NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies. Perfection at Your Fingertips.


Chocolate, Cookie, Desserts / Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

chocolate-chip-cookie-1

Few things are worthy of a quest.

The Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant and the Fountain of Youth? No.

True love, flattering jeans and the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe? Yes.

Many bakers spend their lives testing chocolate chip cookie recipes, looking for “The One.”

This is it.

Last summer, The New York Times ran a fascinating story on the “quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie,” which included the fact that the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe Nestlé prints on its bags of chocolate morsels left out a step.

What?

I KNOW.

According to the article, Ruth Graves Wakefield, who invented the chocolate chip cookie for her Tollhouse Inn in the 1930s, wrote that the dough should be chilled overnight.

This revelation inspired NYT writer David Leite to interview New York bakery owners and pastry chefs about their chocolate chip cookie secrets, and what he found out was:

1. Time matters. You should let the dough rest overnight, but a 36-hour rest is prime. That gives the dry ingredients time to fully soak up the eggs, creating a dough that’s exceptionally dry.

2. Size matters. You’ll be measuring the dough in a 1/3 measuring cup to create cookies that are about 5″ so you can enjoy all the different textures. The outside edge will be golden brown and crisp, the center will be light and soft and chewy, and between the two you’ll find a ring where those textures intertwine.

3. Salt matters. Just before you slide your dough into the oven, add a sprinkle of sea salt. That small touch will add an unexpected complexity and a little bite to a simple sweet. And if you forget the salt on a tray of these cookies, you will know. Trust me.

From all of the chefs’ suggestions and his own research, Leite adapted Jacques Torres’ classic chocolate chip cookie recipe and created what’s known as the “New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie.” The recipe is dead simple and takes little “active” time, but the results are so predictably perfect, I’ve given away tins as gifts.

If you bookmarked the NYT Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe last year and still haven’t gotten around to it, think of a friend who could use a pick-me-up and give them a try. You will feel like all things perfect are born of your fingertips.

P.S. The recipe calls for fèves (oval-shaped pieces of chocolate), because they melt easily. I’ve had the best luck with the Guittard 61% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate wafers available at gourmet groceries, but in a pinch, high-quality chocolate chips will work.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Adapted from The New York Times, David Leite and Jacques Torres

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

  • 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)
  • 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 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
  4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (about 1/3 cup) 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.

Note: Fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are usually available at Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Williams-Sonoma.

53 thoughts on “NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies. Perfection at Your Fingertips.

  1. I still haven't tried this recipe despite hearing so many good things about it. Thanks for yet another reminder that I need to get off the couch and try these :) Your cookie looks gorgeous!

    1. Thanks! You've got to try these, even if you wait until the holidays or some special event. They're ridiculously easy, and you get amazing results.

  2. I'll definetely use that tip about sprinkling with sea salt on my next cookie batch! Salt & chocolate is a great combo. I always sprinkle my chocolate fondants with salt!

  3. Agreed! I've made them many times – and they are the best. I have made them a little smaller (2 oz) and they still turn out quite big. I

  4. SO, Rebecca, how do they hold up to traveling in the mail? How 'bout we test 'em? Mail me some and I'll let you know. :)

    I'm such a slacker. Though those cookies sound amazing and look even better I don't like making cookies. They've always struck me as a lot work with little payoff. While I KNOW that isn't true I just can't seem to shake it.
    ~ingrid

  5. My chocolate chip cookie quest ended with the NYT version too…the best, best, best!! I have made them a bit smaller and they are still fabulous!

    1. I learned so much from that New York Times article. You've got to try a batch of these. I usually eat one and tie the rest in cellophane bags to give to people. You will feel like a domestic goddess.

  6. […] chip cookies. I’m guessing we’ve all made chocolate chip cookies before but Rebecca Crump from Ezra Pound Cake swears these ones are the […]

  7. I have been trying forever to find THE perfect recipe! I can't wait to try these out. I agree that salt make s big difference in sweet treats. I just got some Himalayan sea salt from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com and I think it will be wonderful sprinkled on these cookies. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I just stumbled upon your website & I LOVE IT!!! I recently started a cooking blog of my own, and I'd like to add you to my list of faves if that's ok? Let me know. These cookies are seriously making me drool!

    1. Thanks! I'd love to be added to your list. And you've got to try these cookies. When I make them, I feel like a kitchen rock star. You can't get better than that.

  9. LOL, I was reading back posts of mine and saw where I completed 2 out of 3 "food blog trends". Guess which one I hadn't completed? Yup! I've made many recipes for cc cookies, just not this one. I'm really behind the times!

    That picture is just wonderful! If ever there was an "essence of the perfect chocolate chip cookie", it captures it completely.

  10. This recipe looks fantastic!! Just made the dough yesterday, I'm not sure if I can wait another 14 hours before baking them! :) If they make it to the oven, I'll consider that an accomplishment all on its own :D

    1. No choice whatsoever. This is one of those recipes that's perfect for those times when you want to make something special but you don't want to be in the kitchen for hours and hours. Or make a lot of effort. It's pretty perfect.

  11. this is a wonderful recipe. i made mine with ghirardhelli chips, though about 1/3 the size they recommended and you should have heard the rants. Followed by the groans of stomach aches from eating too many about a half an hour later.

  12. […] New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies at Ezra Pound […]

  13. They were PERFECTION – just like you said they'd be.
    Only one small problem – cookie dough in the fridge for 36 hours – let me say that again – cookie dough in the fridge for 36 hours – how on earth does anyone expect to have just as much dough coming out that was put in!? I for one had it haunting me and ate a LOT of it before it hit the oven. there's always next time!

  14. I've been searching for the perfect choc chip cookies for ages and have always been let down by mediocre cookies. I halved the recipe for these in skepticism and am living to regret it. THESE ARE PERFECTION and well worth the rather fiddly specifications. Thank you thank you thank you!

  15. It was this blog that convinced me to make the NY Times cookie in the proper size, and am I ever glad I did! I've been making chocolate chip cookies for years, and I think making them that size made all the difference. And it's a perfect size to have with a nice cup of tea. :)

  16. For those in doubt of scooping a massive 1/3 cup cookie, let me just tell you. I did this with two different sizes and the 1/3 c size is the only size that gives you that crisp exterior and chewy soft interior. I know they are huge, but you are better off having one perfect cookie as a snack than two less than perfect cookies! Plus they are perfect for stacking in a wide cylinder shaped tin with a bow and a card. My Dad is getting these for his birthday (with the addition of toasted chopped walnuts to the recipe) and I know he is going to be happier with these than that flat screen TV he asked for…(at least that's what I'm telling myself)

  17. I am dying to make these cookies! They look fantastic! But I really need to know: After you make them, are they still soft the next day or the next few days or whatnot? Soft as in "soft-baked cookies"??

  18. I will surely try this tip to make my cookies better . u give me wonderful recipe , keep working and let us knowing to make our cookies more and most tasty !! its seems to b delicious in real . i am wondering that who cookies will give taste after sprinkling salt on it !! i will try

  19. What would happen if I substituted regular flour for the cake and bread flour? Would these be worth making then? Or find a different recipe. Thanks. :)

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