The only reason I have ever made a recipe again, exactly the same way as the first time, is if I am trying to conquer it. If, and only if, I think I have followed a credible recipe to every detail and it doesn’t [insert problem: set, taste right, bake through, retain moisture], I will make the dish, again exactly following the recipe, thinking that some circumstance I was unaware of [insert conundrum: accidentally set timer wrong, baking soda had gone flat, mixing bowl wasn’t totally dry to begin with] sabotaged my first go.
If I am making a recipe for a second time simply because I liked it, I always change it up somehow, first for sheer variance, and second for experimentation. If this was so good to begin with, think of how much better it would be if I added [cinnamon, cilantro, more nuts, less nuts, fleur de sal] to it.
I pride myself in these characteristics of stubborn determination and drive for narcissistic improvement. I humbly admit that the cookies I am going to share with you now…I have made five times in the past three weeks. FIVE TIMES. Four times with the exact same recipe, and once when I didn’t have brown sugar so I went with all white sugar instead and they just weren’t the same. I have thought about adding cinnamon or changing up the flavors, but each time I go to make them, all I can think of is why take such a risk on such an impeccable cookie? I come up with nothing, and I make the same recipe again.
These cookies are a result of the NY Times doing a study on cookie dough, and figuring out the optimum time of cookie dough refrigeration prior to baking. The NY Times came up with 24-36 hours, and for reasons I am just explained, I am not going to mess with that timing. Refrigerating cookie dough makes the outside of the scoops of dough on your cookie sheet bake faster than the inside, giving you cookies with a crisp, done outside and a soft (less-done) inside. Freezing balls of dough gives an even more drastic difference between the inside and outside of a cookie (but don’t do that for this dough. Just follow the recipe. Please?)
One thing I am not sure about is the flours. This recipe calls for cake flour (low protein, makes cakes soft) and bread flour (high protein, makes breads more firm and tough than cakes). I am not sure why it doesn’t just call for all purpose flour (middle-of-the-road protein content) but I haven’t brought myself to try it with just all purpose flour.
I use the Whole Foods 365 Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips–they’re rich, not too sweet, sans high fructose corn syrup and still so chocolatey. I also end up with about three less cookies than expected, as I eat that much dough over the 24-hour period. It’s the salt that brings out and ties together these flavours, so don’t negate it!
Chocolate Chip Cookies.
From The New York Times
Makes about four dozen.
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)
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.