Achieving a state of higher consciousness through a chocolate chip cookie?
Wouldn't it be grand indeed!
cross-section of a cookie: see the dark and white chocolate strata? pretty neat, eh?
Jacques Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, from his gorgeous book A Year in Chocolate: 80 recipes for Holidays and Special Occasions, is such a vehicle to deliver you to cookie nirvana.
You will be enlightened by the delicately crispy exterior that yields to a slightly chewy interior. Unrefrigerated dough baked straight from my mixer yielded a flatter, more uniform cookie. After refrigeration for a few hours, the cookies were more chunky-looking but just as tasty.
The chocolate chip cookies are meant to be gargantuan so as to achieve the proper texture. I made the 3 inch cookie ball doughs and was rewarded with baked cookies that were about 5 inches in diameter. The cookie below was from my first unrefrigerated batch, made straight from the mixer and the above cookies were made from 3-inch balls of refrigerated dough.
The first batch of unrefrigerated dough yielded a baked cookie exterior that was deceptively smooth. It didn't even look like it had much chocolate in it. However, when you break one open, you can see the chocolate strata therein. I used real chocolate bars and not chips (which I think is so important for this cookie): Lindt Dark 85%, and Callebaut white chocolate chunks. The chocolate bars were just broken along their molded lines and since they were kind of big chunks, I found it easier to sandwich them between the raw cookie dough. I didn't want to break up the chocolate too much. I was rewarded by the lovely layers created by this technique.
How could I improve on Mr. Chocolate's fantastic chocolate chip cookie recipe? Well, my adaptation of Torres' recipe was to add white chocolate chunks, which I believe only improved the original recipe. The white chocolate added an almost sweet-nutty, creamy-vanilla sort of flavour and texture that contrasted well with the bitterness of the dark chocolate strata.
I think I overdid it with the amount of chocolate overall (yikes, did I just say that?) because when I adapted the recipe by adding white chocolate, I didn't really decrease the original amount called for in the recipe. There was barely enough cookie dough holding the chocolate together!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Nirvana
makes 3 dozen ridiculously large cookies
adapted from Jacques Torres' A Year in Chocolate
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour [I used organic, unbleached]
2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups plus 2 1/2 T granulated sugar [I used organic evaporated cane sugar]
3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-sized pieces [I used Lindt Dark(85%) chocolate bars and broke along the lines]
1 cup white chocolate pieces [I used Callebaut]
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have ready 2 nonstick cookie sheets, or line 2 regular cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
- In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and beat just until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture a little at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. When all of the flour mixture has been incorporated, remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate.
- To shape the cookies, using a tablespoon, scoop out a heaping spoonful of the dough and, using the palms of your hands, form it into a 3-inch ball. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven, transfer the cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.
- Store, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
- [cakebrained note: I keep prepared dough in their 3-inch ball shapes, refrigerated in a ziploc bag for a few days and bake as I need them. I only ever bake 6 cookies on a sheet at one time. This way you have a constant supply of fresh cookies. They're so good hot from the oven! Alternately, you can freeze the cookie balls too and keep them longer, but you may have to add a few minutes to the baking time]