Posted by Stephanie Simpson on
These were going to be some of the best chocolate chip cookies ever.
(A bold thing to say, I know, given that there are hundreds of recipes for this standard sweet. But this isn’t just a recipe; it’s the culmination of six months of research on the part of the recipe’s creator, award-winning food writer, David Leite. After the recipe appeared in the New York Times, bakers pretty much everywhere said the same thing: Leite had created chocolate chip cookie perfection.)
But then I came along.
Between getting ready to move and working what-feels-like eight zillion hours a week, I haven’t had a ton of time for, you know, sleep. But my sister and brother-in-law are on their way home from a month in Argentina and I wanted to make them something homey to ring in their return. And what better to do the job than a classic, comforting cookie that promised to be perfect?
So I pushed fatigue aside and made some. Properly. Sort of.
- I sought out the cake and bread flours that would lend the cookies both tenderness and chewiness.
- I splurged on as many Valrhona couverture chocolate disks - to create melty chocolate-stratification deliciousness (the official terminology) - as my bank account could bear.
- I ditched my measuring cups and opted for the more precise method of weighing ingredients.
- I let the dough rest for the recommended 36 hours - a bakery trade secret that improves the flavour, texture and colour of the cookie substantially.
- And, as instructed, I made behemoth cookies large enough to provide three key textures: a crispy edge, a chewy middle, and a soft, gooey centre.
And I forgot a cup of sugar.
And I forgot to sprinkle sea salt on most of the cookies.
And I burnt a few.
My sleep deprivation-induced errors left me with little chocolate chip cakes rather than blow-your-mind crispy-chewy-gooey cookies. Impressively though, they’re still good.
But because of all of the research that went into the recipe, and the wave of extraordinary reviews that followed its release, I’m pretty confident that if you whip up a batch of these properly (they’re dead simple, by the way), you’ll surpass good and find yourself in chocolate chip cookie nirvana.
And as soon as I’ve managed to sleep, I’ll be doing the same. In the mean time, you can find me napping at the Arrivals gate of the airport with a jar of pickles and a handful of muddled cookies in hand.
Safe travels, Lauren and Rob - I can’t wait to see you!
David Leite’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Leite’s Culinaria
Makes 18-24 gigantic cookies (Doesn’t sound like much, but the recipe makes pounds of dough. Extra dough/cookies can be stored in the freezer!)
2 cups minus 2 tbsp (8.5 oz) cake flour
1⅔ cups (8.5 oz) bread flour
1¼ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp Kosher salt
1¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups (10 oz) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (8 oz) white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1¼ lbs bittersweet chocolate disks/fèves (min. 60% cacao content) (I used a mix of disks and good-quality chocolate chunks and chips)
1. In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a handheld mixer), cream butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. Turn mixer off.
2. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Turn mixer onto low speed and mix just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the butter mixture. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate just until chocolate is evenly dispersed through batter, taking care not to break the discs. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-72 hours.**
3. Preheat oven to 350°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Remove dough from fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or until it’s just soft enough to scoop. Form dough into six 1/3 cup-sized balls (3.5 oz or 100g, to be exact), evenly space on prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle each ball with a pinch of sea salt. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown but centres are still soft. Cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes (less time if you’ve made smaller cookies), then transfer to a wire rack to cool some more. Repeat with remaining dough.
*The ingredients in this recipe were carefully selected to deliver an incredible cookie, so I don’t want to start suggesting you change things up. That being said, it looks like people have had success substituting the cake and bread flours with ~3.75 cups (17 oz) of all-purpose flour, and the chocolate disks with more accessible kinds of chocolate, from high-quality bars to standard chocolate chips. But when perfection is up for grabs, I’d recommend trying the original recipe at least once!
**If you don’t intend on making all the cookies at once, I’d suggest divvying up the dough into a few separate batches at this point. In the next step, you’ll be letting the dough warm up a bit and if you start re-refrigerating it over and over, you’re bound to end up with food safety issues on your hands. Not fun!