Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thomas Keller's Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is no secret that I love chocolate chip cookies. If you're not aware of this fact about me, read this. And this. I know I said that I had found the perfect chocolate chip cookie and didn't feel the need to try any new recipes, but here I went and tried a new recipe. After hearing rave reviews from Wendy via Twitter, I had to.

The recipe comes from Ad Hoc at Home, the new Thomas Keller book. The main things that stand out in it are the large quantity of brown sugar, and the absence of vanilla. It isn't nearly as fussy as the NYT recipe; no combination of flours, no 24 hour rest, though it does call for sifting the chocolate after you've chopped it to give a cleaner look to the baked cookie. This is a step that I was torn about, as it means losing a substantial amount of chocolate in your final product. In the end I just used my hands, keeping more chocolate than I would have with a mesh sieve. I actually happen to like the look of the chocolate shards, so if I made this recipe again, I probably wouldn't bother with the sifting.

These cookies turned out much thinner than I prefer, and I had to bake them for 16 minutes versus the 12 minutes in the recipe. Any less time, and the centers of the cookies were so gooey, I couldn't even lift them off the baking sheet.

I wasn't wowed by these cookies right off the bat - when they were warm out of the oven, they really didn't do anything for me at all. However, as the cookies cool, the flavors develop and there is a complexity to them. I had no trouble eating 5 in an afternoon. The texture is extremely chewy around the edges, which I enjoyed, though I really couldn't get past the thinness of the cookie. I don't like them terribly thick or cakey at all, but I do like them to have a little more substance than these had. Even an overnight stint in the fridge didn't improve the height of the cookies. They were also quite greasy when they came out of the oven. I set each cookie on a paper towel, and it left behind a solid circle of grease.

My favorite chocolate chip cookie is still the NYT version. Though these were quite delicious, they weren't perfection, so I'm not sure I'll be making them again... They caused an existential crisis in Wendy, though, so don't take my word for it try them for yourself!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

2 1/3 cups + 1 tablespoon flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 oz 55% chocolate, cut into chip-sized pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)
5 oz 70%-72% chocolate, cut into chip-sized pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup packed dark brown sugar, preferably molasses sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

1. Position the oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

2. Sift the flour and baking soda into a medium bowl. Stir in the salt.

3. Put the chips in a fine-mesh basket strainer and shake to remove any chocolate "dust" (small fragments).

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat half the butter on medium speed until fairly smooth. Add both sugars and the remaining butter, and beat until well combined, then beat for a few minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding the next and scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine. Mix in the chocolate.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the dough with a spatula to be sure that the chocolate is evenly incorporated. The dough or shaped cookies can be refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Freeze shaped cookies on the baking sheets until firm, then transfer to freezer containers. (Defrost frozen cookies overnight in the refrigerator before baking.)

6. Using about 2 level tablespoons per cookie, shape the dough into balls. Arrange 8 cookies on each pan, leaving about 2 inches between them, because the dough will spread. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny, switching the position and rotating the pans halfway through the baking.

7. Cool the cookies on the pans on cooling racks for about 2 minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to the racks to cool completely. Repeat to bake the remaining cookies. (The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)


  1. I love the way your cookies look! It's so funny that the same recipe can turn out so differently for different bakers. Mine were fairly cakey, and I like CCCs thin and chewy - want to trade cookies? The dark complexity of flavor really attracts me to these cookies, but I'm sure I'll keep trying other recipes, and maybe even stage a taste test.

  2. I am going to have to try these after seeing all of your tweets about them! They look great!

  3. I think I'm going to try these since the reviews have been mixed. I don't like thin ccc either, but I do love cookies with lots of brown sugar. Your cookies look perfect to me!

  4. Ok, I feel better now. I had pretty much the same reaction as you--too flat, and too greasy. I still have some dough in the fridge and I'm going to try baking with really cold dough to see if that helps. My girls really liked these, though. And your cookies look lovely, even if they weren't quite what you wanted.

  5. They look totally fabulous. I love the flecks!

  6. Cookies look great. Mine sort of looked like a cross between yours and Nancy's...more "denty" looking for some reason. Maybe my chocolate pieces were too big. I think the vote around here was the same at your place: NYT cookies still the fav so far. Your cookies look like they would disappear quickly around here!


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