I was going to start this post later, but these cookies absolutely can’t wait. Like thousands of other bakers, after what I think was one of the greatest cookie investigations of this decade, the New York Times column on the chocolate chip cookie, I knew that I had to try this recipe. No question. All Recipes, as great as you are, this cookie is different from the countless concoctions on your website, although this one is sure to be on it now. It was brilliant.
A lot of us are experienced chocolate chip cookie eaters. We’ve had them as treats in school, at birthday parties, from the grocery store, made by our best friend’s mom, with nuts and without, overpeppered with chocolate chips and with not enough chocolate chips. I remember when I first came to college and organic chocolate chip cookies were a trendy novelty. It’s been a while since I’ve had any dining hall sweets, but I’m certainly not looking back. Why stuff your body with butter and sugar if it doesn’t taste good? I feel li ke unhealthy things have to be worth your while. These cookies definitely are.
Of course, as a college student, baking means working in a college kitchen that doesn’t necessarily have all the ingredients you need. And being a college student means that you don’t necessarily realize it until you’re in the midst of baking. So I made a bastardized version of the New York Times cookie. It was missing its last 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and I couldn’t find the two varieties of flour the recipe called for (bread and cake), so I just used all-purpose. All-purpose flour saves lives. I also didn’t have expensive chocolate available nor did I have the money for it, so I used semi-sweet morsels from the dining hall. If the splurged version is supposed to taste better than the budget one I made, then OH MY GOD is all I have to say about it.
Out of all the chocolate chip cookies I’ve had, I think that the best ones have been the ones with those toffee undertones the article refers to. Cookies worth remembering are chewy at the center and slightly crumbly at the edges. And they always have semi-sweet morsels. Cookies are a tradition and they stand for comfort and indulgence. I used to think it was homemaker-ish when my friends told me cooking or baking relieved them of stress. But now I think I get it. There’s a certain element of control in making food, a power over what goes into a recipe that I think people find calming and centering. Even if you’re following a recipe you can tweak it to taste, and chances are even if you take a crazy risk, the food will be edible. If only life were that way.
To make about 2 dozen small cookies or 20 medium-ish (adapted from Jacques Torres cookie recipe on NYTimes.com)
1 5/6 cups all-purpose
5/8 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
5/8 cups light brown sugar (two-thirds of ours was dark b/c we used up the light)
1/2 cups + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we only had 3/4 tsp.)
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet morsels
1. mix dry ingredients together.
2. in a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. add egg and vanilla extract.
3. slowly add in flour to butter/sugar mixture. once dough comes together, add in chocolate chips.
4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP TO HAPPINESS: refrigerate dough for 24 hours. I made it to 22. Who knows what those two lost hours would have meant for these cookies. There’s something about the chemistry (the column explains it) that brings out something different in the sugar.
5. preheat oven to 325 degrees. scoop onto Pam-ed cookie sheet or parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes.