I have said before that I’m not much of a dessert person, and that’s largely true. However, the one dessert sure to catch me off guard and inspire a craving for sweetness is cookies. I love them. As a kid, I even got to be Cookie Monster one year for Halloween. My particular weakness is for chocolate chip cookies, and I was thrilled to find a post about that very thing over at the Orangette blog that had been adapted from a recipe in the NY Times (that had been adapted from a recipe by Jacques Torres). These were some interesting cookies.
This recipe takes a fairly serious time commitment (especially if you are the type who typically makes cookies because you want them right now). Once the ingredients are mixed, these puppies are supposed to sit for some 36 hours before you bake them. In reading through the associated article at the Times (which is really quite interesting), apparently this rest allows for the dry ingredients to fully soak up all the wet ingredients thereby producing a firmer dough which results in a better consistency once baked. I had considered doing a test batch that hadn’t rested and one that had just so we could compare the results, but the good folks at the NY Times have taken care of that as well (sort of). They tested batches that had rested for 12, 24, and 36 hours, and with each passing milestone, the cookies achieved ever more golden color and increasingly rich and complex flavor. I was totally sold, and late last week, I mixed up a batch, covered them with plastic-wrap, and dutifully chucked them in the refrigerator to rest. This probably makes me a chocolate chip cookie heretic, but I actually like the cookie part of the cookie as much or more than the chocolate, so instead of the prescribed 1 ¼ lbs of chips, I only used about 12 oz.
The next thing that baffled me a bit was the size of the cookies. They’re meant to be about 3-3 ½ oz each. I generally make it a habit to make smaller cookies so we can ration out our indulgences a little. The rationale behind the bigger cookies is that you kind of get the best of both cookie worlds – the cookies are large enough that there’s a crispy, crunchy ring surrounding a perfectly chewy center. Size-wise, I compromised and used a 1/3 cup measure to portion out my dough. Molly at Orangette wisely recommends letting your cookie dough sit on the counter for about a half hour before trying to portion it out, but even that wasn’t enough for me - it was rock hard. I think if I had it to do over again, I would probably portion out the freshly mixed dough and then let it sit for its 36 hours. My favorite thing about these cookies is that once you portion them out on the baking sheet, you give each of them a little sprinkle of salt. I love that. I made chocolate caramels one Christmas that were each topped with a small sprinkling of sea salt, and they were just heavenly. In this case I did, however, punk out and use lightly crushed kosher salt instead of sea salt because that’s what I happened to have handy at the time.
The cookies turned out magnificently. They were everything they were proclaimed to be: rich and sumptuously flavorful cookie, bittersweet chocolate, and just the faintest hint of saltiness. And the texture was, in a word, perfect.
I immediately set about packing some up to give away to friends because we just weren’t safe with all that buttery, sugary goodness at our immediate disposal – as Cookie Monster is now aware, “a cookie is a sometimes food”. While it seemed absurd (and even cruel) when I first read about it, I am now happy that the decision to make these cookies must be followed up by a 36-hour wait. That should give me plenty of time to fully weigh the consequences of my cookie consuming actions (and arrange for folks to take some of the cookies off our hands so Sean and I can’t gorge ourselves too horribly).