Monday, August 20, 2012

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are so many recipes out there that have a big reputation. It seems like when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, everybody has their own version that is, according to them, the greatest ever. The New York Times, The Doubletree Hotel, even Hillary Clinton- their recipes are sworn to be the best by lots of bakers (and tasters!) I have tried many a chocolate chip cookie recipe and have yet to make a truly bad one, but Dorie Greenspan's and the classic Nestlé recipes are two of my favoritesThey are a classic, crisp cookie with a hint of vanilla. This week I wanted to bring chocolate chip cookies, such an American treat, to Brazil with me to share with family. Sick of the same old recipes, I decided to go after one with a great reputation.
So many bakers promise that the Jacques Torres recipe for chocolate chip cookies is the greatest in the world. There are a few different versions of it online, but I decided to go with the New York Times's printed version, which seems to be adapted from the original. My friend recently came home from a vacation in France with a bag of Valhrona "fèves" for me, which are discs of bittersweet chocolate. They happened to be one of the suggestions for "chips" in the cookies, so in went the huge, delicious circles.
This dough is refrigerated overnight before baking; I baked one without refrigerating and the rest after, and can't say that I noticed a huge difference, but in the future I will refrigerate unless I'm short on time. I made them about half of the weight the recipe calls for- my balls of dough were each about 1.5 oz.- but they were still huge. With the big disks of chocolate, don't try to make them any smaller. Don't worry- they are so good, you can handle a big cookie.
Be warned, this cookie is not for the faint of heart. It is more chocolate than cookie dough, but is so delicious. The dough part of it is sweet and buttery, and the chocolate is nice and dark. Be sure to use good-quality chocolate here, as you will really be able to taste it. Additionally, don't skip the step of sprinkling salt over the unbaked dough- it makes a huge difference. These cookies are so rich, they aren't your average afterschool snack, but at a party (or really for an indulgent treat any time of day), they are perfect. Enjoy! <3

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies
(slightly adapted from The New York Times)

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups bread 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 light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
sea salt, for sprinkling

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, 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.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
Scoop 6- 1 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. Let cookies sit on the baking sheets for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Eat warm, or cool, or at room temperature... they will be delicious any way!

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