Make these chocolate chip cookies. Done. Improved. Rejoice!
You guys. You know I don’t love using the words “The Best” or “Perfect” in post titles. Because, truly, who am I to say that something is the best? I’ve probably not ever had every version of something, nor are my taste buds superior to anyone else’s. Furthermore, everyone’s idea of “the best” varies from one to the next: maybe this person likes a certain thing this way, where another likes it that way. Who knows. I’m not the foremost authority on anything; however, I am fairly well-versed in one thing.
Specifically magnificence in relation to the chocolate chip cookie, something I’ve *ahem* researched extensively for over 35-ish years now. I’m something of an expert in the field. I’ve seen it all: the nut-flecked (of which walnut is my favorite), “stuffed” chocolate chip cookies (just…no. I’ve never fully understood Turduckenizing everything), and the often-disappointing double chocolate chip cookie (which I still contend is not a chocolate chip cookie at all, but rather a chocolate cookie with chips inside it, which should disqualify it from this conversation.) I’m a purist: just because something is a cookie and contains pieces of chocolate does not make it a chocolate chip cookie. So when i say the phrase “chocolate chip cookie,” I’m talking about the ultimate in childhood classics: that one lumpy, bumpy, tan cookie filled with mostly unfancy chocolate chips, a combination of brown and white sugars, and a hefty dose of American butter.
And I have eaten regular chocolate chip cookies probably 6 million times in my life, so i know excellence when I come across it. And this is excellence. What’s more is there’s no measuring out eggs in teaspoons, no super-fancy chocolate in two sizes, none of that. The difference? It’s all in the flour. Two flours, to be exact: some magical, sorcerous combination of bread and cake flours combine to make chocolate chip cookies the way they should always be. My appreciation for different types of flour has grown significantly in the past few years, but I never considered what changing up the flour in cookies could do until now. It is truly something to behold.
So let’s talk about this recipe; more specifically, what makes it rise above the crowd. Because that’s a cooled cookie you’re looking at, and it’s remarkably poofy. How does it happen?
- Remarkably dry dough – which you’d think would only spell trouble for a cookie you want to be soft and delicious, but not here: the immense amount of chocolate in these keeps the dough extra tender inside. In fact, I think the original recipe calls for too much chocolate: I mean, really…a pound and a fourth? that’s 20 ounces of chocolate in a normal-size cookie batch. I topped out at 14 ounces because by the looks of the dough, much more and the cookies look like they would be too clumped with rivers of chocolate to even hold together. Mixing them was rough, too (dry dough + big chips = slow-go incorporation) and i didn’t want to overmix. Feel free to add more, but I would stay in the 14 to 16-ounce range.
- Burnished, perfectly-formed tops – these are the cookies photo dreams are made of. You know how when you make chocolate chip cookies normally, there’s the photo of them just out of the oven, all puffy and delicious, and then there’s the photo 30 minutes later, sunken in and cooled? Right; these don’t have that. I can only attribute this to the combination of cake and bread flour, but the cookies puff and form a caramel-flavored cookie crust over the entire top of the cookie that not only preserves all the softness inside, but also acts as a sort of cookie tent which remains aloft even after your cookies are cooled. So your cookies will look fresh-baked for all eternity (or as long as it takes you to eat them.)
- Did I mention the insides? – I did, but forgive me while I continue on about that. I like a soft cookie, so don’t be alarmed when I extol the virtues of a crusty top. Make no mistake, these are the softest cookies ever, because that gorgeously caramely exterior actually protects and almost “steams” the insides, if you will. So you’re getting the softest cookie out there, but instead of just that outer ring of crunch and the inner circle of chewy, you’re getting both in each and every bite. It’s every bit as good as it sounds.
I’m going to warn you: you’ll make yourself ill on these cookies. By now, I’m used to having a wide variety of baked goods, lunches, breakfasts, and whatever else in my kitchen, all at once. No big deal. When I made these, i thought: it’s just a cookie, right? I’m cool. So as it happens, we had a little family get-together the evening i made these: basically a kids/adults pizza party, 6 adults, 2 kids. So i took these over because even I don’t need 24 giant chocolate cookies in my house. Everyone saw them and said “oh. chocolate chip cookies. nice.” and then later, dug into them. I had already had one, so I knew what was going to happen: I watched as everyone unsuspectingly took a bite of cookie, stopped dead in their tracks, and wondered: What was I in the middle of saying? Who was I even talking to? WHAT IS THIS AMAZING CHOCOLATE-BEDAZZLED COOKIE SPHERE I AM EATING AND WHERE CAN I FIND MORE!?!?! WHERE AM I?!?!?
So. If you want that reaction from your chocolate chip cookies, may I humbly suggest you make these. No pressure though.
Obviously, I’ve been on a little bit of an obsessive chocolate chip cookie-testing binge-a-thon. I think to bring my testing full-circle, I’m going to experiment with cake and bread flours in my own chocolate chip cookies and gauge the results. I’ll report back soon.
In the meantime…
Barely adapted from the New York times recipe for these cookies, which are wonderful, and I can’t keep in the house safely. They are as much a danger to me as I am to them.
The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour (Swan’s Down rules!)
- 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour (I use King Arthur bread flour)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 14 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate (I use Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chips)
- Sea salt for sprinkling over (optional)
Make those cookies:
whisk cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until very light, 5-7 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, adding the vanilla in with the final egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients in two parts, stirring each addition on low until just combined, 30-40 seconds total. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl again, taking your spatula all the way to the bottom to incorporate any dry patches (this is a dry dough, so a few dry patches are inevitable.) add chocolate chips and fold them gently into the dough, working slowly and being careful not to break them up too much. I’m not going to lie, this part will take a few minutes, but you really want to make sure you get the chips evenly distributed at this point. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap (or remove to a covered storage container) and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Serious: it will be worth it.
Bake those cookies:
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a sturdy 2-ounce ice cream scoop,* scoop out the dough and press it firmly into the scoop, then eject it onto the baking sheet, 6 per sheet, 3 inches apart. Place the remaining dough back in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (totally optional, but I enjoy it) and bake for 16-18 minutes until puffed and a light, burnished golden brown; when you take them out, their cracks should reveal dough which looks soft and pliable. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so on the sheet pan. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely (lying: just let them cool enough to not burn yourself on them). Repeat with remaining dough.
*it is not the end of the world if you don’t have a 2-ounce ice cream scoop. Just use a regular ice cream scoop, as it’s bound to be pretty close in size to mine, and shape the dough into round balls. I would encourage you to – at some point – invest in a good ice cream scoop, however. Just saying.