Everybody seems to have a chocolate-chip cookie recipe they swear by as their long-standing, all-time best. And for this cookie-lover, trying each and every one of those recipes is a feat worth attempting.
But recently, first at Orangette, then in clips at Tastespotting, then at the article itself in the New York Times, I heard about THE chocolate-chip cookies, the ones that the experts got together on (or most specifically, David Leite) and created, the one that is really, truly the absolute best of the best and the chocolate-chip cookie that will make you dance with joy.
I was this weekend, after more than a month of hearing such high praises, convinced of one thing. I have to have them, and I have to have them now.
It’s a long weekend, and, most poetically, it’s a long weekend all about celebrating the labor forces of our country. A weekend about how hard we all work?
A weekend to celebrate with an extra day off? No, really, could there be a more perfect time to try these perfect cookies?
Personally, I cannot think of a better way to commemorate than with these best, tastiest, highly acclaimed and much-blogged-about chocolate-chip delights. And it’s a really good thing it’s a long weekend, indeed, as these cookies take time. 36 hours, to be exact.
What I’ve learned, via the NY Times article, is that the best bakers swear by chilling the cookie dough for 24 to 36 hours before baking.
This wait time, though agonizing for sugar fiends like myself, is all-important for letting the liquid ingredients seep into the dry ones. I’ll tell you now: that fact alone almost stopped me from making these.
It was probably the only thing, in fact, because after one reads a post at Orangette, it’s hard to find reasons to do anything but leap to the kitchen and begin whistling a happy tune.
But now, having combined the ingredients with my new KitchenAid mixer and stored the dough in my refrigerator for 22 hours the first time, then 40 for the next batch, I’ll tell you this much: it’s worth it.
It was worth it when I brought them to a dinner party Saturday night and saw people going for seconds, then thirds. It was worth it when the batches disappeared at home as fast as I could bake them.
It was, mostly, worth it the moment I bit into a cookie’s crunchy outer rim and moved into the soft, chewy center. These aren’t just any chocolate-chip cookies.
These are the ultimate chocolate-chip cookies, the only chocolate-chip cookies, the ones you have to, have to, have to try.
In terms of the recipe proper, I stuck pretty close to the original instructions, even using the cake flour and the bread flour, as the recipe says, since we had them on hand. (I’ve heard all-purpose is a reliable stand-in, if you must.) The only things I changed were:
1. The chocolate discs: Whole Foods didn’t even have the fancy discs, and there’s no way I was going to hunt for a specialty store just in the name of finding them.
As Molly did in her adaptation, I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips, which are 60% cacao. On that note, I only bought one bag of chips, which is roughly 11.5 ounces, nowhere near the 20 ounces (1 1/4 pounds) the recipe requests. In my opinion, the result was plenty chocolatey, with huge chunks in every bite I tasted.
2. The brown sugar: As fate would have it, we were left with only an 1/8 cup of brown sugar in the house. Rather than reshopping, I Googled substitutes and made my own mix of white sugar and molasses.
3. The sea salt: We didn’t have sea salt on hand, and I wasn’t intrigued enough to buy a package. We did, however, have coarse kosher salt, and I figured that’d do the trick just as well. (However, I’ll admit I’ve now read enough online about sea salt to think it worth testing out in not just this, but many foods.)
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.