What’s in a cookie that makes it a really good cookie? Is it the presence of tons of chocolates of all levels of sweetness? Is it the inclusion of oozing caramel, puffy marshmallows, crunchy toffee, or a mixture of nuts perhaps? Does it contain everything but the kitchen sink? And how about the texture– should it be chewy, crisp, or cakey?
With all the talented bakers in the world nowadays, those in professional kitchens and the home alike, it’s quite possible that nearly every kind of cookie imaginable has been created already. I know I am largely grateful for all these wonderful recipes I have yet to discover, but after all that has been eaten and done, to me there is forevermore nothing quite like a plain ‘ole chocolate chip cookie.
I think good, homemade chocolate chip cookies eaten with a tall glass of milk is the very definition of nostalgia. Every bite brings you back to the days when everything was as simple as enjoying cookies and milk after a long day of school and play. You’d be sitting on your favourite spot with a half-drunk glass of milk in one hand and a half-bitten cookie on the other; trying to shake away all the crumbs that have tumbled down unto your uniform as you happily chew the last bits of your cookie. Extending your chocolate-stained hands, you ask Mum if you may have another cookie before supper please, and she will wink and sneak you another piece.
Although times have changed, and I have changed in more ways than I dare to count, a good chocolate chip cookie remains the same in my mind and heart. In the minute it takes me to finish a cookie, I am a child unencumbered by the troubles of the world all over again. It has that power to bring me back to my carefree days, and it is these moments I savor the most; especially now that I’ve discovered that in growing up, you cannot afford to be happy-go-lucky as much anymore.
This is why I find myself constantly gravitating back to chocolate chip cookies, even though there are about a million other cookie recipes I want to try. In truth, I’ve been meaning to make these cookies for a while because of all the great things I’ve heard about them. And while this unfortunately is not my absolute favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, this is definitely among the frontrunners. I haven’t found my absolute favorite yet you see, however this particular recipe hit a lot of what I look for in a chocolate chip cookie:
Crisp on the outside and undeniably chewy in the centre- not to mention dense, with a gorgeous shape and texture- these cookies are actually all kinds of amazing. My brothers loved them, but I found the cookies a tad too sweet for my taste. Yet because of the sprinkling of salt before baking, the sweetness is toned down a notch, leaving only a rich, chocolatey, slightly caramely cookie; the sort that seems to disappear from the cookie jar like someone has just played a magic trick.
However, as is with most things great, this cookie recipe takes a bit of time, so it is wise to plan ahead for this. I’m not talking about difficult procedures when I say that, simply that the dough will require a 24-hour (at least!) rest in the fridge before baking. Looking at it, this seems like such a long time to wait for chocolate chip cookies. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that these cookies are made with both bread flour and cake flour, a combination I have never encountered before in cookies; but should you find yourself itching to throw the un-cooled dough into the oven, just remember the saying, ‘Good things come to those who wait’!
Makes about 3 dozen 3 1/2-inch cookies
- 2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
- 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 pounds (560 grams) bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks (at least 60% cacao content)
- Sea salt
- 1. Sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- 2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, cream butter and sugars together at medium speed until light-coloured, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
- 3. Reduce speed to low, or mix using a spatula if desired. Add dry ingredients in batches and mix until just combined (10 to 20 seconds if using an electric mixer). Do not overmix. Add dark chocolate pieces and mix in to incorporate without breaking them.
- 4. Transfer dough to another bowl or cover stand mixer bowl with plastic. Be sure to press the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dough to seal. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours, or up to 72 hours maximum.
- 5. After the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside one sheet in the meantime.
- 6. Scoop 8 to 10 balls of dough using a 2 Tbsp cookie scoop* and place onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Be sure to leave at least 2 inches between each cookie dough scoop to allow for spreading. Sprinkle sea salt lightly on top of each cookie, then bake this first sheet until the cookies are golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
- 7. While the first batch bakes, repeat the shaping process with the remaining dough, placing them on the other baking sheet.
- 8. Transfer the sheet #1 with the freshly baked cookies to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Meanwhile, bake the next batch of cookies.
- 9. Repeat the shaping and baking process, using the two cookie sheets alternately, until all the dough has been used up. Make sure the cookie sheets are cool before placing the next batch of cookie dough for baking.
- 10. Cool the cookies completely before storing or stacking.
- *The original recipe instructs to scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto the baking sheets to yield 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.