When you mention Jaques Torres one thing comes to mind: CHOCOLATE (really.good.chocolate). So when I finally stumbled across the New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe (and all the subsequent postings that everyone else seems to have done on it) I knew I had to make it.
I don’t make homemade cookies very often. I don’t buy cookies much either. It’s not that I don’t like cookies…quite the contrary…I really like cookies, especially the oatmeal variety. But cookies are a big pain in the rear to make. Multiple pans in and out of the oven, a bunch of gooey, slippery dishes to clean up and then finding a place to store the cookies so they don’t get stale. I suppose if I had kids, I’d probably make more of them. But since I hate doing dishes and I really hate not fitting into my clothes, I very rarely bake cookies. Although liquid lemon bars are certainly in my repertoire. (Easy cleanup on that one.)
But one of my “children,” aka Craig, was complaining about having a really bad chocolate craving. After two or three days he had completely driven me insane with his whining, complaining and muttering under his breath. I tell people that between he and the dog, there is no way I could fit a kid in there. Modern medicine has not created a pill effective enough for my brain to handle that hot mess. And if you could see how the dog is with Craig, you wouldn’t say things like “oh, your husband would help you with the kids.” She has him wrapped so tight around her little dew claw, it’s pathetic. Most days, the only way you can tell the twins (Craig and the dog) apart, is because one of them has a curly tail.
I knew his incessant whining required homemade cookies (store bought just wasn’t going to cut it if a bag of M&M’s didn’t solve his chocolate craving), but my go to Nestle Toll House cookie recipe probably wasn’t going to be enough either. And if I was going to be making cookies dammit, I was going to make the best chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world (or at least the best one I could find).
This recipe doesn’t require any special equipment, ingredients or bloody sacrifices to make (even though it comes from a chef and The New York Times). The only thing really special about the recipe, is that it needs to be chilled for 24 – 36 hours after the dough is made and before you turn it into the sweet and salty cookies. (It also calls for cake flour, but that’s easy to find in pretty much any market.) So yeah, I’d say that’s pretty easy. It’s really easy if your, apparently, PMS’ing husband doesn’t find the dough in the refrigerator first.
Letting the dough sit overnight allows all of the dry ingredients to absorb all of the wet ingredients, so thing are nicely mixed and flavor saturated. And apparently if left unguarded, it also leaves it susceptible to insatiable appetites. I highly suggest you put an alarm on your refrigerator door once you put the dough in there to chill.
These cookies are the type of chocolate chip cookie you dream about. They’re chock full of chocolate, they’re big (5″ cookies), they’ve got crunchy edges that morph into a rich chewy center and the perfect mixture of sweet and salty. Before you bake them, they get a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt. By now you are more than familiar with that sweet and salty combination and how fantastic it is.
Oh, and Jaques Torres. The man knows his way around a cacao bean. Seriously, he makes his own chocolate from bean to bar. I have been making his chocolate truffles recipe, at Christmas, for years. Of course, he’s married to another amazing chocolatier, Hasty Torres. She has a beautiful shop in Beverly Hills where they serve, I presume, this same cookie recipe. I always pick up a couple when I’m there…they’re just that good. I also make a cocoa nib brittle from one of Hasty’s recipes.
I can’t recommend these cookies any more highly. And if you do a Google search on the recipe, you’ll see there are hundreds more with the same recommendation.
Speaking of boys PMS’ing….Did you know that guys care about what they eat? And I’m not just talking about athlete type guys either…I’m talking about regular guys.
I’ve been getting e-mails, from guys, lately asking me food and relationship questions. Which, since that’s what this site is about, makes me kind of excited. So I thought I would answer a couple of them here.
Q. I’ve been chatting with this girl for a couple of weeks, online, and now I’m going to ask her out. She’s funny and casual so I was thinking about taking her to this local place that serves great beer, burgers and pizza. I think it fits perfectly with her personality (and I love the place). What do you think?
A. Seriously, that’s the best you can come up with? What do I think? I think you’re not thinking and just taking the easy way out. You’re trying to make an impression on this girl. If you’re both casual, that’s fine, but unless your first “date” is taking place after you were both doing keg stands and playing beer pong for 6 hours straight, you should be taking this girl to someplace that requires you both to eat with utensils for a first date. There’s lots of websites that can help you find a nice, yet casual, restaurant in your area. Besides, it’s not really fair to her if you go to a place that you feel really comfortable in, and she’s not. So quit being lazy and put a little thought and effort into this date.
Q. One night, in a red wine induced haze, I promised my girlfriend that I would cook dinner for her. I went on and on how good a cook I was and she called me out on it. The problem is – I can’t cook. So I ordered takeout from somewhere and dirtied up some pots and pans and she busted me. Now she’s mad and is demanding I cook her dinner. But she says she’s going to be there when I cook it, to make sure that I don’t pull the same stunt. HELP!!!!!
A. When are you guys ever going to learn that you’re not smarter than women. We’re the sneaky one’s, not you. Well, if you can’t cook you need a simple recipe. So let’s stay away from any big cuts of meat. There’s a couple of options for you that would be easy and not require you to need any special equipment or cooking skills. I’m thinking braised short ribs (if she’s a meat eating girl) or pasta with homemade sauce (just leave out the meat if she’s not a meat eater). Make a nice green salad, add a bottle of red wine and maybe a loaf of bread and you’re all set. Next time you feel your testosterone levels bubbling up, use them to show her how much you love her and not for running your mouth.
Recipe: Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- 2 Cups Minus 2 Tablespoons Cake Flour (I used pastry flour)
- 1 2/3 Cups Bread Flour (I used all purpose flour)
- 1 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Coarse Salt (I used kosher salt)
- 2 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
- 1 1/4 Cups Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/4 Pounds Bittersweet Chocolate Disks, at least 60 percent cacao content (I used a combination of Nestle Dark Chocolate Chips and Ghirardelli bittersweet chips)
- Sea Salt
- Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
- Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light in color, about 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and then add in the vanilla.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in thirds. Mix until dry ingredients are just combined. Don’t over mix.
- Add the chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. (Do this by stirring them in with a wooden spoon, the mixer will beat them up.)
- Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
- Measure out 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls). Roll into balls and place onto baking sheet. Leave 2 inches between each cookie so they don’t crowd each other.
- Make sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up (if you are using the disks); it will make for a more attractive cookie.
- Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then use a spatula to move cookies onto another cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining dough.
- Eat while warm.
This makes between 16 and 18 5 inch cookies.
Preparation time: 45 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 12
Culinary tradition: USA (General)