Thursday, November 11, 2010

"The PERFECT Chocolate Chip Cookies"

One caveat: you have to wait!
If they're going to be "perfect" you have to make the dough and then wait 36 hours before baking it.
Sorry... but hopefully you'll find it's worth the wait. It doesn't happen to be one of those "last minute quick throw together and bake because I need instant satisfaction" recipes.
It's more of a plan-ahead chocolate chip cookie.

Luckily, I didn't have to post any personalized love notes/hate mail on the bowl of cookie dough that spent time in the fridge. It's sort of a dangerous thing since I think some people seem to harbor the belief that the five finger discount may be applied at any time to something like this. The idea is that cookie dough in the fridge = fair game.

But no, no it's not.

This time, a simple "Wednesday AM" written on the plastic wrap seemed to be sufficient.

While resting, the cookie dough soaks up the liquid, the dough dries out, and the flavors develop.
The cookies will be more caramel-y and toffee-flavored.
The other really great thing is the contrast of flavor and texture with the coarse salt sprinkled on top just before baking- like with a chocolate-covered, salted caramel.

If you're a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur, you might find this New York Times article interesting.

The original is based on a Jacques Torres recipe (he's a French pastry chef who specializes in chocolate).

I made a few changes! My apologies, Jacques. I suppose we could say it was out of sheer laziness. I really didn't want to get in the car and go to the store. I wasn't quite that bored (and it's amazing how much driving loses it's sheen as you age... even after only a couple years).
I wasn't willing to use two kinds of flour, I changed the measurement a little, I decided I had enough chocolate chips available to me at the time for the purpose of this recipe.

However, I do think a GOOD chocolate is important, so it's a good thing to have around for those times when you have a cookie making emergency. Jacques prefers the disks for the amount of chocolate, surface area, and final cookie and melted chocolate texture, but I won't make you go out to buy those.

However, you can sort of justify it mentally by telling yourself you won't be eating ALL of those cookies. And besides, how often are you really going to make them since you have to wait a forever long time before you get to the finished product? It's ok. Right?

As large as they are, I made my cookies smaller than the "original" recipe says to make them. Mine turned out to be about 4 inches in diameter, which is big enough. Plus, 24 cookies vs. 16? The recipe will go a little further this way.

One of the keys to a crispy outside and a chewy inside is to bake the cookies until golden brown in spots, but it may look a little pale and possibly raw in some of the cracks between the crags that form. It's ok, you definitely want this! They continue to cook and firm up a bit as they cool.

The salt sprinkled on the cookies before they're baked is a nice surprise, and it contrasts nicely with the caramelly/toffee flavor of the cookies. I had a friend when I was in high school who would sprinkle crushed pretzels over her ice cream- it sounded strange to me, but it was actually really good. Same goes for caramels with salt sprinkled on top... it can seem a little strange if you've never had them, but it's a good combination.

The salt is also kind of pretty- it adds a little crystalline sparkle.

So maybe they're not really perfect since cookies, like so many other things, are subject to a little thing known as personal opinion. They're pretty good though!
They're probably more appreciated by adults than kids, and better for people who like to temper their sweet with a little savory.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 2 dozen 4-inch cookies

Adapted from Jacques Torres

3 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (such as kosher)
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 c lightly packed light brown sugar
1 c plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips, disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (if possible)

Sea salt or kosher salt, for sprinkling

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
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, stirring by hand, without breaking them. Transfer the dough to another bowl, press plastic wrap directly against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

*Before baking the cookies, it will be easier to deal with the cold dough if you leave the bowl out at room temperature for about 30 minutes. You still want the dough to be cool before baking though!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
Scoop mounds of dough onto baking sheet with an ice cream scoop (about 1/4 c of dough, or 4 oz. if you have a scale), 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 or kosher salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheet front to back halfway through. Transfer the sheet with the cookies to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies on the parchment paper 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.


  1. I will have to try this recipe! This is my favorite type of cookie. I have a horrible experience with my chocolate chip cookies cooling and becoming as hard as rocks even thought the recipe was titled "Soft and Chewy Ch. Chip Cookies" It's a very deceiving title...don't you think?


  2. Just what I was looking for! I thought I would go to your last chocolate cookie recipe, but this greeted me as I opened your site. Thanks Natalie! I cannot wait to try them!

  3. I'm sorry, but 36 hours? Are you kidding me? :)

    For one who makes a batch of chocolate chip cookies JUST so I can eat the batter, this batter wouldn't make it in my fridge through the first 2 hours- even though it might be perfect...

  4. Can't wait to try these! Thanks,

  5. Tried them ---they are great!

  6. I can't believe there are EVER new CCCookie recipes!

    How about NUTS?