I’m a big fan of whole wheat flour cookies, cookies sweetened with honey or bananas, even cookies with raisins in them. Truly, I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like. But sometimes, life calls for…not just any old cookie. Sometimes life calls for a Cookie. And when that call comes, here’s your recipe.
I recently received news that required a response of sympathy and love. How does one package that in a box and send it across the country? I decided on cookies. Not that a chocolate chip cookie fixes anything, but they don’t get their feelings hurt if you don’t feel like talking, they don’t tell your co-workers when you cry in the bathroom, and they don’t ask you to be cheerful before they’ll hang out with you. Yes, a chocolate chip cookie makes good company. Even better? A dozen or so chocolate chip cookies.
So I decided to whip out this batch of Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookies to pop into the mail. You may have run into this recipe before. It was published in the New York Times about five years ago, and since has been baked and blogged by dozens (hundreds?) of foodies. I heard an interview with the recipe creator, David Leite, on NPR’s The Splendid Table years ago and was intrigued. I stashed the recipe. But have only now had the perfect excuse to try it out.
Our eating habits have changed so much since I first found this recipe that I actually had to go out and buy white flour and sugar. Because while whole wheat flour, honey, and cacao nibs might make a pretty tasty cookie, they do not make a Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie. Truly, there is nothing wholesome about this recipe. At all. Well, maybe the butter. And the sea salt…depending on which brand you use. Other than that these ingredients are as white as my knees in March (see photos below as evidence). But that’s kinda the point. This is no snacking cookie. This is straight-up indulgence, of the my-boyfriend-cheated-on-me-my-dog-got-run-over-my-teenager-got-a-tattoo-my-boss-fired-me-my-baby-has-the-stomach-flu-variety.
You’ll notice a couple of specialty ingredients, and a few fussy instructions. Normally, I would do a fair bit of substitution and skip the fussy parts, but I wanted to be true to this recipe. So I weighed my ingredients and followed the instructions step by step. I sifted my dry ingredients. I chilled the dough for three days before baking (I confess I giggled at seeing this cookie dough sitting next to our organic spinach and grass-fed cow milk). I measured out exactly 3.5 ounces of dough for each cookie and baked them for exactly the amount of time called for. The results? Pretty stunning, according to the Sweetie Pie. Loaded with rich layers of chocolate strata (I used Ghiradelli) with a toothsome crisp on the edge and a soft gooey-ness in the middle, the Sweetie Pie couldn’t say if they were the absolute best cookie he’d ever had, but he couldn’t think of one that was better.
Since baking up this cult cookie, I’ve read a few blogs and more than a few comments on those blogs of others who have tried them out. It seems that folks fall into one of two camps in the cookie debate. One camp says, “Can’t a cookie just be a cookie? Why does everything have to be complicated?”. The other says, “Truly, the path to the perfect cookie lies in these specialty ingredients and methods!” Me, I kinda fall somewhere in between. I agree that the ingredients and the methods result in an excellent cookie, perhaps even a “perfect” cookie. But I also think the sole purpose of a chocolate chip cookie is to bring joy to the person eating it. And if it doesn’t bring joy, then what’s the point?
You’re all welcome to join my camp, which resides under this catchy little piece of poetry:
Use bread or all-purpose flour,
Use Valrhona or Hershey’s chips,
Eat it raw or bake after 36 hours,
Follow your own cookie bliss.
Course: Treats (Bars, Balls, and Cookies)
Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 12 hr 1 min
Yield: 16 large 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 kosher salt
- 2 1⁄2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 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
- Sea salt
- Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° (176°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
- Scoop six 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.