Monday, August 11, 2008

Yes, Yes

Yes, I do what The New York Times tells me to do. I am just that kind of Eastern liberal Jew. A few weeks ago, the Times ordered me in no uncertain terms to make cookie dough, and then leave it in the refrigerator for days on end, sprinkle it with salt, and bake it. Twist my arm, paper of record, why don't you?

The cookies were good. They were great, they were classic. I have no idea if the long cold rest was good for them because I didn't make a control batch. My self-discipline is legendary. There is no one go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and there never will be unless they go out of style. But every new notch on the belt is a step in the right direction.

Here, slightly adapted, is the recipe that they said was going to be the next no-knead bread. I doubt that, honestly, in that most people already make chocolate chip cookies and the no-knead bread phenomenon was fueled mostly by eager first timers. Still, good recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Jacques Torres and The New York Times

2 1/3 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate, shaved or cut into small pieces

Sea salt.

1. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

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