For years now, I’ve maintained a solid reputation of making the world’s worst chocolate chip cookies. It’s ridiculous, I know. There are children who can whip up better versions using an Easy-Bake. No matter what recipe I follow, mine either bake up into small cakes that in no way resemble a respectable, crisp-edged cookie or puddle into a mess of butter and half melted chips. What’s that saying? Something about insanity and trying things over and over again and expecting new results. Yeah…
Over the years, Tollhouse and their seemingly simplistic recipe have become my unspoken enemies. For the better part of 2014, Jay and I embarked on a sort of weird quest to locate New York City’s best chocolate chip cookie. For several months, we were addicted to the massive chocolate chip cookies from City Cakes, an epically tiny spot in Chelsea that works some kind of insane wizardry to produce their unrivaled signature, half-pound chocolate chip cookies that boast a consistently, satisfyingly under baked center and whose sheer size has time and time again solidified my status as “coolest adult in history” by virtue of my three year old niece. For a too-long stretch of time, we ended the day with a little bag from Breads Bakery that contained several of their distinctly crisp and deep golden brown cookies, which we devoured during our ritualistic late-night Netflix binge. Sadly for our waistlines, the list goes on…
One of my resolutions for 2015 was to finally face my culinary white whale head-on (notice the use of past tense, was) and to master this deceivingly simplistic recipe. (The fact that one of my yearly goals is rooted in butter and sugar should give you some indication of what sort of ship we’re running here.)
Like many of my culinary dilemmas, the resolution, of course, rest in the hands of Thomas Keller. I’ve baked three rounds of these cookies so far, one that Jay and I ate entirely by ourselves, one that we shared with our best friends, and one that made its way to a Superbowl party. So far every critic has agreed that they are, hands down, the finest chocolate chip cookies to ever debut from a home oven.
Keller’s recipe, like so many of his recipes, does not rely on wacky ingredients or unnecessary seasonings or spices to up the ante. Instead, it relies on quality ingredients and the most insane, obsessive attention to measurements for which we on the receiving end must all be grateful. Unlike many recipes, this one omits vanilla extract, which Jay noted eliminated that sometimes mildly artificial aftertaste you get with some cookies. Another change is the sugar ratio, which relies upon a greater amount of dark brown sugar, a change that leads to a more rounded source of sweetness and a much more amber-hued final product.
The final baked cookies are a sort of enigma: the edges are crisp, while the center is soft and chewy. No matter how much time passes between the moment they’ve been pulled from the hot oven and the moment they reach your mouth — whether it is an hour or a full day — the chocolate chunks at the center remain mysteriously, magically gooey.
It takes a lot for a girl who is married to a chef, a girl who spends about three quarters of her life either preparing food, considering her next meal, or reading about new food trends, to champion any food as the best. However, no matter how you want to spin it, these really are the best damn chocolate chip cookies around.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Ad Hoc
*The only change I made to this recipe is to the chocolate. Keller’s version calls for 5 ounces of 55% chocolate and 5 ounces of 70-72% chocolate. Here, I swapped them for a combination of dark and semisweet chips for no other reason than that they were, in truth, the more affordable option. Likewise, I doubled the quantity of each type of chocolate because, well, I am a balanced combination of disgusting and genius.
– 2 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 10-ounce bag of dark chocolate chips
– 1 10-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
– 2 sticks of cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
– 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
– 3/4 cup granulated sugar
– 2 large eggs
Position oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour and baking soda. Mix in the salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat half the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add both sugars and the remaining butter and beat for several minutes until the mixture is well combined, and the butter is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine. Mix in the chocolate.
Shape the dough into balls using two level tablespoons per cookie (hint: do NOT mess with this measurement; it produces the perfect-sized cookie). Bake for 12-14 minutes. 1 Like