing. I have been meaning to give that recipe a try, too.