If you’ve been following Smitten Kitchen outside this url recently, you might have noticed that a terrible, dangerous thing has happened: I revisited the epic, consummate even, chocolate chip cookies from David Leite via The New York Times, mostly because I was tired of looking at the unpalatably blueberry-ish photo of them atop the 2008 post, and eight years later, in basically the rom-com of cookie sagas, realized the thing I wanted most in a chocolate chip cookie was was there the whole time.
What, I wasn’t in love with them already? I mean, they did not go to waste. We are not monsters. They just felt too over-the-top to me to actually make a regular part of my life. They used expensive chocolate, demanded planning ahead and were in every way the very opposite of this salted chocolate chunk cookie, which I have since considered my go-to. For weekdays and such.
But now I see it. Sometimes life requires a 5-inch chocolate chip cookie because there are things that only a 5-inch chocolate chip cookie can do. Only a 5-inch chocolate chip cookie can have three distinct textures in one face-sized disc: deep, undeniably excellent crunchy edges, chewy and/or gooey everywhere else. Only 5-inch chocolate chip cookies are the mic drop of the category: you bring them out and everything else stops to take in this magnificence on a plate.
Or, as my father-in-law said, “It was very good of you to include some dough to hold this chocolate together.”
One year ago: Picnic Pink Lemonade and Crispy Frizzled Artichokes
Two years ago: Nancy’s Chopped Salad
Three years ago: Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies
Four years ago: Asparagus with Almonds and Yogurt Dressing
Five years ago: Fudge Popsicles
Six years ago: Shaved Asparagus Pizza
Seven years ago: Strawberry Shortcakes
Eight years ago: Molly’s Dry-Rubbed Ribs
Nine years ago: Zucchini Carpaccio Salad
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Pull-Apart Rugelach
1.5 Years Ago: Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale
2.5 Years Ago: Sweet Potato Cake with Marshmallow Frosting
3.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower Feta Fritters with Pomegranate
4.5 Years Ago: Caesar Salad Deviled Eggs
The Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Revisited
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces, 280 grams or 2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (240 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
- 3 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons (yes, really) (445 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 pounds (565 grams) bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60%
- Sea salt
With a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light, fluffy and then some, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix to combine. Add vanilla, mix, then scrape down bowl. Sprinkle baking soda, baking powder and salt over dough and mix it until fully combined. Add flour all at once and mix it in short bursts until it almost completely disappears, but no longer. You don’t want to overmix it. Add chocolate pieces in and try to incorporate them without breaking them. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for a minimum of 24 hours and up to 72 hours, although I have totally had it in there up to 5 days are we’re all just fine.
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a couple large baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Form dough into 3 1/2-ounce (100 gram) balls, which will seem completely absurd (they’re larger than golf balls, closer to skeeballs) but don’t fight it. If any chocolate pieces are right across the tops or sides of the balls of dough, try to bury them back in it. I find pockets of chocolate superior to exposed puddles of them. Arrange balls of dough very far apart on sheets (these cookies will be up to 5 inches wide once baked) and sprinkle the tops of each with a few flecks of sea salt.
Bake cookies for 12 to 17 minutes, until golden all over. This is a large range because I find that they range in how much they spread thus checking in at the early on on your first batch is safest.
Cool cookies on trays for 10 minutes, then transfer them to racks.
A bunch of notes: Revisiting this cookie required that I address a few issues I had with them the first time.
- The weight of the bread flour [8.5 ounces for 1 2/3 cups, or 145 grams per cup] in the original recipe is incorrect. Bread flour fairly reliably clocks in at 120 to 125 grams per cup, so this should be 200 to 210 grams or 7 to 7.4 ounces. I don’t think a lot of people cared because most people used the cup measurement but it likely would have led to a thicker and more dry cookie. This and other corrected weights below work just fine but I really believe this recipe was imagined for cups and spoons foremost.
- The other big item many people questioned in the original recipe was the logic of enlisting a low-gluten (cake) and high-gluten (bread) flour, almost 1:1, instead of replacing them both with a medium-gluten flour (all-purpose). David Leite says that “The combination creates a higher protein level than all-purpose flour, giving it a bit more tooth.” But I found the texture from all-purpose flour to be perfect, and will only use this from now on.
- Being me, i.e. lazy and hating washing dishes, I got rid of that pesky two-bowl and sifting thing.
- The biggest headache of this recipe is its particular insistence that you use Valrhona fèves, large, oval .125-ounce bittersweet chocolate discs of exquisite quality and extravagant price point, to make these cookies. As I make these rarely and they’re almost always to spoil guests, I splurge on them. [This bag will cover you for 1 1/2 batches + a handful of luxurious snacking and is the best price I’ve found] However, other chocolate baking discs (larger and flatter than chips) work here too; a favorite of mine for baking are Guittard’s chocolate wafers [however, I used to get them for $10 to $11 per pound, and they’re now the same price as the Valrhona link above so…]
- Finally, please keep in mind that this a cookie for chocolate fiends. Great pools of melted chocolate fill every bite; the dough, as my FIL joked, is little more than glue holding these puddles together. These Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies are smaller and also riddled with chocolate, but less excessively so. These Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies are much closer to the Toll House original (but better in flavor, we think).