Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Famous New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

My sister Jane headed off to college as a freshman last month to study Spanish and Marketing. Before her departure, she went on a bit of a "farewell tour" and came to spend a few days with me and the kids. I was so grateful for her visit because Paul was out of town on business and it was just going to be all by myself for the week and usually when that happens I lose my mind from the lack of adult conversation. There are only so many questions about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that a Mom can field in a day. At any rate, we enjoyed a fun week visiting with Jane and completely exhausting her before she began a new chapter in her life.

Jane loves to cook and is an aspiring baker so she arrived with a whole list of things she wanted to make with me. I had my work cut out for me! Unfortunately for Jane, I got sick while she was here and she was an absolute Godsend to me. She helped with the kids, allowed me to rest, and even cleaned my bathrooms, which is not a fun task considering how often my little boy tends to "miss the mark" when using the toilet. How great of a sister IS she!?

One of the recipes Jane wanted to make during our time together was the recipe for chocolate chip cookies that the New York Times hailed as absolute perfection. I had seen this recipe made and shared many, many times on various cooking blogs throughout the years and they had always garnered rave reviews. However, I had never really had the impetus to make them since I was perfectly happy with my current favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Jane was curious to find out if the recipe was worth the extra steps, ingredients, and general fussiness. She already has a pretty amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe in her arsenal and was curious if these few extra steps would really make a big difference in the quality of the final product. She found it amusing that a lot of the comments on the recipe complained that the method was overly complicating what should be quite an easy little treat to prepare. For example, the recipe requires an equal weight of two flours, both bread and cake. Jane's question was why not use all-purpose flour with a gluten content in between that of cake and bread flour? Her point was valid, but I told her to proceed with the recipe as written first. Jane was also shocked by the amount of chocolate called for in the recipe - over double of that called for in her go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. I did not find this troublesome at all since I'm of the mindset that you can never have too much chocolate, especially dark chocolate in this case.

Jane made the cookies almost entirely by herself while I lazed on the couch and complained about nausea. I did have to go rescue her at some points because she was being outsmarted by my stand mixer. It can be a bit finicky at times, but not for the reasons she was complaining about (how to remove the bowl from the base). But soon enough, the dough was made and the children were excited to ball it up and stick it in the oven. To their chagrin, Jane had to break the news that it required a 24 hour refrigeration period before the cookies could be baked. Matthew declared that any cookie recipe that made him wait that long to eat was "a bad recipe." He's a born cynic.

About 24 hours later, Jane sent Paul and me out on a date and baked the cookies while we were gone. When we arrive, we were greeted with the glorious smells of butter and chocolate and a mountain of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I asked Jane if she had tried one and if so how did she think they turned out. She confessed that she had and was completely underwhelmed by them. I was disappointed for her and then decided to try one for myself. After one bite, I determined that Jane has no taste buds. Those cookies were magnificent. Magnificent, I tell you. Crispy on the outside, chewy and soft in the middle, loaded with chocolate flavor, and finished with just a hint of salt, I was in love immediately. I found them to be a much more sophisticated tasting chocolate chip cookies - there was more depth of flavor, aided in no small part by all that dark chocolate. Paul was in complete agreement with me. These are the cookies of which dreams are made.

The more Jane ate her creations, the more she liked them. By the next day, she thought they tasted even better. When it was time to go home, she asked if she could take some back with her. They didn't even survive the trip back.

Thank you, Jane, for suggesting that we make this recipe! I absolutely loved them and the rest of you will too. Especially all melty in the sun while picnicking in the park. Heavenly!

The Famous New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
from the New York Times

Note: Weighing the ingredients is a must of this recipe.

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8½ ounces) cake flour
1 & 2/3 cups (8½ ounces) bread flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1¼ cups (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 & 1/3 cups (20 ounces) dark chocolate chips, at least 60% cacao content
Sea salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Sift together the cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until very light, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.

Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, up to 72 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Scoop 3 1/2-ounces of dough, roll into a rough ball (it should be the size of a large golf ball) and place on the baking sheet. Repeat until you have six mounds of dough on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the parchment or silicone sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto another cooling rack to cool a bit more, until just warm or at room temperature. Repeat with remaining dough (or keep some of the dough refrigerated for up to 3 days, and bake cookies at a later time). Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

1 comment:

  1. You have a wonderful sister! Having just recently learnt to appreciate chewy cookies, I am excited to try this one. I reckon your sis was not crazy about the cookies at first because (from my experience) the person who does the baking/cooking seems to lose her tastebuds until later in the day. After a cooling off period, the food does taste nice as it should :)