Thursday, November 20, 2008

the chocolate chip cookie.

The search ends here.
This is my favorite kind of post: when a beloved food has been perfected and I get to share it with you. The chocolate chip cookie, for all its simplicity, is a difficult one to nail. I would venture to say the chocolate chip cookie is probably featured in more bad recipes than any other food. But here we have an amazing cookie: crunchy around the outside, chewy in the middle, with a crisp crust whether you eat it out of the oven or two days later. There are subtle hints of toffee; the chocolate is not an intrusive chip but a layer of cocoa heaven.
Now, disclosure here, the day that I can perfect something to this level will be the day that I am too famous and busy and wonderful to have anything to do with a little old blog. This recipe is courtesy of the New York Times. You can read the several-thousand word article about the journey to this recipe on their website. I followed it to a t, and some hints for you are: splurge on the specified chocolate (find it at whole foods), let the dough rest for the full amount of time!, and make sure the ingredients are at room temp. But enough-- here it is:

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

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)

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. 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.

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