Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thomas Keller's chocolate chip cookies


I've already declared these as my favorite chocolate chip cookies. Ever. Well, now I am seriously second guessing myself. I was pretty sure that nothing could top a cookie developed by Mr. Chocolate (Jacques Torres) but I might be wrong on this one. And I have a 3-and-a-half year old to thank... our dear little Addison.

Addie was flipping through an issue of Bon Appetit one day and asked, "Mommy! When I'm good, can we make cookies?" I nodded and asked her what kind she wanted to make. She said, "Chocolate chip." So I promised her that we could bake chocolate chip cookies if she behaved. Addie held up her end of the bargain, and I cleared off some time on a Sunday morning to make these with her. Addie helped crack the eggs and added the chocolate chips and chunks and was very proud of her contributions.

Oh. My. Word. Talk about the most perfect cookies. Addie and I had a grand time turning on the oven light and watching the balls of cookie dough flatten into perfect circles. The molasses flavor really came through into these chewy, thick, chocolate-y and dense cookies. Chocolate chip cookie perfection at its best, I say. They were just as good the next day (and the day after that).

And now the million-dollar question is: Would I rank these above Jacques Torres' recipe? My answer, you find, will be a bit vague. Both of these cookies are beyond phenomenal, so here is my recommendation: if you have the patience and time to wait 24 hours before baking, make Jacques Torres' version. If you are strapped for time, try Thomas Keller's recipe instead. Either way, you can't go wrong.

Thomas Keller's chocolate chip cookies
  • 1 and 1/2 cups plus 3 TBSP (238 grams)s all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.3 grams) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP (134 grams) lightly packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown)
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoons (12 grams) unsulfured molasses
  • 1 cup plus 1 teaspoon (104 grams) granulated sugar 
  • 2/3 cup (107 grams) chocolate chunks (70%-72% dark chocolate)
  • scant 1/2 cup (107 grams) chocolate chips
  • 5.9 ounces (167 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 TBSP plus 2 and 1/2 teaspoons (60 grams) eggs (about 1 large egg)
Directions
In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and molasses until no lumps remain. Add the granulated sugar and mix well until the mixture is uniform.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer), cream the butter on medium-low speed for about 2-3 minutes or until the butter appears light and the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the molasses mixture and mix for about 3-4 minutes or until the batter is smooth. Add the eggs and mix on low speed until the eggs are just combined (about 30 seconds).

Add the flour mixture in two additions until just combined. Add the chocolate chunks and chocolate chips and mix on low speed for about 5-10 seconds. You don't want to break up the chocolate chunks or chips, so you can do this part by hand if you want.

Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (if you have a convection oven, this is preferred; if not, you are still fine). Line two sheet pans with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Use a standard ice cream scoop (or a cookie scoop like I did) and portion out 6 event mounds of dough. These cookies are obviously very big. If you want your cookies smaller, you can do that too. I used a medium cookie scoop and got about 20 regular sized cookies.

Scoop the mounds of cookie dough onto your palms and shape them into balls. Transfer the cookie dough balls onto your prepared baking sheet. Be sure to leave at least 2-3 inches in between each ball of dough since they will spread.

If you are baking the LARGE cookies at 325 degrees F in a convection oven, bake for 14-16 minutes.

If you are baking the LARGE cookies at 325 degrees F in a regular oven, bake for 18-20 minutes.

If you are baking the SMALLER cookies at 325 degrees F in a convection oven, bake for 12-14 minutes

If  you are baking the SMALLER cookies at 325 degrees F in a regular oven, bake for 16-18 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 1 week. They can also be frozen and enjoyed at a later time (just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds).

Yield: I used a medium cookie scoop and got 20 "normal" sized cookies. If you follow Thomas Keller's instructions, you will only get 6.

Source: Bouchon Bakery, by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel

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