CHOCOLATE CHIP/CHUNK COOKIE

by Shumaila

Two years back The New York Times came out with an article that was titled: “Perfection: Hint? It’s warm and has a secret”. A year back I read it and life, since then, has never been the same!

The article is an interesting read talking about the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I don’t know how I stumbled upon it, but have made these cookies quite many times since then and it is definitely the best chocolate chip recipe I have tried yet!

Fresh out of the oven they are just melt-in-your mouth- good. Believe me, they are best warm. I made them first thing in the morning today, because the 36 hour chilling rule to achieve the three texture goal (crunchy on the outside, soft on inside and a mix of both in between) got over at 4 am today. Wish I had got up an hour earlier so that V could have had them freshly baked. But, I got lazy!

They are so good fresh out of the oven that I actually called V up and told him to come back home immediately. He got really worried, asking what happened – is everything OK?And I was like- You HAVE to eat these warm! (Unfortunately, you can’t leave work to eat a freshly baked batch of cookies- life just doesn’t work that ways! Sigh!)

Not that they don’t taste that great afterwards, but freshly baked- well, even a bad cookie tastes great just out of the oven- so these, which are pretty pretty good, just taste freakingly awesome!

Of all the times I have baked this dough recipe, this time had, by far, the best results. It could be because of the unsalted butter- a regular find here, but quite a rarity in India. All manufactured butters are salted, the unsalted kinds are imported and yes, very expensive. It could also be the experience- each time I make them, I learn something new. Next time I am going to add a little cream of tartar. I read somewhere, it gives that cracked look to the cookie (it does nothing to the taste, though) and I would like to see that look more prominent in my cookies.

Jacques Torres makes only 18 cookies out of the whole dough- so they are pretty huge. His are 6-inch affairs. And even though I would love to do that, it just meant having more calories at one go, which, for a person like me is a strict no-no. So I made mine 3 inches wide (yes, they are still big – big enough to enjoy the different textures, but not as harsh on your waistline as the 6 inch ones.)

I used chips instead of chunks, even though I prefer chunks. But since the baking chocolate I had was 54 % cacao content and Torres claims that it should be at least 60 %, if not more, I had to use the 60 % cacao content chips I had.

I added toasted walnuts too. I like mine with nuts. But, since many do not like nuts in their chocolate chip cookies I learnt a trick I saw on Deb’s Smitten Kitchen website. She finely chops her nuts- some the size of peas but many more like powder. That ways you get the toasty flavor and an occasional nut in your cookie, but nothing that overpowers the chocolate in the cookie. A great trick which I am keeping!

I also did not have cake flour. I can never find it at the shops I generally visit. So, instead I used all-purpose flour with a little corn starch. (Substitution rule: for 2 cups cake flour, mix 1 3/4 cups all-purpose with 1/4 cup corn starch.)

But, in spite of all the substitutions, these cookies were just perfect- chewy, gooey, crunchy, caramelly- a bunch of flavors and textures packed together in one cookie! And the salt on top (at a loss of a better play of words), is like icing on a cake! Enjoy it slightly heated in the microwave (about 15 seconds) with a cold glass of milk, coffee or just by its own- it will always taste good!


CHOCOLATE CHIP/CHUNK COOKIE

from The New York Times

INGREDIENTS

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

1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped

Sea salt.

DIRECTIONS

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- this will result in a 6-inch cookie- you can make smaller sized balls, like I did) 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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