Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday, July 21, 2008

A week or two ago, the New York Times ran a story about the perfect chocolate chip cookie. It was called "Perfection? Hint: It's Warm and has a Secret"- and there was even a show on NPR that did a piece on it, called "How to Bake a Better Chocolate Chip Cookie". It turns out that people have gotten together and figured out that there are really two main things that make the ultimate CCC.

One is that the dough needs to rest up to 36 hours.

The other is that cookies need sea salt sprinkled on them just before baking.

Wellllll...I'm not big into chocolate. I mean, every now and then I will have a craving for a Hershey bar, but for the most part, that's about it. Av on the other hand *loves* chocolate and of course chocolate chip cookies. Since the weekend was coming up, I thought I would pet him and try out the experiment in the article - is there really a difference in cookies right after they're mixed, 12 hours after they're mixed (and refrigerated), 24 hours, and 36 hours?

Guess what? There is! A big difference!

I made four cookies each time they were baked. I didn't know for certain how many cookies my batch would make, and I wanted to make sure we had plenty for the last test. It turns out that we had plenty of cookie batter left so we froze the rest.

These were the best CCCs I have ever made. Ever. Ever-ever.

Okay, first here's the recipe. Now the recipe in the NYT was Jacque Torres' recipe, and I think it's the same as the one on the Martha site from him, here. Mine is just something I've made for a long time, it's probably based on three or four different ones. The original Toll House recipe is here. If you have your own favorite recipe, use that one and just do the two 'tricks' in the article - let the dough set in the refrigerator, and use sea salt on top before baking.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (regular salt)
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 bag (about 12 oz) milk chocolate chips
sea salt for sprinkling on unbaked cookies

Oven temperature for these is 325*. Bake them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

In one bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and regular/table salt.

In the Kitchenaid, combine the cooled butter and brown and white sugar until fluffy -very thoroughly blended. Next, add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla:

Once that is incorporated, add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Don't overmix but get it well blended:

(new trick:) Let the dough rest in the refrigerator. Actually I like the cookie at 12 hours resting time best but Av thought they were better at 24 and best at 36 hours. Either way, they were fantastic. The more time the dough has been resting, the drier consistency it gets:

Roll them into a ball shape, give them plenty of room, and (other new trick:) sprinkle the dough with sea salt.

Bake about 16-18 minutes, although I start peeking at 12. If you take them out when they look slightly underdone, they're best because they continue to cook just a bit once they're out of the oven.

You can't tell too much from this pic, but here they are at the four stages: 0 hours rest, 12, 24, and 36.


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