image of THE cookie

Everybody seems to have a chocolate-chip cookie recipe they swear by as their long-standing, all-time best. And for this cookie-lover, trying each and every one of those recipes is a feat worth attempting. But recently, first at Orangette, then in clips at Tastespotting, then at the article itself in the New York Times, I heard about THE chocolate-chip cookies, the ones that the experts got together on (or most specifically, David Leite) and created, the one that is really, truly the absolute best of the best and the chocolate-chip cookie that will make you dance with joy. I was this weekend, after more than a month of hearing such high praises, convinced of one thing. I have to have them, and I have to have them now.

It’s a long weekend, and, most poetically, it’s a long weekend all about celebrating the labor forces of our country. A weekend about how hard we all work? A weekend to celebrate with an extra day off? No, really, could there be a more perfect time to try these perfect cookies?

Personally, I cannot think of a better way to commemorate than with these best, tastiest, highly acclaimed and much-blogged-about chocolate-chip delights. And it’s a really good thing it’s a long weekend, indeed, as these cookies take time. 36 hours, to be exact.

cookie dough

What I’ve learned, via the NY Times article, is that the best bakers swear by chilling the cookie dough for 24 to 36 hours before baking. This wait time, though agonizing for sugar fiends like myself, is all-important for letting the liquid ingredients seep into the dry ones. I’ll tell you now: that fact alone almost stopped me from making these. It was probably the only thing, in fact, because after one reads a post at Orangette, it’s hard to find reasons to do anything but leap to the kitchen and begin whistling a happy tune.

But now, having combined the ingredients with my new KitchenAid mixer and stored the dough in my refrigerator for 22 hours the first time, then 40 for the next batch, I’ll tell you this much: it’s worth it. It was worth it when I brought them to a dinner party Saturday night and saw people going for seconds, then thirds. It was worth it when the batches disappeared at home as fast as I could bake them. It was, mostly, worth it the moment I bit into a cookie’s crunchy outer rim and moved into the soft, chewy center. These aren’t just any chocolate-chip cookies. These are the ultimate chocolate-chip cookies, the only chocolate-chip cookies, the ones you have to, have to, have to try.

fresh cookies on Silpat

In terms of the recipe proper, I stuck pretty close to the original instructions, even using the cake flour and the bread flour, as the recipe says, since we had them on hand. (I’ve heard all-purpose is a reliable stand-in, if you must.) The only things I changed were:

1) The chocolate discs: Whole Foods didn’t even have the fancy discs, and there’s no way I was going to hunt for a specialty store just in the name of finding them. As Molly did in her adaptation, I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips, which are 60% cacao. On that note, I only bought one bag of chips, which is roughly 11.5 ounces, nowhere near the 20 ounces (1 1/4 pounds) the recipe requests. In my opinion, the result was plenty chocolatey, with huge chunks in every bite I tasted.

2) The brown sugar: As fate would have it, we were left with only an 1/8 cup of brown sugar in the house. Rather than reshopping, I Googled substitutes and made my own mix of white sugar and molasses.

3) The sea salt: We didn’t have sea salt on hand, and I wasn’t intrigued enough to buy a package. We did, however, have coarse kosher salt, and I figured that’d do the trick just as well. (However, I’ll admit I’ve now read enough online about sea salt to think it worth testing out in not just this, but many foods.)





Chocolate-Chip Cookies
Adapted from The New York Times, David Leite and Jacques Torres; and Orangette, Molly Wizenberg

Ingredients:
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 ½ ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 ½ ounces) bread flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt, such as kosher
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar (alternate option: granulated sugar + molasses)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content
Coarse salt for sprinkling

Directions:
Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a 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 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.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat (I love my Silpat!). Set aside.

Scoop 6 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 coarse 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.

Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Nealy

    Oh my goodness! You are going to have me in the kitchen for days. I must try these one day. Yesterday, I spent quite some time in the kitchen. I cleaned out my freezer, poured out old wheat flour (I know it’s healthier, but it made everything really gritty), cleaned a few cabinets, made a new marinate for chicken (I’ll have to let you know how it comes out), tried a new makeshift recipe (ground turkey stroganoff), cut up some watermelon, and made my favorite blueberry muffins (I’ll have to share the recipe I got from foodtv.com). And now I want to bake chocolate-chip cookies, but, alas, I must get ready for work!

  2. rachel

    woo! what a long recipe!
    sounds so wonderful… Im just imagining what the health inspector would say about uncooked food in the fridge for so long. we have to give up certain things as foster parents. Ill have to try this out real soooon!! before the health inspection! hah

    that first photo looks SO LOVELY and yummy. mmm…..

    You are such an awesome writer. I always enjoy your posts.

    love you.

  3. Shannalee

    Thanks, guys!

    Nealy, being in the kitchen is a great place to be, particularly if you want the comfort of familiarity and the excitement of new discoveries. I could easily spend all my free time there! And do let me know how your experiments go—I just tried two new marinades last night, and one was great; one a flop.

    Rae, oh, is that really a health hazard? Eek! I guess I was thinking if you cover it with the plastic wrap, it’s OK? Oh, NY Times, what are you doing to us? Yes, try them while you can, though. Oh my gosh, delish. And thanks for the compliments on the photo (I’m learning—wish you were here to help!) and on the writing. You’re a doll. Love ya back.

  4. amy

    oh, i really LOVED making these cookies – and i agree that they are better the longer you wait, but seriously? thought the whole waiting thing? yeah, not so much!

  5. John

    Rachel, No health inspector will get after you for having cookie dough in the fridge, it and many other dishes require refrigeration prior to cooking, if you doubt me go to any restaurant and ask them,

    almost every restaurant stores prepared parts of meals in the fridge and then cooks up on request.

    think about it? were else would you store a steak while its marinating? or what about defrosting a turkey in your fridge ( the proper way to do it ), or for that matter defrosting any meat ( all should be done in your fridge ) all of this is uncooked food in your fridge

    I mean what about eggs? aren’t they uncooked food? I think that it is impossible to both cook food at home and not store “uncooked food” in your fridge

  6. Joan

    And don’t forget that Pillsbury dough is refrigerated for who knows how long.

    I’ve made these cookies a few times, and they rock.

    The dough is not any stiffer than regular chocolate chip cookie dough.

  7. Hillary

    I was planning on making these last night and then realized I was missing tons of the ingredients. I don’t have cake or bread flour in the house, we were out of brown sugar and sea salt so I wound up not making them. Buying all those ingredients sounds too expensive but I’m dying to give these a try. Think it’s worth it?

  8. Shannalee

    Hillary, Yes, yes, yes! Even if you have to substitute a few things, I’d say it’s worth it. (Or, I guess now that it’s tomorrow, so to speak, you could grab them.)

    I’d do without the sea salt and just use kosher if you have it; do use some version of coarse salt, though, as it gives the cookies a great bite and contrast of flavors.

    The cake/bread flours may not be necessary. Molly of Orangette just used all-purpose and said the results were fantastic.

    Whatever the case, TRY THEM! You won’t regret it!

  9. PaniniKathy

    I’m finally going to have to once and for all make these NY Times cookies! I know I’d love them, given the ingredients and technique. I did actually come across some chocolate discs recently, but they were $22/lb!! Yeah, I think Ghirardelli will have to work for me too :-)

  10. Nicole

    Oh you must must must try sea salt, once you do you wont go back… compared to sea salt, table salt tastes metallic and stale and one dimensional. Sea salt tastes so much better that you can use less of it and get better flavor, and its very easy to find, most grocery stores carry lots of different kinds of sea salts. Dorie Greenspan makes a chocolate cookie called world peace cookies that calls for fluer de sal and wowwww, table salt would destroy this unbelievably delicious chocolate creation. The sea salt sort makes the flavors of the chocolate bloom in your mouth. Its remarkable really. The cookies look sooooo good.

  11. Pingback: Cookies on the Way! | food loves writing

  12. Pingback: To Make You Happy | Iced Lemon Cookies | food loves writing

  13. Pingback: Kitchen Mixer Buying Guide | food loves writing

  14. Pingback: deconstruction of a cookie « _mphatic!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *