While I couldn’t be in London to help represent my red, white, and blue this week, I still managed to have a few days jam-packed with some USA classics: a baseball game, $8 Miller Lites, tailgating, chocolate chip cookies, and happy hour at a really tacky Mexican restaurant [nothing says American like downing a frozen swirl with a neon pink, sombrero-wearing flamingo straw].
Thanks, Chris, for tuning Pandora to hip-hop reggae and letting Raishay practice The Sprinkler and The Shopping Cart [Carol, Raishay, Me, Shana, Victoria, Denny, and Chris]
Uncle Julio’s never knew what hit ‘em [Salwa, Shana, me, Ebonee, and Shaunique]
Snooty bitch faces part 2 [see part one here]
Now, I know it doesn’t sound super patriotic to say that the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had in my 28 years comes from a Frenchman…but you know what? When it comes automatic cars, yes, the French are lacking. But when it comes to food, it’s best to just step aside.
Everyone has their favorite kind of chocolate chip cookie-some like it crisp and buttery, some cakey and dense, and some people, like me, crave an almost candy-crisp thin shell that has a tender and somewhat-chewy center. I also like the chocolate chunks to be large and soft when you bite into them, not hard little nuggets sprinkled throughout. And though Toll House gets the job done some days, I was searching for a cookie I could make myself that I didn’t have to pay $4.50 for at a bakery.
What makes these cookies by Jacques Torres-a famous pastry chef and chocolatier in NYC-special is the use of flours: nowhere is there any all-purpose; instead, pastry and bread flours are used. This is because while pastry flour provides a silky and tender texture because of a higher protein, the bread flour provides a higher rise and shiny, crisp outer edge.
Another special characteristic is the cookie’s large chocolate chunks. Instead of using morsels, Torres recommends buying a block of the best chocolate you can find [semisweet is my preference] and chopping it into coarse and uneven chunks with a very large kitchen knife.
Finally, the recipe all comes together with the ‘settling’ process: the dough has to be refrigerated at least 24 hours and preferably 48 hours. This is because the more the dough sits, settles, and becomes cold, the cookie won’t flatten out as it bakes, but, rather, keeps all kinds of bumps and ridges and insulates the chocolate chunks.
Now, I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing: ‘Is all this really worth it for a cookie?’ And the answer is yes…a thousand times ‘YES!’ If you can look past the pretension of the multiple flours and having to buy overpriced chocolate next to the $40 cheeses at Whole Foods, then PLEASE make these. If you love chocolate chip cookies, or even any cookie you’d be willing to pay $4.50 for, you need to give these a try.
And I promise it’s not just me who likes them. When I brought these into my office I didn’t hear the usual ‘Oh hey, Meris, awesome, thanks!’ and I admit I got a bit worried: Is it only me that likes these? Did they get stale overnight? However, I was pleased to find that in an office of roughly 8 people, all 35 cookies were gone by COB. I also got a personal email from my CEO telling me they were the best he’s ever had. This email = guaranteed raise, right?
Mr. Torres, if you’re ever in town, I’d be proud to treat you to a Mike’s Hard Lemonade
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- Parchment paper or silpat
- 4 sticks [1 lb.] unsalted butter, rm. temp.
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups + 2 Tbl. pastry flour
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 Tbl. salt
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 Tbl. vanilla extract
- 2 lbs. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla.
Using a large wooden spoon, stir in the chopped chocolate. Cover and refrigerate 2 days. After 2 days, uncover and let sit at room temp. about 10 min. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets [preferably light-colored] with parchment paper or silpats.
Using a kitchen scale or Tbl., round about about 2 oz. of dough, rolling into a ball form. Place balls about 2 inches apart on sheets.
Bake about 20 min or until lightly browned but still soft. Cool slightly on sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Best if eaten with a few days. Cover in an airtight lid and store at rm. temp.