Do you guys remember that episode of Friends where Monica goes crazy trying to replicate Phoebe’s grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe so she could be the mom who baked the best cookies in the world? And in the end it turns out that the recipe was on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse bag the entire time, so Monica had to resign herself to being the mom who makes the best duck confit with brocoli rabe? Turns out Monica didn’t have to worry, because in 2008 the best chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world was published in the New York Times by Jacque Torres. This recipe is literally, all over the internet. I’ve been making it for years, and I have never ever strayed from it. Mr. Torres is a genius, and you don’t mess with perfection. So why am I writing about this recipe if it’s all over the blogsophere already? Well 1) I always have friends who ask me for the recipe and I thought I could trick them into reading this blog if I posted a link to it here, and 2) I wanted an excuse to make these and experiment with the chill time.
The recipe says to let it chill for at least 24 hours, to allow the dry ingredients to fully absorb the wet ingredients. I’ve always baked them after 24 hours, because resisting a big bowl of cookie dough for 24 hours is like, super human levels of self control already. (Confession: I’ve also baked them after only an hour of refrigeration as well, and they were still fantastic, but 23 hours later, there is a definite difference in texture and flavour) The other day, I decided to exercise that restraint and wait the full 36 hours.
And you know what? It was totally worth it, they are distinctly more flavourful at 36 hours. Don’t get me wrong, they are amazing at 24 hours, but an extra 12 hours lets the flavours really develop. They are rich, and so caramelly I swear you get notes of toffee. But it’s the texture of these cookies that really make it for me, they are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, soft, but not cakey. And the sea salt on top just take it that extra mile to perfection. (I always use fleur de sel, I love the delicate crunch of the flakes compared to regular chunky sea salt)
There are a couple things to note, when you first read the recipe it seems more complicated than a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe, but it’s really not.
Mr. Torres says to use chocolate fèves instead of chips, you can buy these at Whole Foods and probably a couple other specialty stores in the area (but not Galloways, which was disappointing), but I rarely have the foresight to purchase these ahead of time because when the craving for these cookies hit, the idea of going to a Whole Foods to buy chocolate fèves and then making the dough and waiting 24-36 hours is absolutely ludicrous. The fèves do some dreamy cookies, with layers of chocolate in them, but worry not, because as long as you have some good quality chocolate chips they will still be amazing. When I say good quality, I mean big ones, with 60% cocoa or more. I tried them this time with regular semi-sweet chips at the request of a friend who dislikes dark chocolate and while the cookie itself was still delicious, the dark chocolate definitely take it to a whole other level.
This recipe also requires two types of flour, cake and bread, which you might not have them on hand if you don’t have pantry issues like me (I have 5 types of flour in my pantry right now, and I used my last batch of cake flour for this recipe). Go to your grocery store right now and pick some up. Regular all purpose flour will NOT do. It’s the gluten in the bread flour that makes it so chewy, and the lightness of the cake flour that brings it back from being too dense. Or something like that, what do I know? I’m not a food scientist. I was just saying words that sound good. But that sounds totally believable right?
One last thing, The first time I made these, I felt like the golf ball sized chunks of cookie dough were way too big, but just do it. Small cookies suck. They get all dry and crunchy, instead of rich and gooey like these big guys will be. If you’re worried about portion sizes, just…don’t. Trust me, you won’t be able to eat just one of these. This recipe bakes up a ton of cookies, and I always package them up RIGHT away and start giving them to people because I will eat the whole batch if they’re just left on a plate.
…I still ate five whole cookies, even with the pre-emptive packaging. But I’m just going to blame it on exam stress and pretend it never happened, and you should too.