Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Best Cookie Ever?

Big chocolate-chip cookies, small chocolate-chip cookies, giant chocolate-chip cookies stuffed with brownie. I certainly have a type. But, after a trip to Jacques Torres Chocolate in New York over Fall break, I am done with chocolate chips. Have I fallen out of love with chocolate? Of course not. Do I now think that chocolate and baked goods do not belong together? Preposterous. What then?

I have discovered something better. Some call them chocolate féves. Some call them chocolate discs. I call them “perfection.” I cannot fathom going back to regular chocolate chips. Nothing will ever be the same for me again. Chocolate feves even inspired me to melt down and shape my own chocolate for use in baking things like banana bread. However, I will delve into that subject another week. For now, let me share with you the recipe for a cookie I bought at Jacques Torres Chocolate that uses chocolate discs to amazing effect.

If you love chocolate this will absolutely be the best version of the classic chocolate-chip cookie that you ever make. It is perfectly crispy on the outside, chocolatey-chewy on the inside and has a slight hint of toffee. It truly is incredible. I do not usually write about recipes like this (these cookies are not especially crazy decadent except for their size), but I had four midterms this week and this cookie dough was already in my freezer, all ready to go. So without further ado, here is the recipe with a few of my notes in italics: (Note: All pictures here are from the internet; my camera is having problems).

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(From the New York Times)
Adapted from Jacques Torres

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

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 (see note, linked is the bag that I have)
Sea salt

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. 36 hour fridge cookies are noticeably better than 24 hour fridge cookies (and, of course, much, much better than cookies where the dough has not been refrigerated).
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) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. The cookies spread out quite a bit, be extremely careful when spacing them or the sought-after crispy outside/gooey inside will be ruined! When in doubt, just put in fewer cookies at a time, baking time remains the same regardless of how many cookies are on a baking sheet.
Cookies can be taken out when their edges are golden yet their centers are still pale. If you are unsure, remember that it is better to underbake than to overbake (it just makes the cookies all gooey and no crunch!).
Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Do not skip this step. 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.

Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.

One more note:

-1.2 oz cookies can be made as well. I only made one of these when there wasn't enough cookie dough for the larger cookies, but I really prefer them. In my opinion, the best part of these cookies is how they manage to be chewy and crispy at the same time, and the issue with the large cookies is that people often split them or just have a little bit. Only by eating the whole cookie can one fully appreciate the crispy/chewy texture. These smaller cookies allow people to do just that without the guilt that eating nearly quarter pound cookies brings (I must admit, I ate about 5 of the giant cookies over the course of the two days that I baked them a few weeks ago. Oh yes. When I am unhealthy, I go as far as possible.) These smaller cookies should be baked 12-14 minutes (a little longer than 13 was perfect for me). With these smaller cookies, the time cookies should sit outside of the oven before they are placed on the wire rack can be reduced to more like ~5 minutes.

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