Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe---it has a bit of a reputation. And I have been dying to try it ever since I first laid eyes on the recipe. The only thing that took me so long? Bread flour and cake flour. Due to my tiny NYC digs, I don't keep them around, and-in fact-had never even used them before! But when I received bags of King Arthur Flour organic flours to review-and 1 of them was bread flour-I knew I needed to make this happen! I already knew of a cake flour substitute-so that was no problem :) Can I tell you how excited I am that King Arthur Flour has organic varieties?? I try to go organic as much as possible, and I use flour SO MUCH-so I was beyond ecstatic. And I've been having so much fun playing around with the different varieties--but you'll hear more about those later. Moral of the story: organic flour=awesome and they all do an absolutely perfect job. And, hi, yeah, I got to make these cookies:
If you keep up with my facebook page or Something Saturdays, then you know that my old hand mixer died, making these cookies. (Still totally worth it!) Apparently this was too much for her. So, due to this fact, I wasn't exactly able to make this dough according to the exact specifications in the recipe, because it died during the creaming of butter&sugars phase. I ended up mixing most of this by hand. The good news is: the cookies still turned out amazing! So, I don't know if all the exact instructions are necessary, or if this cookie would have been even better if I had been able to follow them. All I can say is-don't freak out if something in the mixing process doesn't go exactly according to plan. Everything will probably still turn out delicious. And, on the bright side of the tragic death of "Mixy" the hand mixer, I was able to buy a brand new one! Woohoo! I think there are many more delicious cookies to come :).
 In Memorium
Mixy the Hand Mixer
2008-2012
"She died doing what she loved best...making cookies"
Anyway. Now that we've talked flour and hand mixer drama, let's get down to the nitty gritty about these cookies. What makes them special? They use bread and cake flours, for one thing. They contain delicious, good quality chocolate (hint hint). The cookies are larger (about 5 inches when baked)-providing more distinct textures within one cookie. A little sprinkling of salt on top creates the perfect marriage of sweet with a touch of salty (just enough to bring out the flavors, not enough that you feel like it's a pretzel.) And, the big one: You let the dough rest for, preferably, 48 HOURS! (I know, that is a long time to wait for cookies. Trust me, though, it makes a difference, and is totally worth it!) There's some science behind this, The New York Times article explains it best: 
"A long hydration time is important because eggs, unlike, say, water, are gelatinous and slow-moving, she said. Making matters worse, the butter coats the flour, acting, she said, “like border patrol guards,” preventing the liquid from getting through to the dry ingredients. The extra time in the fridge dispatches that problem." and, it turns out, the originator of the chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Wakefield, chilled the dough too, "At Toll House, we chill this dough overnight,” she wrote in her “Toll House Cook Book” (Little, Brown, 1953). This info is left out of the version of her recipe that NestlĂ© printed on the back of its baking bars and, since 1939, on bags of its chocolate morsels.
Um..yeah...that should not have been left out. Cookies that rest longer bake more evenly, turn a richer shade of brown, and have more complex, nuanced, flavors. I am here to tell you people: these cookies live up to the hype! They delivered everything that I was told they would. I don't have words to express it better. I love these cookies. Are the definitively the best? Matter of opinion. They are definitely SOME of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. Michael prefers the browned butter ones I make (ironic since the boy is never entirely sure what "that flavor" is, lol). I think that's OK. I don't want to, or need to, choose. I can have more than one favorite cookie. So can you. But I definitely recommend this become one of your new favorites. Because...you just do. You'll thank me, I promise.


The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Adapted slightly from The New York Times/Jacques Torres (and countless bloggers whom have used the recipe)

Makes about 18  five in. cookies
*Note chill time of 48 HOURS.*
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups minus 2 tbsp. (8.5 oz.) cake flour (or cake flour substitute)
  • 1 2/3 cups (8.5 oz.) bread flour (I LOVE King Arthur Organic Bread Flour)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt (such as kosher salt)
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed (10 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 lbs. bittersweet/dark chocolate (I used a combination of Ghirardelli 60% and Hershey's dark chocolate chips)
  • Sea salt (or kosher salt) for sprinkling
Preparation:
  • Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl (preferably of a stand mixer) cream butter and sugars together (using paddle attachment) until very light, about 5 minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure they are fully incorporated before adding the next.
  • Mix in the vanilla.
  • On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, only 5-10 seconds.(I had to get in there and knead with my hands since I was mixer-less.)
  • Gently incorporate the chocolate into the dough.
  • Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate 48 hours (at least 24, can be up to 72 hours). Dough can be used in batches, if desired.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper/silpat.
  • Scoop 3.5 oz dough balls (LARGE golf ball size) onto baking sheet, making sure to leave ample room between (should be able to fit 5-6 on each sheet, depending on the size). Sprinkle each dough ball lightly with sea or kosher salt.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes (varies depending on oven) until golden brown but still soft.
  • Transfer sheet to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes, then move cookies onto the rack or other surface to continue to cool.
  • Repeat, as needed, and in as many batches as desired, until all the dough is used.
  • Eat warm and make sure you have a napkin near (for crumbs, melted chocolate, and the drool that will inevitably accumulate due to the overwhelming deliciousness)!
I dare you to tell me these are not some of the prettiest chocolate chip cookies you've ever seen.
You can't.
I'm gonna go eat 7 now, if you'll excuse me.

Disclaimer: I received bags of King Arthur Flour's organic flours to sample. I was under no obligation to review or write a positive review if I so chose. I did not receive any further compensation for this, or future, post(s). My opinions are always my own.
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