Hide the children. Grab a bib.
There’s nobody here but us cookie monsters.
So about these consummate chocolate chip cookies . . . they are unbelievably good. They are buttery and sweet, but the sprinkling of sea salt on top also makes them enticingly — addictively — savory. Because you’re meant to shape and bake them directly from the fridge, they emerge buoyantly lumpy and thick, because who doesn’t hate cookies that flatten out and collide into a burnt, messily conceived cookie-cake? I hate it. Ahem.
But because they’re so, um, enormous (the Times advises you to size the dough to large golf-balls), there’s enough room to accommodate a crispy edge and a molten (out of the oven), soft (the next day) center. You know what else is cool? Those big chocolate chips — still not as big as the discs the recipe actually recommends, but finding Valrhona fèves in Iowa City is, mm, a smidge challenging — melt horizontally. Into layers. Layers, friends! So you have not so much a cookie interspersed with round chocolate bites, as strata of chocolate and dough atop one another. And lo, it is a beautiful, delicious delicious thing.
A small concession: these are all-out, intense, luxury, and I’d even say racy chocolate chip cookies. I do believe they will change how you think of chocolate chip cookies. You can take them to a dinner party and they will schmooze with the hosts and turn milk into ambrosia and leave the other guests whimpering why didn’t I think of that?, to the consoling tune of it’s not your fault, dear, nobody knew chocolate chip cookies could be — well — like that!
If that’s what you crave, then seek no further. If you are looking at me like What’s the concession, I always want my cookies decadent, rich, and definitely over 10,000 calories, then read no more! But I, at least, don’t always want that. The day-long rest period, the sea salt, the chocolate-butter explosion. This cookie is an occasion. It is a Cookie. And for those times when you just want a little something, an unassuming and familiar taste of chocolate chip cookie goodness, then break out the classic Toll House — and I hope you will invite me over for that, too.
Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookies
(the New York Times)
- 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 (or the biggest chips you can find), at least 60 percent cacao content
- sea salt
*Can’t find cake flour? Make your own by combining 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 2 tbsp cornstarch. Sift together twice, and measure from this.
Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
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.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
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. [NB. I made mine 3-ounces, a touch smaller, and they were perfectly cooked at 18:30 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.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies