February 18, 2010
I wonder if there is any larger culinary debate than “the perfect chocolate chip cookie.” Metafilter had a huge ol’ post about it listing several different variations. On Twitter, Abi and Tracy swear by Jacques Torres’ “refrigerate up to 24-36 hours before baking” recipe. According to some articles I read, having the recipe wait overnight or more helps meld the ingredients together better. I really do plan on trying it because the legend around these cookies have reached epic proportions.
But I’m an impatient mofo.
When I bake, it’s hardly ever planned. Cravings usually strike in the evening, right after dinner when things wind down and you just want to sit and veg a bit, and what better way to do so than with cookies warm from the oven?
However, when it’s the evening and unplanned, you’re feeling lazy. You just want to throw things together and get it done, right? So recipes that ask you for room temperature butter are nixed, as well as melted butter. Well, my friends, you’re in luck, because my favourite “go to” chocolate chip recipe is David Lebovitz’s. On top of being a mucho convenient recipe, he calls for toasted walnuts, which helps combine all things sacred to me: nuts, chocolate, butter, and sugar.
As a pastry chef living in Paris, David Lebovitz has a number of tasty delights to explore. But, there is nothing like his chocolate chip cookies, especially one that you can so easily whip up last minute with nary a wait time.
The recipe below makes about 16 medium-large cookies for me. The recipe is adapted from his Great Book of Chocolate and various online sources.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold (see, you can just take it straight from the fridge), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 or 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (the original asks for 1 1/2 cups but I think that’s just overkill)
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (now here’s my secret: toast these suckers until almost burnt. believe me, the smokey flavour seems to add something into the batter. every time I’ve made these with varying degrees of toasty-ness, the ones that get the most compliments were the ones I almost forgot were in the oven while I made the batter)
- Place the oven rack to the top third of the oven and preheat to 300F (150C). Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the 1 cup of walnuts into a baking sheet and into the oven while you create the batter to toast.
- Mix the white and brown sugar together, then add the chopped butter. Beat together until smooth. When it’s a smooth consistency, mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour and salt) together, then add to the batter. Mix until it’s all incorporated, but try not to overmix, or it overheats the batter (better to be slightly cool).
- Check to see if the nuts are nicely toasted. If not, leave them in the oven until it’s nice and toasted and place the batter in the fridge while you wait. If they are, take them out of the oven and let cool.
- Once toasted walnuts are cooled, mix it in the batter along with the chocolate chips.
- Scoop the cookie dough and create balls. It is up to you what size you prefer, but make sure there is enough space between the balls.
- Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes. (original asks for 18, but every oven is different). Check if they are a nice golden brown. If they are, take it out. If not, leave it in for a couple more minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
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