Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Friday, July 18, 2008

The "It" Chocolate Chip Cookie: A 500 Calorie Indulgence

The New York Times called it "Perfection" and I would have to agree.
Despite the soaring temperatures, the very sight of those layers of gooey-looking cookies gracing the cover of the food section last week had me itching to bake.

I contemplated making the cookies immediately but didn't have all of the necessary ingredients (which proved to be the only problematic part of the recipe). I also knew it wouldn't be wise for me to make them for Izzy and me alone as I didn't really want to wind up eating nearly all of them. As luck would have it, an excuse to make them presented itself. Cookies would be the perfect treat for Izzy's teachers on the last day of summer camp, session one.

I started preparing two days ago, as the dough needs to sit for at least 24 hours and up to 36. Allowing the dough to rest is one of several elements that sets this recipe apart from ordinary cookies. There is also the use of two types of flour, the salt factor (more within and atop) and the type of chocolate used (bittersweet rather than semi-sweet). I tried to find the Vahlrona feves but Whole Foods did not have the right ones. Instead I settled on Ghiradelli Bittersweet chips. Oh and one major difference between these and your average chocolate chip is size. It does matter. Golf ball-sized mounds of dough are required to ensure the appropriate texture.

These cookies are enormous and as a careful reader later wrote, they also pack a walloping 500 calories each, about one quarter of a person's caloric requirements for the day.Yet don't let any of these facts deter you. This is one astonishing cookie, causing eaters to exclaim, "This is the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever eaten."

In case you were unaware, I have been a chocolate-chip cookie maven since my time spent working at Mrs. Field's. Since then I have been an avid fan of City Bakery's cookies, I was thrilled to see that this recipe, adapted from one by Jacques Torres (a fine chocolatier amongst other things) was formulated with tips from all of the best cookie bakers around, most notably Maury Rubin of City Bakery fame. With that pedigree I knew this had to be one divine cookie.

I was right. The fruits of my labor emerged from the oven in all of their gooey splendor, the picture of cookie perfection. I allowed them to cool briefly and then wrapped them up and brought them to school, without having tried one myself.

As I began to write this, I realized that I had yet to sample one, so I cut one into quarters and tried one piece. In a word, INCREDIBLE.
But don't take my word for it, bake them yourself.

Chocolate-Chip Cookie Perfection (adapted from The New York Times)

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling
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 (I used dark)
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) (I used Ghiradelli Bittersweet)
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.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Izzy's Mama Notes: Take the dough out about 15-20 minutes before scooping it so that it is easier to scoop. Press the mounds down slightly or the cookies might be rather puffy. I got 21 cookies from the recipe.

Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.

1 comment:

JEP said...

This would be a "perfect" photo for Photograzing :)