It seems I keep reading about chocolate chip cookies – David Lebovitz had a recipe for salted butter chocolate chip cookies and Tartelette had one for 36 hour gluten-free cookies. A few clicks later and I was suddenly reading an article from The New York Times on the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. According to The New York Times’ research, the key elements of a delicious chocolate chip cookie are as follows:
- serve the cookies warm;
- use good quality chocolate, with a high percentage of cocoa (at least 60%). For an even better cookie, use chocolate féves, which are thin discs of chocolate and which will melt better, resulting in layers of chocolate in the cookie;
- have a high ratio of chocolate chips to dough (the cookie should be between 40-60% chocolate);
- make a large cookie so that there are three distinct textural elements – gooey centre, crisp outer and a strata in the middle where gooey mixes with crunchy;
- add some salt to take away the sweetness of the cookie; and
- rest the dough for 36 hours before baking it.
I was fine with all the tips except for the 36 hour one. As I have mentioned previously, I have a ‘want it now’ mentality when it comes to cooking. The whole concept of finding time to make a batch of dough but not getting to eat the results for several days was just too much for me. I planned to make these on 3 occasions before I actually got around to it… and even when I did get around to it, I confess, I didn’t immediately wait the 36 hours (oh, the shame!). I made the cookie dough, chilled it for a couple of hours, then made a batch of 8 cookies, before resting the dough another 30 odd hours and baking another batch. I rationalised that in baking some immediately and some after the correct chilling period, I could test the theory and determine whether it is worth the wait.
Saskia and I carefully tasted the cookie from the dough that was cooked almost immediately (about 2-3 hours rest time) and the cookie from the dough that had had the full 36 hour treatment. To be honest, there wasn’t a huge difference between them. The New York Times commented that the batch which had been rested for 36 hours baked up much browner than the other batches and had a richer, more toffee like flavour. Our first batch still browned very nicely and as to the toffee notes, there really wasn’t too much of a difference as far as we could tell. My recommendation would be to rest the dough for as long as you can, but don’t get too concerned about the precise timing. These babies were delicious after the dough had been given a short rest and they were delicious later on too.
Spelt chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from The New York Times.
Makes approximately 25 cookies – while this is a lot, I wouldn’t reduce the quantities as the cookies are delicious and the dough will freeze well. After an epic two days of cookie eating, I’m happy to have a rest from them and bake my last 8 another time, straight from the freezer. Yum.
480g plain flour (or 580g if using spelt flour)
1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
280g brown sugar
225g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
570g chocolate, chopped (I used a mixture of dark chocolate (80% cocoa) and milk chocolate as I had that on hand)
- Sift flour, bicarb soda and baking powder into a large bowl, stir to combine, add a pinch of sea salt and then set aside.
- In an electric mixer, mix butter and both sugars until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
- Add in the vanilla.
- Add in the flour mixture in a couple of batches and mix on low speed until just combined. Tip the chocolate pieces in and stir by hand until the chocolate is mixed throughout.
- Form the dough into a ball and refrigerate, 36 hours is best and you can leave it for up to 72 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C.
- Scoop the dough and form into large, knobbly golf-balls. I found it more difficult to shape the dough after it had been chilled for a longer period and used a knife to prise the dough apart, before shaping with my hands. Place the cookies on a tray lined with baking paper, with lots of space between them (I baked batches of 4 to a tray).
- Sprinkle the cookies with sea salt.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown but still soft.
- Cool on a wire rack and then eat, still warm. Yum!