Sassy Radish

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Jacques Torres via David Leite for the New York Times

To find the perfect chocolate chip cookie, David Leite set on a quest eating cookies far and wide, experimenting with doughs, flours, interviewing such cookie experts as Jacques Torres (who knows a thing or two about chocolate). And in the end, he arrived at this recipe with Mr. Chocolate’s help. I will, forever, be indebted to him, as I am sure many bakers are across the country and even the world.

Ingredients:
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 [Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods; I prefer the E. Guittard chocolate couverture wafers as they are thin, perfectly circular and melt in a lovely thin layer, thus giving you a layer of chocolate with every bite]
Sea salt

Preparation:

1. In a bowl, sift the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. [If using kosher salt, note that it'll get stuck in the sifter during the sifting process. In this case, add it post sift and whisk lightly to combine.]

2. In a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream your butter and both of the sugars until very light – this can take about 5 minutes or so. You want to make sure the mixture lightens substantially. Add eggs, one by one, making sure to incorporate each egg after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.

3. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add the dry ingredients in several parts until just combined. This will take between 5 and 10 seconds. The reason you want to not overmix is you don’t want to overwork the glutens as this will result in a tougher cookie. At the same time, you don’t want to just dump all the dry ingredients in as this will result in an unholy mess of white powder covering the entirety of your kitchen. Translation: Be ye not as stupid as me.

4. Anyhow, once your flour mixture is incorporated, drop in the chocolate bits and incorporate them in. Be careful not to break the pieces – this might be a wee bit tricky as the cookie dough is a bit thick and thus elbow grease, or mixer might will need to be applied.

5. Once the chocolate bits are incorporated, get out your plastic wrap and press against the dough to seal it off from the elements. Refrigerate for 24-36 hours, the longer the better. You can use the dough in batches and keep refrigerated for up to 72 hours (if it lasts that long!).

6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

7. Using a large cookie scoop, spoon 6 3 1/2 oz mound s of dough (they should look like large’ish golf balls) onto your baking sheet, taking care to have all chocolate pieces horizontally positioned (this will yield a prettier cookie). Sprinkle with fleur de sel (lightly!) and bake until golden grown, but still soft, 18-20 minutes.

8. Transfer to a cooling rack for 10 minutes and then slip cookies onto another rack to cool further.

9. Repeat with remaining dough.

10. Eat cookies warm, with cold glass of milk and a big napkin.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Notes: please don’t use salted butter, and if you can, get cultured butter for the process, as it will make all the difference. The higher the fat content in your butter, the better your cookies will be. Fat = good cookie. Salted butter contains more water and thus a bit less fat (hence my urging for unsalted).


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