Wednesday, January 27, 2010

chocolate-chip divas

Holy shizzle, my nizzles. I'm here to tell you to believe the hype: The New York Times' quest for the perfect chocolate-chip cookie has yielded a really good (possibly perfect) chocolate-chip cookie. True, they're more high maintenance than J.Lo., and after you've assembled the dough you have to wait THIRTY-SIX HOURS to consummate your relationship. But I think it's worth it.

A few notes:

* The recipe calls for both cake flour and bread flour. Do as it says or your dough will not come together or cook properly (I know this not from experience but from the tales of woe of a friend who tried making them).

* I let the cold ingredients come up to room temperature before I started mixing them.

* I couldn't find chocolate disks or fèves (I mean, seriously), so I used chocolate chips, but good ones (Callebaut).

* I measured the ingredients by weight instead of volume, because (a) it's easier, (b) it makes me feel like Nigella Lawson (that is, voluptuous and sexily carefree), while being (c) more accurate.

* I also used a scale to measure out the dough because I wasn't sure what was meant by "generous golf balls"—it turns out a 3.5-ounce mound of dough is the size of a really generous golf ball [could someone please suggest a Tiger Woods joke to insert here?].

* I wasn't kidding when I said these cookies were high maintenance.

* I made one cookie at twenty-four hours (I'm only human) and ate it hot: so good. Thirty-six-hour cookies were just as delicious warm as the twenty-four hours, and also yummy after they'd cooled and been stored. Seventy-hour cookies were a little drier, still delicious warm, but not quite as good the next day (though nothing to sneeze at and better than a Nestle Tollhouse).

* The sea salt is key.

* I froze a couple generous golf balls of dough and will post an update here after I've baked them to let you know how they turn out.

Possibly the Best Chocolate-Chip Cookies Ever
From the New York Times

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8½ ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8½ ounces) bread flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons coarse salt
2½ sticks (1¼ cups) unsalted butter
1¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1¼ pounds bittersweet disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
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 3½-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. [Mine went the full 20 and were still pretty raw in the middle, though they finished cooking on the baking sheet and were so deliciously tender in the middle.] 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.


  1. She's not kidding, people. At 36 and even at 70 hours, this may be the most delicious food I have ever put in my mouth.

  2. I do not have any Tiger Woods jokes to offer, but I do have the age-old question: Would you tap that?

    And before anyone robotically answers no, I will tell you the same thing I told my first friend who answered in such a manner: Quit pretending you're a cooter-less angel. The man is very cute (yes?), and pretty much anyone who is that magnificent at anything (golf, I mean) is nearly irresistible. The only thing that gives me pause is all the barebacking. And the Waffle House waitress. And the golfclub-wielding wife. But then in such scenarios all subjects are assumed unattached, and pre-screened for venereal diseases.

    Which is to say, put me down as a resounding H to the MF Yes.

  3. I had so much to say before I read jquizzle's comments.... then I think I was confused by pop culture. I'll try anyway. I don't care for chocolate chip cookies. But as I started reading I thought "hey, this is the first recipe that's interesting to read, and that isn't a huge let down because i'm scrolling through all these words as fast as i can and not laughing as much as i do in the text bit". And then i put the period outside of the quotation, and then i saw the actual recipe bit and was disheartened because it was as dull as the rest of the recipes. NYTimes (and the new yorker for that matter) are for arrogant assholes, and so are their cookies it seems;Who the hell needs a cookie that takes 36 hours to ... to rise? To ... ferment? Anyway, I'm glad you're posting a little more regularly. One more heineken can, please.

  4. That's nice, jshu. But would you tap T-Woods? Because I say nay. And I would have said nay six months ago. I would say nay after a six pack of Heineken cans. The man radiates anal rentention (anal retentiveness?). He is so clearly Type A, I don't think I could stand to be in the same room with him, let alone in the same room with him naked.

    But for you, shu, I will try to write some more interesting recipes, such as "1. Pull tab. 2. Drink."

  5. Yeah, way to skirt the question, jshu! But that's not how we play this game at Gruel for Dinner (yes, blog-mistress?).

    I E-mailed Chester Arthur re: Tiger-tap, and he said to put him down as H to the MFY for Tiger's shin.

  6. What do wholesome chocolate chip cookies and tapping Tiger Woods have in common? (hint: the answer sort of doesn't really rhyme with "something")

  7. i think we need to make a special pact between the two of us that goes a little something like this...i bake something you get some, you bake something i get some.

    and, no, i would not tap that...tiger doesn't do a thing for me.

  8. I'd happily make that pact, MLC, as it's a bargain that works in my favor: You're a much better and more frequent baker. But for one of your cupcakes (or a macaron, perhaps?) I'd be happy to give you a dozen cookies. Hey, I'd even consider tapping Tiger Woods!

  9. This comment thread has taken a weird turn.

    But, no, I would not tap that.

  10. Okay, now listen. I like your blog. I like your blog a lot. But I deliberately did not look at the cookie recipe when it was in The Times. I just knew better. I know myself. But then, I check in to see what's going on in gruel world, and there it is. With lots of mouth watering pictures. You are evil. E-V-I-L. Now, if you'll excuse me, the oven timer just went off and I have to get the cookies out. Evil.

  11. It's true, Down East Dilettante, gruel and those chocolate-chip cookies have about as much in common as those chocolate-chip cookies and Tiger Woods. But it's also true that it's late January in Vermont, a time when literally anything goes: chocolate-chip cookies for dinner, sleeping 'til noon on a Tuesday, dropping ecstasy and taking a bath in a tub full of warm honey ... OK, probably not the ecstasy/bath part, but only because I'm too old for drugs and too lazy to heat and then clean a tub full of honey. Those, cookies, on the other hand, may be what gets me through the rest of winter, which in Vermont lasts approximately three more months.

    So how'd yours turn out, DED? E-V-I-L, right? I mean that in a good way.

  12. Hmmmh....en garde/touche (where is that accent egu when you need it). I'm still searching for the long lost receipe for the Mojito (sp?), fashioned on New Year's Eve while cruising the banks of the Sassafras....where'd it go? Not only did I like IT, I liked that blog, too. Sort of right up there with l. pull tab, 2.drink. By the way...loved those cookies...thanks for the recipe.

  13. These cookies are off the chain people! I have never known the true love a cookie until now. This cookie LOVES me, it told me so. I can't wait to have one tomorrow night!!!!

  14. Oh my god, I would kill for one of these cookies right now. For real, KILL!!!