Chocolate Chip Cookies


Sworn by my mother to be the best in the world, taking down even the likes of my father.  This is hard to do.  Her notes are in brackets.

Adapted from Jacques Torres

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

[Can be multiplied by 1.5 in my Kitchen Aid mixer.]

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)  [or chocolate chips or chopped chocolate– =/> 60%]  [This is too much chocolate for my taste; I used 11.5 ounces and would be happy with about 8 ounces.  I used Ghiradelli 60% chips.  They were larger and flatter than typical chips and did create some of the thin layers of chocolate.  They were fine; really great chocolate would be a nice treat.]

Sea salt.  [I used Maldon salt – it was excellent.]

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. [I like smaller cookies – an ounce is fine and still has contrasting textures if baked until lightly browned – also good baked until uniformly medium brown, but more uniformly crisp.  Just weighing 8-ounce chunks of dough, then shaping it into a rough log and breaking it into 8 pieces worked well.  They bake a little faster and flatter if flattened slightly before baking, and can be patted quickly when they come out of the oven if they’re too puffy.] 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.

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.

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