Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies have taken the blogging world by storm since the beginning of time. I've probably tried 5 or 6 different variations, some stuffed with nutella, many with browned butter, and usually I have just stayed with a recipe handed down by my aunt. But when Deb of Smitten Kitchen posted this recipe...no...this PICTURE, I literally couldn't get it out of my mind.

It took totaling my car and feeling like absolute crap to actually tip the scales in favor of making them, but I'm glad I did because friends, nothing soothes the soul like a nice, soft chocolate chip cookie. I liked this recipe for a few reasons: the baking temperature is weird and I like weird things, as someone keeps tell me. Or maybe it's more that I am weird. Same difference, really. Anyway...I also liked that she used chunks. I've never used Trader Joe's Pound Plus before, but if Deb says it's good, I am willing to give it a try. I got the dark chocolate (they also have 60% cacao and milk) and really liked it - not too sweet but definitely overpowering thanks to the recipe calling for 1/2 pound of it. Finally, my personal test of whether or not I like a cookie recipe is how they taste the next day: I hate that stale, crunchy exterior-next day-cookie taste. But seeing as I'm sitting here munching on one 3 days after making it, happy as a clam, I'd say we're good on that front.

I didn't change the recipe at all, except I used 2 Tbs granulated sugar in lieu of turbinado (didn't have any: I am a grad student/I am moving/due to afore mentioned car accident I was afraid to go to the grocery store). I also sprinkled with Himalayan pink rock salt, finely crushed, instead of sea salt (see reasons mentioned in last sentence). I liked the added saltiness, personally, but I shared these with some compadres who asked if I'd done something different with them and they asked in that way that really means, "These were a little salty." So maybe I do need the sea salt.

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies (this is Deb's recipe, straight from her blog) with my opinions inserted

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (or, she says, you can use it out of the fridge and beat the heck out of it to make it room temperature. I usually speed defrost it for 10-15 seconds and it's fine)
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (25 grams) turbinado sugar (aka Sugar in the Raw; you can use more brown or white if you don’t have this, but the subtle crunch it adds is delightful) - I used white
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (165 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon (or, technically, 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon) fine sea or table salt
1 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 pound (225 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, cut into roughly 1/2-inch chunks with a serrated knife
Flaky sea salt, to finish

Heat oven to 360°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, beating until incorporated, and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in salt fine sea or table salt and baking soda until combined, then the flour on a low speed until just mixed. The dough will look crumbly at this point. With a spatula, fold/stir in the chocolate chunks. 

Scoop cookies into 1 1/2 tablespoon mounds, spacing them apart on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with a few flakes of sea salt. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, until golden on the outside but still very gooey and soft inside. Out of the oven, let rest on baking sheet out of the for 5 minutes before transferring a cooling rack.

Extra dough can be formed into scoops and frozen on a sheet until solid, then transferred to a freezer bag. I’ve baked these right from the freezer; they need, at most, 1 minute more baking time. You could also form them into a 2-inch log, freeze it, and slice and bake the cookies off as desired. The only difference I’ve noted between the cookies baked right away and those baked a day or more later is that the older cookie dough is less puffy when baked.

Store in a Tupperware with the lid tightly closed for maximum chewiness the next day.