happy-making

I find baking to be not only therapeutic, but also deliciously happy-making. The house smells good and nobody in their right mind turns down fresh-out-of-the-oven baked goods. A good chocolate chip cookie may be viewed to some as pedestrian, but I maintain that a good cookie is second to none. I like them chewy, gooey and with no nuts, thank you very much. I have spent years searching for that perfect recipe. My dear friend Kara shares my love for chocolate chip cookies, and six years ago she shared with me “the best cookie recipe ever” during a visit, and we set forth in the kitchen to see just how these cookies compared to the numerous other recipes we had tested over the years. The result? Simply referred to as the New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe, I haven’t found one before or since that compares.

If you want to make and eat your cookies the same day, this recipe isn’t for you. You must refrigerate the dough for a day. However, I urge you to give the recipe a try. How does that saying go about everything tasting better when you have to wait?

Another drawback is the different flours. I know, I know, I’m not selling this recipe very well. I’m telling you, though, a trip to the store to purchase cake and bread flours is worth it.

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My kitchen notes: 

I use Ghiradelli baking chips, which pack a chocolaty punch. Don’t skimp on the amount of chips if you’re like me and love a taste of chocolate in every bite.

Forming the dough into a golf ball shape is important. Resist the urge to smash that dough on the baking sheet! The cookies will be beautifully-shaped specimens if you simply roll them into a golf ball.

Don’t forget the sea salt! I love the combo of salty and sweet, and a light sprinkling of sea salt atop the golf ball shaped dough gives the cookies just the right amount of saltiness to balance with the sweetness.

This recipe makes a lot of dough, so what I do after the dough has had its time in the fridge, is divide the dough, double wrap it, and throw it in the freezer. That way, when I have a cookie craving, I easily thaw the dough and pop them in the oven.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour

1 2/3 cups 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 light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons 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 (I use Ghiradelli baking chips.)

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. 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. 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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