Monday, July 28, 2008

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few weeks ago Nate, my brother-in-law, shared an article from the New York Times about the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie on his Google Reader. A recipe adapted from one of the pastry chefs they interviewed is linked to the article. A few of the baking blogs I read discussed the recipe, and I was craving sweets (as usual), so I decided to try them out.

I only used all purpose flour, as I didn't own and was too lazy/cheap to go buy the two different types of flour listed. Lorne picked up 62% cacao chocolate chips for the recipe. We didn't feel like spending the time (or more money) searching out the fancy disk things used in the recipe either. The most interesting thing about the recipe (and the article) is that they recommend chilling your cookie dough for at least 24 hours, preferably 36. I'm impatient so I started baking as soon as the 24 hours was up. My intention was to bake them all at once, but Will interfered after 12 cookies were done. I didn't get around to baking the rest until it had been almost 72 hours.

I'm terrible at estimation, so when it said to make the cookies the size of "a generous golf ball" I had to get out a golf ball for comparison. The cookie dough tasted amazing. I've eaten a lot of cookie dough and I can honestly say is probably my favorite dough of the chocolate chip variety. I had high hopes when the first six went into the oven.

Unfortunately, I didn't love the first 12 I baked. I mean, they were good, but far from the best chocolate chip cookies I'd ever had. First, they were crispy. Crispy is a good attribute in fried chicken, but I prefer my cookies more on the chewy side. The article and recipe talk about how they'd have three rings - crispy with a chewy interior ring, leading to a soft center - but they were crispy all through. Boo. Second, they were, dare I say, too chocolaty. The dark chocolate is very good, yes, but that's all I could taste. It overpowered the cookie flavor completely.

The good news is that knowing that the first 12 were too crispy for my tastes, when I went to bake the last of the dough a few days later, I turned the oven down a tiny bit and took them out a minute and a half earlier than I had before. The texture on these (the ones I remembered to photograph) was much better. A little crispy on the outside, nice and chewy elsewhere. I also picked some of the excess chocolate chips out of the second 12 cookies as well so I'd be able to taste the cookie better. And the cookie itself was fantastic. So next time I make these I'll probably only use 2/3 the recommended chocolate chips and bake them less time. Also, the salt on the top was yummy.

The recipe: (original recipe is here)

3 2/3 cups minus 2 tablespoons all purpose 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 chips, at least 60 percent cacao content

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 (I did a little less than 18). 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.


Kyle said...

Hot tip! Not really, but chocolate chip cookies are pretty much the only thing I know how to bake so I thought I'd chime in with some thing's I've picked up. Basically, I have found a couple ways to make your cookies more "chewy". 1) melt some or all of the butter. 2) use more brown sugar and less white. For my cookies, I usually melt 1/2 the butter and "experiment" with the sugar ratios to keep things interesting.

Miranda said...

I'm quite impressed you are baking. Let me tell ya...I wasn't doing much when Z was Will's age. Nope...just sitting on the couch watching King of the Hill as I remember it.