Monday, December 19, 2011
Since it's now less than a week before the force of Christmas be with us, I reckon I'd better come clean about something. These chocolate chip cookies were really what I wanted to make for my friend Jikon visiting from Australia last month, not these. The reason was simple. I've been given these for my last birthday and they were definitely worth all of David Leite's effort to research for the ultimate.
They require you to lick your chocolate coated fingers after each cookie and then try very hard not to reach for the next one. Then there were those bits of sea salt flakes on top, courtesy of the ever wise Ms Greenspan. I kid you not, the night before our dinner appointment, I dreamt about these cookies in my sleep and quickly opened up my recipe bookmark as soon as I woke up.
That was when I discovered I completely forgot about the 36 hours resting requirement, and found that I didn't have bread flour in my (presumably but apparently not so) complete pantry. For a split second I entertained the thought of modifying the recipe but dismissed the obviously desperate insensibility. I wanted the ultimate, not the common.
As a result of my lack of planning, Jikon had to live with healthy morsels of blueberry, pecan and oats instead of these crack-like rounds of sweet toffee crunch laced with layers of oozing dark chocolate and the occasional hit of what tasted like the Dead Sea when you hit those sea salt flakes. Perhaps next time, all the more reason for him to come again.
I made these before we left for Lake Toba and baked them after 24 hours of development. It wasn't because I couldn't wait for just another 12 hours, it was that I'd be at work on hour 36, then packing for the trip on hour 48. So it had to be 24 hours. Apparently it was the minimum requirement for the toffee flavor to mature. I wouldn't know for sure because I forgot to bake some the night the dough was mixed just to research myself. If you've baked these before I'm sure you have. Luckily for me, I had patience and am not really a raw cookie dough person. But let me tell you also, the results were worth the wait, especially if you bite some off warm. I skipped dinner the night these were baked. I think I had two. Only my dress size stopped further destruction.
As I continue to plague you this month with an onslaught of cookie posts, this will be something chocolate to fill your jar or season greetings gift boxes. Speaking of giving, don't worry if you suddenly find that your sharing spirit has left the building after eating this for the first time. It happened to Deb, it happened to me, it will happen to you. When that happens, may the force of Yuletide be with you, so your loved ones can get lucky.
David Leite's Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie [Printer Friendly Version]
Adapted barely from Deb Perelman's Smitten Kitchen, original recipe from David Leite via The New York Times.
Yield: 3 1/2 dozen 4-inch cookies.
Notes: If you're wondering about the seemingly huge yield, let me tell assure you my cookie dough did not mutate or multiply in the space of 24 hours. As per the comments of many who tried the recipe, the yield stated in the NYT article was inaccurate - even if you bake 5-inch cookies. Like Deb, I find the size of 4-inch cookies the best - they weigh about 2 ounces each (yes, I weighed each ball, hello OCD baker!). Stand the dough for about 10-15 minutes out of the fridge before rolling. Alternatively you can use Orangette's approach to roll out the balls prior to resting the dough.
There's no need to force coarse salt through a sieve, just mix them in with the rest of the sieved ingredients. I used a mixture of Valrhona's Araguani 72% and Abinao 85% chocolate fèves. If these are not available to you, look for other couverture chocolate discs which melt when baked, not the standard chocolate chips that keep their shape. The results would be different, as the traditional chips will not provide you Torres's 'layers of chocolate and cookie in every bite'.
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons/8 1/2 ounces cake flour
- 1 2/3 cups/8 1/2 ounces bread flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 1/2 sticks/1 1/4 cups/10 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups/10 ounces light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/8 ounces castor sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 pounds/20 ounces bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60% cacao content
- Sea salt flakes
Sift flours, baking soda and baking powder into a bowl. Add the course salt to the mixture and set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Fold chocolate pieces in and try to incorporate without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. [Dough may be baked in batches and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.]
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F with the wire rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
Scoop 6 2-ounce balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt flakes and bake until golden brown but still soft, about 18 to 20 minutes (mine took exactly 18 minutes). Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let stand for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with as much of the remaining dough you wish, refrigerate the rest if not using all. Eat warm, with a paper napkin (as you can see, it will get pleasingly messy).
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