Wednesday, January 26, 2011
New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
I think to ever claim that you are a baker or cookie lover you must try New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies. I had always wanted to try them but just never had gotten around to it. Then a little over 2 weeks ago one of my best friends Bethany and her family came to visit. Her husband Justin is a great cook, and he was telling us about how these were the best chocolate chip cookies he and Bethany had ever had. And so they made them for us to sample. I loved them and knew that these would be made again and very soon.
If you haven't heard about New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies then you are in for a treat. The New York Times did an article titled "Perfection? Hint: It’s Warm and Has a Secret" where they went on a quest for the best chocolate chip cookie. What they found was perfection.
It all started 80 years ago with Ruth Graves Wakefield who placed a Nestle Semi-sweet chocolate bar into her Butter Drop Do cookies. They were a hit and the chocolate chip cookie was created and began an American love affair that has never died and is still going strong.
NYT wanted to know even with all the variations on the classic chocolate chip cookie, has anybody topped Mrs. Wakefields chocolate chip cookies? They began by visiting some of the best cookie bakeries in NYC to find out their secrets. They consulted with several bakers and authors, one being Dorrie Greenspan whom I have her cookbook and want to be like someday. After their quest was complete, this is what they learned.....
1) Chill, chilling the dough for 36 hours allows a longer hydration time which is important because eggs, unlike, water, are gelatinous and slow-moving and the butter coats the flour preventing the absorption and letting the dough rest in the refrigerator allows for the egg to slowly penetrate that butter wall and absorb into the flour.
2) Size, it is all about the size of the cookie. Mr. Rubin of City Bakery says his cookies are "six-inch affairs" because in his opinion their larger size allows for three distinct textures. “First there’s the crunchy outside inch or so, then there’s the center, which is soft, but the real magic, is the one-and-a-half-inch ring between them where the two textures and all the flavors mix."
3)Chocolate, good chocolate, using only chocolate with at least 60 percent cacao content and lots of it can make a good cookie, a great cookie.
4) Salt, insight offered by Dorrie Greenspan who has written several baking cookbooks and has been a food editor of Gourmet magazine. She says “You can’t underestimate the importance of salt in sweet baked goods,” and says by just adding salt to dough and to the top of baked goods you can turn an average into a cookie great. Sea salt is an essential ingredient in any bakers pantry to give that sweetness, a contrast of flavors.
5) Warmth...temperature of a cookie. Even an average cookie is so much better when warm. A warm cookie makes you feel like it is homemade and there is no better comfort food then a chocolate chip cookie. That is why many bakeries have warming trays, so that people can get that just out of the oven taste.
New York Times Chocolate Chip 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 (see note)
Start off by preheating oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer (my good ol' Kitchen Aid) 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.
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. 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.
Makes 16 5-inch cookies
Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.
These cookies are delicious. They are big, crunchy on the outside and soft in the center and the sea salt sends these over the top. This cookie you may have to wait for 36 hours for but the wait is well worth it.
Adapted from Jacques Torres, recipe from the NY Times