This is what happens when you get a food craving so bad that drives you to the stove instead of a store. As I headed out for lunch last week at a nearby deli, I started thinking about the 5-inch chocolate chip cookies that I met on my last visit and how delicious they were. Warm and fresh out of the oven, they hit the counter just as the cashier rang up my sandwich, and it would have taken the worst of allergies for me to resist adding one of these soft brown discs to my order. Which I didn’t regret. Soft and chewy, every other bite peppered with a barely melted chocolate chunk, it was a freeway to Chocolate Chip Cookie heaven for all of the 10 minutes it took to finish that delicious dessert.
So it was with great anticipation that I placed my order for a Beef Lavash wrap and peeked into the kitchen for a hint of cookie sweetness. There was none to be found. It had been a good day for cookie consumption, perhaps more so than usual, and I was too late. Disappointment, arising from unmet expectations and aggravated by a ho-hum lunch, fuelled a sense of urgency that Chocolate Chip Cookies needed to be made. Now.
I don’t know why I’ve not attempted to make cookies previously, seeing how easy they are to put together. The whole process took me about 45 minutes from beginning to end, but what took the most amount of time was deciding which recipe to use.
I recently got my hands on Michael Ruhlman’s nifty book, Ratio, which has opened up a whole new world of recipe adjustments, adaptations and formulations for quick breads, cakes and batters. I’m a fan of figuring out the relative proportions of each ingredient in a recipe (particularly for desserts), so this book is straight up my alley. It’s like having a compass for recipes if you will, a toolkit for recipe development to bring kitchen experimentations to a whole new level.
For this cookie project, I tried Ruhlman’s formula for “1-2-3 cookie dough” (1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, 3 parts flour), with a mix of dark brown and white sugar, and equal parts white and almond flour, with interesting results: I found it a little too crunchy for my preference, and the grainy almond flour didn’t quite measure up to the Holy Grail of Chocolate Chip Cookies that I had in my mind. It was satisfying, but not good enough.
A few experiments later – which included replacing almond flour with 100% white, all-purpose flour, using more butter, less sugar, using all dark brown sugar – I finally found a combination that I liked, inspired by a recipe from Emily Luchetti, the doyenne (in my books) of mouth-watering desserts. These cookies fulfilled the moist and chewy factor and yet were a little crisp around the edges, bringing to mind the texture of Honey Tuiles. I wouldn’t go so far to say as this is my favorite Chocolate Chip cookie recipe ever, seeing that I have yet to try this popular formulation, but it definitely ranks close to the top of my list.
Now, I’m curious – what is your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?
Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (inspired by Emily Luchetti’s Classic Stars Desserts)
Makes about 40 cookies
My adaptation of this recipe features equal parts butter and sugar and a lower flour content, for a thin cookie that’s still soft and chewy without being cloyingly sweet. The original recipe includes vanilla extract and employs two types of brown sugar. Favoring simplicity, I stripped it down to the basics: flour, butter, sugar, eggs and, of course, good quality dark chocolate (60%). It’s a cookie meant for the purists in all of us, for those days when all you really need is a plain old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie.
8 ounces/ 227 grams unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces/ 227 grams dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
6 ounces/ 170 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces good quality dark chocolate chips or baking chocolate, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
Cream the butter in a stand mixer fixed with the paddle or beater attachment until smooth, then add the sugar in batches, mixing on medium speed until evenly distributed. Add the eggs, one at a time, ensuring that each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.
Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into a separate bowl and slowly fold it into the butter/sugar mix with a spatula. Add the chocolate bits/chips until evenly distributed.
Spoon the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving them 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, rotating the pans at the 6 minute mark for even baking. The cookies are done when their tops are golden brown with a darkened, crisp rim. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and eat immediately.
Before you go, celebrate Bon Vivant’s first anniversary by joining our first giveaway!
Share your proudest moment in the past year and stand a chance to win a year’s subscription to Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine – 12 months of insanely beautiful food styling and photography paired with inventive recipes delivered to your doorstep. The contest closes at Midnight Pacific Time on Sunday May 23, so hurry along!