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.