Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the best chocolate chip cookies to date

Tonight, talking to some fellow CCT alumni about chocolate chip cookies, I realized I failed to follow up after baking my version of Orangette's cookie. In a word: delicious! Here, see for yourselves:

Full of chocolate, but with plenty of chocolate-free bites to enjoy. The sea salt on the top is a great contrast to the sweetness of the cookie. Some of the salt melted in, and some of it kept just a hint of crunch. The cookie's texture is really nice - chewy, with crisp edges - and actually stayed so for several days. (Can you believe I actually had them around for several days?)

Josh wasn't wowed by them... he liked them, but didn't think they stopped traffic or anything. I, on the other hand, thought they were by far the best I've tried so far. My friend Jenn asked if I'd tried the Baked recipe (no, but it looks very promising; stay tuned) or the Thomas Keller recipe (no, but I probably won't). Keller's recipe may be delicious, and if anyone bakes them and wants to send me one, have at it. However, they embody all kinds of complicated that I don't think should accompany chocolate chip cookies: beating in the butter half at a time, using two specific kinds of chocolate - 55% and 70-72%, chopping, and then sifting, the chocolate, and misting the cookies with water. These techniques and ingredients aren't difficult to achieve, but they are overly fussy in my mind.

Back to my cookies. Try these!

Adapted-from-Orangette Chocolate Chip Cookies
4 cups (17 ounces) flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar
1 1/8 cups (7 7/8 ounces) sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pound (16 ounces) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used about 2/3 Trader Joe's semi-sweet chips and 1/3 Whole Foods mini dark chocolate chunks, both of which I had on hand)
sea salt

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.

Cream butter, brown sugar, and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. (You may want to hold a dish towel over the mixer to prevent flour from flying all over at first.) Add the chocolate chips and mix very briefly, just to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate it overnight, and up to 36 hours. In fact, you can leave it in the fridge for 3-5 days, if you can stand it.

To bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment. Scoop cookies and place them on the sheet, spaced evenly apart. I don't like humongous cookies, so I usually use about a tablespoon-sized scoop, though the directions call for using an ice cream scoop. Sprinkle cookies lightly with sea salt, then pop them in the oven. Depending on the size of the cookie, baking times will vary, but 9-11 minutes is a good rough estimate. Just keep an eye on them, and remove them from the oven when they're light golden brown, but still soft. I like to cool them on the sheet for a few minutes to let them set up, and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

I made a half-recipe and got a couple dozen cookies, so I'm sure this will make quite a few in the smaller size; Orangette said the full recipe made two dozen large cookies.


Hilary said...

This is the New York Times recipe, it's also my favorite! The best, hands down!

Paige at The Spice House said...

I still base my cookies on the Joy of Cooking recipe, but to my mind, what makes a great chocolate chip cookie is lots and lots of vanilla. I usually use about 3 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) for a batch of 2 dozen large-ish cookies. Salt on top is great, too!
You're totally right that chocolate chip cookies should never be fussy. For that kind of effort I want genoise cake or souffle or something.

The Nix Family said...

Wha? Misting cookies? I do think you can over do it! These look delish - would've never thunk of salt on top.

Anonymous said...

I am going to attempt the Thomas Keller. Right after his fried chicken..

Peggy said...

this sounds delicious! i may have to try it but i don't want to trump my current fave!

Sandra Dee said...


As always - thanks for the inspiration....