Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Get Well Package: Chocolate Chip Cookies

A family member living hundreds of miles away was recently in a very bad car accident. She is lucky to be alive. Unfortunately there is not much I can do for her except send my love and support, and some chocolate chip cookies. Really, what's more soothing and comforting than a chocolate chip cookie? Well I suppose there is chicken noodle soup, roast chicken with mashed potatoes, soft cheesy polenta with greens and a poached egg, or a chard, onion and gruyere panade (my personal favorite, what's yours??), but none of those travel well.

I came across a recipe last summer for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. It boasted that one of the secrets to a great chocolate chip cookie is letting the dough rest. Not rest for an hour, like pastry dough or other cookie doughs. Rest for 36 hours! That's nearly 2 days from the time that you make the dough! Usually when you make chocolate chip cookie dough, it's because you want a warm and gooey cookie within the next hour. Was it really worth it to plan that far ahead?

I must say I was a bit skeptical, so being scientific by nature (and profession), I set up a simple experiment. I put the dough together on day 1. I baked a batch of cookies on day 1. I baked a second batch on day 2, and a 3rd batch on day 3. And guess what? The cookies that were baked on day 3 were definitely the best. They got more caramelized and crisp outside while remaining soft and chewy inside. I think it is the combination of crisp and chewy that makes these highly addictive. And the fact that I sprinkled maldon salt on the dough before it went into the oven.

I have found that anything with caramel or chocolate benefits from a bit of salt. Most things need salt to heighten their flavor, but with caramel and chocolate, I like to taste the salt. Please don't use table salt for this. It's too harsh. There are particular salts that are meant to be used as condiments, not for all purpose seasoning.
Chocolate Chip Cookies

The ingredients are given in weights and measures. If you have a scale, it is much easier to weigh out the ingredients than to measure which I find sort of tedious, especially when packing brown sugar or the 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons nonsense below.

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 pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate chips, at least 60% cacao (I just used 1 10 ounce package)
Sea salt

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hours. Dough may be used in batches and stored in the refrigerator up to 72 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

Use an ice cream scooper to scoop mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15-20 minutes depending on you oven and the size of your cookies. 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.

Yield:18-24 cookies (depending on size)


  1. Delicious CCC, hope your family member will recover soon.

  2. Sending good thoughts and thinking of special people in my life who deserve those cookies.

  3. Elra and Claudia,
    Thank you for the good thoughts!

  4. Thanks for posting this recipe. I had never thought of using Maldon sea salt in cookies (despite being born in Maldon and rarely using any other kind of salt!)