My NOT favorite but still pretty good chocolate chip cookie~

10 Oct

I came across the recipe for these on Pinterest and was instantly amazed. The picture for them looked like no cookie I’d ever seen before, all smooth, mired with chocolate; the sugary landscape boasted perfect hills and valleys that begged to be dug into. They also seemed so exotic, being made with bread and pastry flours instead of the typical all-purpose flour. Even from my own picture, you can see the cracks, nooks, and crannys. They have a look no other cookie I’ve ever made has (which is due in large thanks to the variant in flours).

I was NOT originally going to post these, as they were definitely a big experiment for me. It was my first time baking with flours other than all-purpose flour. Sadly, I’ve never made bread, and I’ve never made cakes or any other treat from pastry flour, as it’s probably intended for. But I figured, why not post it anyway? That’s part of the point of this blog – to grow, and document my growth as a baker and chef. Writing about the recipes and process I go through encourages me to research and allows me to reflect on what works, what doesn’t, and how/where I can improve. Experiments, more so than complete successes, should be shared more excitedly, I think! I’m not the first to experiment and not completely succeed! That’s where the growing part comes in 😉

I have a love/hate relationship with these cookies. They were both at once the worst AND best cookies I’ve ever made. The secret lies largely in the chocolate you use, and in the baking time.

I found the recipe here, at The Tender Crumb, but it is a recipe belonging to the quite famous baker, Jaques Torres. You can find a fascinating discussion of cookies here at the New York Times, where they exalt this recipe as being the best cookie recipe ever created (and it took the collaboration of a few of the best bakers around to create). In the article, Torres discusses the fine and elaborate details that go into his cookie making, with one thing standing out especially large against my own process (ok, many things, really, seeing as I am nowhere near professional caliber, but you get the idea): the chocolate. Torres, instead of using chocolate chips, uses softer, more malleable chocolate chunks of special chocolate generally used to cover truffles and the like. Inside the cookie, instead of holding a chunky shape, this chocolate melts into streamlined ribbons, which flow beautifully throughout the cookie. While I took the advice over at the Tender Crumb blog and opted for chunks of chocolate, it still was not enough. Perhaps I should have melted my chocolate a little bit beforehand to help it out during the baking process? I just don’t know. Regardless, my own cookies held their chunk shape strong and refused to melt into such silky lines as others experience. I think I will have to try a different chocolate as well, if I were to make this again. I just used Ghirardelli bars, because those were what I had lying around, which i hand broke into pieces that I tossed in, but it wasn’t enough. So beware, if you plan on making these, and you ACTUALLY want them to be the best cookie ever, I highly suggest you study that NYT article thoroughly, heed the advice present, and do NOT skimp out when it comes to the chocolate. It makes the difference.

For me, this recipe made… a ton of small cookies. And I mean.. a ton. I think it made almost 100, if not more. I snacked on them as each batch came out of the oven. Directly out of the oven, they were alright. The first batch cooled, and hardened, and my adoration for them ceased completely. With every batch, I baked them less and less because they kept coming out too crispy. And in all honesty, the really krispy ones ACTUALLY tasted kind of like a knock-off Chips A-Hoy cookie! So if you love Chips A-Hoy cookies, go ahead and bake these to your content of crispiness. But do beware, they don’t LOOK like they’ll get crispy after cooling, but they do. These do a lot of settling after they bake. But yeah, so I baked for less each time, but after eating about 5 from the first few batches, I was unimpressed and refused to eat anymore of them. My husband liked them, but also said they weren’t the best thing I’ve ever made. So I brought them all out to our two Ultimate games to share with everyone, get a bit more feedback on, and  just generally try to get rid of, seeing as we were left with tons of them. Husband then took them to work, where more people loved and devoured them for more than I myself did. They were a success with everyone but me. After a few days, I decided to eat another one, pulling it from the box containing the last 3 batches I’d made, where I’d baked them for significantly less time than the first few I’d had.

THEY. WERE. AMAZING.

The outsides were crispy and the insides soft, and just… everything I had expected ALL of the cookies to be! And then I suddenly understood why everyone else liked them so much. In the end, they turned out pretty decent. Still not the best cookie I’ve ever had, but VERY good nonetheless.

Baking with different flours is intimidating at first when you’ve never done it, and for days I’d been trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Maybe I bought the wrong kind of bread or pastry flour without noticing? Perhaps I had messed up the quantities? All-purpose flour is comforting – you know you can’t go wrong unless you just can’t count. But after enjoying one of the last cookies, I realized it was probably nothing. I just baked them too long for their small size, and should’ve utilized better chocolate.

If you’re willing to experiment and have some fun and try something exciting and new, I greatly recommend this recipe to you. However, if you’d rather stick to a more comfortable zone, then I suggest you skip and this and try the cookie recipe I am going to post here soon that I made yesterday: Cake Batter Cookies! Now THOSE are easily the best cookies I’ve ever had, and by far were the EASIEST and quickest to make. But for now, I present:

The New York Times Best Cookie Recipe
Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies.

What you need:

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.

5. Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

6. Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies. Note: MY cooking time, for my what-seem-like-super-tiny cookies, perfected somewhere around 8-10 minutes.

7. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Have fun! And feel free to share your own trials and tribulations with this recipe, or any other amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe you love! I also have a pudding cookie recipe that is amazing and I must post someday soon~!

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