Saturday, September 26
the cookie grail
I can't stand it anymore. it's time to post this, even though my mailman might be chowing down on that texan's care pack for breakfast this very moment (bastardo!). perhaps when asked "anything perishable in this here box?" a different answer might have prevented it getting "lost." priority mail my ass. umm...unless the box arrives today, in which case another batch will be baked immediately and surrendered willingly to the very kind folks at my station.
this recipe has been making the rounds since the ny times posted it in july, and there's collective agreement that it may be the best chocolate chip cookie anyone has ever encountered. adding my hear-hear, I would just like to add that they are ungodly split-one-for-dinner-go-to-bed-still-full-but-very-amped-up good.
biding my time — awaiting an occasion for a 20-dollars'-worth-of-chocolate-chips cookie recipe — gave the advantage of crowd-sourced knowledge. pim and deb both attempted the recipe to delicious, but deflated results (orangette had better success). chilling the formed cookie blobs seemed the solution to their problem. also, this summer, chocolate makers have released more budget-friendly (and karma-friendly, happily) products to make this recipe (almost) an every-day expenditure. but what's that quote from sideways — something about the day you open a '61 cheval blanc...that's the special occasion? these cookies are the special occasion (and also genesis of weekend carepack-ing). mixing movie metaphors, if you build them, they will most definitely come. and they'll come back until every single crumb disappears.
david leite's complimentary piece covers the institution of the cookie itself, as well as the theory behind creating a perfect cookie. spend a moment with it; you won't regret it...if only because it offers fortification for the 36 agonizing hours' wait from dough to baking phases (imagine my pride at pulling back the parchment to discover none of the mouse-bites I expected ~ b&I were absolute angels).
chocolate chip cookies
adapted from jacques torres' recipe, here
makes 1 1/2 dozen ginormous cookies
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
sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into bowl. set aside.
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 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 parchment against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
when ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees f. line baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat and set aside. chilled dough is very firm, but 30 minutes at room temp makes it possible to chisel out large hunks for forming.
scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up, and maybe nudge external ones into the dough; it will make for a more attractive cookie. gather formed dough-balls and chill again for 10-15 minutes before arranging on baking sheet. Only six will fit, unless you've got industrial equipment (like the sin fairy might). 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.
mr. leite recommends eating them warm, with a big napkin. pour a big glass of milk (or milk-like substitute), too.