Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ad Hoc chocolate chip cookies

Are you always in search of the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe? It seems to me, from wasting time online my extensive research, that folks want a very chewy cookie. Caky is bad. Too thin and crisp is usually bad. So, basically we are looking for warm cookie dough, I think. Have I got my finger on the pulse of chocolate chip cookie lovers? Or is that a bit too personal?
Anyway, I was looking for something to make for the Ottawa Foodies potluck that happened recently. I had to work that morning, so it couldn't be too elaborate. It needed to be portable and not require any serving utensils, because I was too lazy to bring my own. So, cookies it was. I made a double batch of dough the night before and finished baking them seconds before I ran out the door, only an hour late. After reading Valerie's post on the cookies I decided to reduce the flour by a fair bit, as I did want the chewiest cookies possible. That made my cookies much flatter than hers, but I loved the texture, even a couple of days later. Yes, I kept tasting in the service of sharing my findings with you. I'm unselfish that way.
I froze the leftover dough and baked them to send to a friend for her birthday. I underbaked them, hoping they'd still be somewhat soft when Canada Post finished mangling them. Amazingly, they survived the journey. This batch wasn't as flat as the first batch, but the only picture I got were of the ones I forgot in the oven and didn't mail! They are brown and crisper, but still very good.
The overdone batch: dark and crispy
Oh, and what is with cookie yields? This recipe apparently makes 30 3-inch cookies, and I doubled it, expecting 60 or so. I used EXACTLY the measure called for and got about 100. Here's the recipe:

Chocolate chip cookies
from Ad Hoc at Home, by Thomas Keller

2⅓ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 ounces 55% chocolate, cut into chip-sized pieces (about 1¼ cups) I replaced this with milk chocolate
5 ounces 70 to 72% chocolate, cut as above  I used 72%
8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces *
1 cup packed dark brown sugar, preferably molasses sugar. I added a dollop of molasses to brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
Vanilla--not in recipe, but I couldn't help adding it

*I just noticed the 'cold' as I was typing. Maybe that's why mine were flatter. Oops.

For chewier cookies, instead of underbaking them, Keller recommends misting them with water before baking. I tried it, but couldn't tell the difference between those and the unmisted ones, so didn't bother after the first tray.

Preheat oven to 350℉. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpats or parchment.
Sift the flour and baking soda together and stir in the salt.
Put the chopped chocolate into a fine-mesh strainer and shake to remove any chocolate 'dust'.
Beat half the butter until fairly smooth. Add both sugars the remaining butter, and beat until well combined, then beat for a few minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding the next, and scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine. Mix in the chocolate, and fold with a spatula to ensure that the chocolate is evenly incorporated.
Using 2 level tablespoons per cookie, shape the dough into balls. Arrange 8 cookies on each pan, leaving about 2 inches between them, as dough will spread. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny, rotating pans and switching racks if you are baking 2 trays at once.
Cool the cookies on the pan on cooling racks for about 2 minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
The dough or shaped cookies can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Defrost frozen cookies in the fridge before baking.
Apparently makes 30 3-inch cookies, but I got substantially more than that.
The original batch: paler, flatter and chewier. Cloudier that day, too.


Valerie Gamine said...

I thought my blog-radar picked up on a chocolate chip cookie post! :D

Your cookies look perfect! Good idea to reduce the amount of flour. The next time I make these, and there will be a next time, I'll try your version. I've learned that no matter how undercooked you think c.c. cookies may look right out of the oven, they will be just-right by the next day...or hour.

Laurie {Simply Scratch} said...

Mary I literally just made chocolate chip cookies... like the dishes are still in the sink, I really wish I saw this before I made them... however I will be trying this very soon! I love how they have two different kind of chocolate in them... wonderful post!

RamblingTart said...

How scrumptious! :-) I just found a bag of chocolate chip cookies in my freezer and I can't tell you how happy I was! Yours look perfectly chewy - just the way I like them. :-)

Ms. Meanie said...

I have seen these cookies all over and they look fabulous. I must try them. Thanks for all the tips. I am like you -- I wouldn't be able to resist the vanilla addition. Oh, it's also nice to know you got so many cookies out of this recipe. Makes me feel less badly about using a half pound of butter! :P

cocoa and coconut said...

I can never turn down a choc chip cookie!


They look pretty perfect to me! Although I have a few secret ingredients I like to add to mine. I'm always willing to try new possibilities!

Baking Addict said...

I am always on the hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

These look so delicious, but then again Thomas Keller is a genius! And I have to say that the batch you say it is over baked looks scrumptious too. Thanks for visiting my blog and giving me the opportunity to visit yours for the first time.

PS. Love your header; super cute!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I prefer chewy choc chip cookies so you've got our votes. Most choc chip cookies I've tasted that are supposed to be good, Ms Greenspan's one included, have a strong taste of alkaline from the baking soda. How did these taste, texture aside?

Paula said...

100 cookies??? Too bad I wasn't in the area to help you eat some of those.

BTW,sounds like you and mean do "research" pretty much the same way.

Diana said...

Those cookies look delicious! I am still searching for my quintessential chocolate chip cookie recipe and I can't wait to try this one!

Valérie said...

I think the "perfect cookie" varies according to trends. Personally, I like chewey, but I also like crisp and crumbly... Go figure. Either way, all your cookies look really tempting!