Thursday, February 23, 2012

Big Ole' Chocolate Chip Cookies

The famous New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe.  You can find it pretty much anywhere you look on the web these days, owing to the masses of bloggers who have made and posted about this particular cookie.  This is probably my third or fourth time making them, but somehow they've never made it onto Kitchen Koala.  The only reason I can think of is that we ate them all before I could get any pictures!

Why all the hype?  What's the big deal about these cookies?  Well for starters, the prep time.  This recipe requires a full 36 hour chill time to optimize the flavor and texture of the cookies.  Can't wait that long?  24 hours is fine too.  Another big reason these are so beloved is their size.  Measuring in at a generous 5 inches, these cookies aren't for the faint of heart.  They've got a pretty substantial height too; paper thin cookies these are not!  They look almost too big for one person to eat at a sitting, but believe me--once you start chowing down on one of these, you just might eat it all without realizing it!

I made a few changes to the recipe now that I've made it a few times.  The sea salt sprinkle at the end?  Gone.  The sweet-salty thing is good, but I really prefer these without that extra salt on top.  I also reduced the amount of chocolate.  The original 1 1/4 pounds (20 ounces) was just...too much chocolate (though this is coming form the gal who would prefer her chocolate chip cookies to be "chipless.")  The Ghiradelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips work well if you can't find/refuse to splurge on the pricey chocolate feves called for in the original recipe.  You could use regular chocolate chips if you like; I just like the bigger chip size of the Ghiradelli® bittersweet in a cookie of this size.

I've changed up the procedure a bit by scooping out the dough before chilling.  Freshly made dough is softer and a whole lot easier to scoop out than dough that's been chilling for a day and a half.  All that butter makes it a really firm dough!  Sure, it takes up more space than a bowl of dough sitting in your fridge for 36 hours--but if you have the room I think it's worth it. 

These cookies freeze really well if you package them up tightly.  Make and freeze a batch or two ahead of time for a bake sale and watch them fly off the table!  Individually wrapped and priced at $1 each, they're pretty much irresistable.  While they don't seem like a big money maker, I've found that people will often pick up one or two of these and leave a $5 donation.  Try it and see!

Big Ole' Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from The New York Times
Yield: 18 five-inch cookies

**Note:  Dry ingredient amounts are listed by weight in ounces.**

8 1/2 oz. cake flour
8 1/2 oz. bread flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
10 oz. light brown sugar
8 oz. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
18 oz. Ghiradelli® bittersweet chocolate chips

Sift cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.  Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla extract.  Slowly add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips (I like to do this by hand). 

Handy tip:  When making cookies containing chocolate chips or other chunky goodies, save a tablespoon or so of said goodies and set aside.  You can add them to the last cookies that get scooped out of the bowl, which almost inevitably will have fewer chips than the cookies scooped out at the beginning. 
Line a baking sheet (that will fit in your fridge) with plastic wrap.  Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out 18 mounds of dough onto plastic-lined baking sheet.  Quickly and gently roll dough mounds into balls, using flour-dusted hands if necessary.  Cover dough balls with additional plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours, or up to 72 hours max.

36 hours later...
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place 6 dough balls onto each baking sheet.  Bake cookies at 350°F for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown but still soft. 


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