Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

A couple people have told me that the chocolate chip cookies at The City Bakery are the best in NYC, in fact some go as far to say they are the best chocolate chip cookie they have ever had. I finally tried one a few months ago. To be honest, I was majorly disappointed and thought, "I can make a better cookie than this." Overall, the cookie had a strange aftertaste and greasy consistency. I couldn't figure out what kind of fat they baked the cookie with. The only props I could give the large cookie was for its great texture - a combination of crunchy edges and a chewy soft center. I wouldn't discourage one from trying the cookie, and I would definitely go back to the bakery for their hot chocolate, which I heard is like "drinking a liquid chocolate bar."

City Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie
Last week, I finally got around to making my own chocolate chip cookies, which I hadn'tmade since Christmas. I have done a lot of reading about how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and it is overwhelming to read everyone's opinion on the matter. I use the original Toll House cookie recipe as my foundation and tweak from there (Click here for original recipe). For instance, I like to buy chocolate bars so I can control the size of my chips, I like to more sugar so I get a crispier cookie, etc. The beauty of the chocolate chip cookie is that it is universal, but at the same time uniquely yours.

One key process I do is I let the cookie dough marinate in the refrigerator up to 36 hours. The article by David Leite, "Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie" in The New York Times, convinced me to do so, and I highly recommend reading the article. Click here to read. I also like to sprinkle my cookies with sea salt right before I place them in the oven, which the article also suggests. The sweet and salty combination is delicious.

Here are the ingredients for Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies:
-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
-1 cup granulated sugar
-3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown)
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2 large eggs
-1 1/2 cups walnuts, medium chop
-2 1/2 bars of semi-sweet chocolate (10 ounces), chopped into large, medium, and small chips
-Sea salt for sprinkling (Any coarse salt works too)

To begin, whisk flour, salt, and baking soda in small bowl, set aside.
With a hand mixer beat butter, sugars, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture to create dough.
Chop walnuts into medium pieces. Take 1 whole chocolate bar and chop into large chunks. Take another whole chocolate bar and chop into medium chunks. Take half of the last chocolate bar and chop into small pieces.
Add and nuts and chocolate to the dough and stir with spatula or wooden spoon to combine.
Refrigerate dough up to 36 hours so flavors can meld.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing the mounds about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle tops with coarse salt.
Bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, but I am sure the cookies won't last a week :)
For Martha Stewart's "Chocolate Chip Cookie 101," click here.

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