September 5, 2008

chocolate chip cookie emergency? look no further

No, I didn't drop off the edge of the planet: I made a quick trip to visit my family and started my new job (which is going really great so far!). I have been adapting to my new schedule (i.e. joining all of you productive members of society in arising before 9AM) and blogging has taken a back seat. But, in a sneaky ploy to regain your attention, I'm going to have to resort to this:

I am 100% certain that posting my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is probably quite unnecessary, given that everyone should already have their favorite version memorized or at least copied in a safe place. (If you already have your own recipe, feel free to ignore me.) But. If you are making your way through life without a ridiculously good chocolate chip cookie recipe, this is just for you.

Until last year, I was one of those people who relied on Nestle Tollhouse's wan, boring, inexplicably ubiquitous cookies for my fix. Thank goodness for my sister, is all I have to say. She brought these cookies to share with Mark and me and I am not exaggerating when I say I was gobsmacked by how great they were. These were the chocolate chip cookies of my dreams, the kind you wish were cooling on a rack when you got home from school (or work) on a bad day: chewy, chubby, tons of caramelized brown sugar flavor, and kissed with enough salt that the chocolate tastes richer.

You need more good news? They are a snap to make. Using an electronic scale (hooray for baking by weight!) and our stand mixer, I can have the dough ready in 5-6 minutes. With the baking time at 18 minutes, you could be eating warm cookies with a glass of milk in less than half an hour. Seriously.

Great Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from David Lebovitz)
Yields about 20 cookies.

My main tweak to this incredible recipe is to double the salt. I also omit the nuts because they don't do anything for me.

Oh, and despite my statement that you could have cookies ready in 30 minutes, well, I have another tiny piece of advice. Wait. Based on a recent NYTimes article, we have started to let our dough rest overnight. The article advances the opinion that letting the dough rest overnight allows the flour to better absorb all the liquid and makes for better texture and flavor. We have tried this a few times and I completely agree: they are worth the wait.
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) (115 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet for extra chocolate punch, but semisweet is great too - sweeter and less intense)
  • 1 cup (130 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)

Adjust the oven rack to the top 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 300F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets.

Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

Refrigerate dough overnight, up to 36 hours, if desired. When ready to bake, remove dough from refrigerator. You may need to let it rest 10-20 minutes until it is scoopable, but avoid letting it get too warm.

Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon (5cm) balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches (10cm) apart, on each of the baking sheets.

Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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