Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mr Chocolate meets Cookie Monster

Greetings from the snowy tri-state! It seems like a good day to talk about baking, no? Pulling something warm out of the oven seems like the best way to ride out a blizzard. 

I'm a third generation chocoholic. In fact, my family takes our addiction to love of chocolate so seriously that Mom Muse's New Year's resolution for 2011 is to always have chocolate in the house; serious words from one who has be known to carry a bag of m&m's "in case of an emergency."

But me, well, I'm more of a chocolate chip cookie/brownie fiend as opposed to a candy lover. And, about two years ago, I blogged about chocolate chip cookies, putting an article in the NY Times that suggested that resting the dough makes a better cookie to the test. It was a three part experiment (one, two, three) and it does actually make a difference. At the time, I just used the Nestle's Tollhouse recipe. However, I always meant to go back and try the recipe by Jacques Torres, aka Mr Chocolate, that was included with the article.

Batch 1: made with jumbo chips and no nuts
Well, I finally tried out Jacques' recipe over the holidays. I noticed that it had been included in the new Essential New York Times Cookbook which I gave to Phineas for Christmas, and then promptly began using myself. The results: excellent! This is my kind of recipe. It calls for specific ingredients (both bread and cake flours), doesn't skimp on the process (cream for 5 minutes, rest dough for 24 hrs+), and adds a few masterstrokes (a sprinkle of sea salt right before baking).

For the first batch, I stuck to the recipe and even used large flat chips, similar to the "feves" that Mr Chocolate recommends. Those cookies flew out the door over the holidays. For my second batch, baked up on Monday night, I used regular size chips, added walnuts (one cup or so) and cut the amount of white sugar by half (so, cut back total sugar by about 1/4). To my taste, the second batch is even better than the first. I'm eating cookies as I write this, and boy-oh-boy is my inner Cookie Monster purring!

Batch 2: With nuts and regular size chips
My tips for this recipe are: 
  • Chocolate matters: I use Guittard Semisweet Chocolate, my preferred chip, which I get at Whole Foods. Once you try Guittard, there is just no going back to a Hershey or Nestle's chip. 
  • Do not skimp on creaming the butter and sugar. Five minutes at least! Do this for all of your baking and you will see lighter, better textured results. 
  • Unless you want a cookie that is a meal, the ginormous 5" cookies that the recipe suggests are ridiculous. I made 1 1/2" cookies and shortened the baking time to 9-10 minutes. It made 5-6 dozen cookies (um, not counting the dough that got "sampled" along the way).
  • Rest your dough over night at the very least, but 36-48 hours really is the sweet spot for gorgeously browned, complexly flavored cookies. I also find that, given my busy life, it's easier to spread making the dough and baking the cookies over a few days. I don't have to commit a whole evening to the project. 
Anyway, if you crave a really gooey and good chocolate chip cookie, this is a winner. If you don't think you have the will power to not gobble the dough while it rests, well, who am I to judge? Either way, your inner Cookie Monster will thank you and your kitchen will feel and smell all warm and cosy.

1 comment:

Robvi Hunt said...

this sounds GUUD! O_O