Chocolate Chip Cookies

dark chocolate

Do you know anybody who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? I certainly don’t. (Okay, maybe there’s a guy living in a yurt in outer Mongolia who’s never tried them, but I’m willing to bet if we showed up with a warm plate of cookies and a cold glass of yak milk, we’d have another fan on our hands.)

As a kid, chocolate chip cookies were one of the very first things I ever learned to make on my own. (Excluding my strict third-grade diet of Frosted Flakes, that is.) Odds are it was the same for some of you, too. And I’ve always made them using a tried-and-true recipe, known to legions of bakers since the mid-1930s: the one printed on the back of the Toll House morsel package. It’s good. Familiar. Dependable.

After the years rolled by, though, boredom inevitably set in. Where was the glamour? The excitement when we first met, the thrill of that first batch? It was over with the madelines, the linzers and the biscotti, that’s where. (I am an absolute sucker for a European accent, be it a man’s or a macaron’s.) Who wants a dowdy drop cookie, a boring old mainstay, when I could have the world?

So chocolate chip cookies and I broke up. (Or maybe we were just on a break? I don’t know.) But thanks to a revisit with Thomas Keller’s recipe, we are definitely, absolutely back together. Like, forever.

Fundamentally, Keller’s recipe isn’t all that different from the Toll House iteration. Brown sugar, eggs, flour, butter. A little salt, a little leavener, maybe a bit of vanilla. Some heat to brown the butter and relax the sugar into caramel, and enough time in the oven to yield a crisp, tawny edge and a chewy, chocolate-studded interior.

This version, though, is made with real-deal dark chocolate, no additives allowed, and therein lies the difference: waxy, flat-flavored chips are out, and rich, melting nuggets of 60% cacao chocolate are in.

Consider the romance officially rekindled.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Thomas Keller’s ad hoc at home; makes about thirty 3″ cookies

  • 2 1/3 C plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 oz dark chocolate (look for 60% cacao), cut into chip sized pieces (about 1 1/2 C total)
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter (8 oz), cut into small pieces
  • 1 C packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Sift the chocolate pieces in a mesh strainer to remove the chocolate dust.

Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. On medium, beat the sugars and butter together, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, until the mixture becomes light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed. Add vanilla. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate pieces.

On a large piece of plastic wrap, roll half the cookie dough into a log shape and wrap, tying off the ends of the log. Repeat with remaining dough. Freeze up to 2 weeks, refrigerate up to 5 days, or proceed with the recipe.

To bake, shape 2 Tbsp of the dough into a ball; place cookies-to-be 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, rotating the tray half way through, or until the edges are golden brown and the tops lose their shine. Let the cookies cool on the tray for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Note: Keller’s recipe called for five ounces of 55% cacao and five ounces of 70%; I split the difference and used 60%. I also added vanilla.

About scarpettakate

Scarpetta Dolcetto celebrates simple, seasonal, scratch home cookery.
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13 Responses to Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Christine Lee says:

    Wow these look delicious! I have a very special place in my tummy for chocolate chip cookies – there is nothing like a good chocolate chip cookie – yum!

    • Christine Lee says:

      Ooo – I had another thought. I have a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that I use which calls for melting the butter before adding to the sugars … any thoughts on that approach versus cold butter?

      • It’s smart! It’s a way to improve texture, by evaporating the water out of the butter and dissolving the sugars before baking. ATK’s recipe browns the butter when it’s melted, which gives it a strong nutty, toasty flavor. People are also cuckoo for Jacques Torres’ 36-hr recipe (see NYT), which accomplishes the same thing by letting the dough rest. (I can’t wait that long!) For simplicity’s sake, I like the standard creaming method.

        Giving the cookies a good bake, using good butter and using more brown sugar than white, as in Keller’s recipe, offers a lot of the chew and caramel-toffee notes that ATK is after.

  2. SFmatt says:

    as a former toll house loyalist, i have to say that this recipe converted me. plus, freezing the dough means mid-week fresh cookies. need i say more?

  3. Christine Lee says:

    Ooooo … I have an idea – Mitchell’s ice cream in the middle of two of these cookies – yum! And thanks Kate for the science cooking lesson – I did see that 36 hr NYT recipe – I thought the same thing – do not have the fortitude to wait that long for CC cookies!

  4. Mary says:

    These sound really special. I’m fascinated with your knowledge of food chemistry. I found my way here via the Foodbuzz Project Food Blog competition. I’ve been paging through your blog and really admire what you’ve done here. I’ll be back to see your entry for the next leg of the competition. Best of luck. Blessings…Mary

  5. biz319 says:

    I love that cookbook – I borrow it from my library because I didn’t want to shell out the $50 bucks it cost at Barnes & Noble. Shh….don’t tell anyone, but I just photocopied the recipes I wanted to make!

    • It’s so great, isn’t it? I have to try the fried chicken soon. I’m lucky to live an hour from ad hoc (I had a pork chop there that would knock your socks off), and lucky that my husband bought me a copy of the (signed!) cookbook for Christmas. Though I’ve logged in quite a few hours at the library photocopier myself. 😉

  6. Ishah says:

    Did ’em and they are a treat! Thanks Katie! I only found %70 cocoa and did all that, and it’s still all good. Then I added dried cherries and pecans to half and those are yummy too! xoxoxo

  7. Cecilia Oh says:

    I can completely relate to having “broken up” with homemade chocolate chip cookies. For years, I searched for the perfect recipe, experimenting with ingredients and volumes in an effort to get the right texture… I eventually gave up when my jeans wouldn’t zip up all the way 🙂 Anyway, I used this recipe over the weekend and loved the thickness and chewiness of these cookies. I guess I’ll just have to buy bigger jeans…

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