Behold, the infamous Jaques Torres chocolate chip cookie recipe, as adapted from the New York Times. The cookie that needs more than a pound of Valrhona feves, chocolates shaped into little disks (priced at a whopping $24.99 per pound!!!). The cookie that doesn't even provide any instant gratification, because, after mixing the batter together, you need to allow the dough to rest and chill in the refrigerator for 24 FREAKING HOURS. Do you know how long that is to wait for a cookie?! This is officially the world's fussiest chocolate chip cookie recipe, I kid you not.
So why even bother?
In my defense, it appears that I'm not the only one who's all hot and bothered by this cookie recipe. The Kitchn, a highly reliable and much trusted food blog, once devoted an entire series of articles around the recipe. Because along with the instructions on how to make the cookie, the New York Times published a lengthy, three-page-long article gushing on about what makes a chocolate chip cookie so perfect, concluding that Jaques Torres' version is one of the most perfect around. Why? It adheres to the ideal chocolate to dough ratio (40:60 is the golden ratio, according to the article). Each cookie is huge, weighing in at 3 1/2 ounces and roughly the size of your palm. Due to its larger size, the cookie actually encompasses three different textures: crispy on the outsides, chewier as it gets closer to the middle and a magical center that manages to be soft, chewy AND crispy all at once. And finally, that long resting period that I keep bitching about is apparently the cookie's ultimate secret weapon: 24 hours allows the flours in the recipe to absorb all the oils and fats from the other ingredients, melding together to create a more intense, richer cookie flavor complete with toffee and caramel notes. This is a legendary, mythical cookie.
So it's no surprised that somebody who's even somewhat invested in baking has heard of the recipe. I myself even have a weird history around it. The recipe was first published in the summer of 2008, right at the start of my senior year of college. As a way to procrastinate on my terribly boring and dry economics thesis (seriously — I wrote about ways to apply a taxation model to reduce airport congestion, what in the hell was wrong with me, could I pick a more boring topic?!!!), I decided I wanted to bake some chocolate chip cookies. Of course, the New York Times recipe came up pretty quickly in my Google searches. A quick browse through the ingredients list — which required two types of flour, and those damn chocolate disks — literally had me going "NOPE." I'm pretty sure I ended up eating cookies from premade Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough that night.
Fast forward another few years later to the fall of 2011, when I was just getting this blog up and running. I'd just moved to Denver, Colorado, and had a hankering for chocolate chip cookies. I did my usual Googling of recipes, and of course, stumbled back into the New York Times recipe. This time, I actually went out and found the damn disks but made one fatal error — I hadn't read the recipe beforehand and therefore hadn't realized that the dough needed 24 hours to rest. When I did find out, I believe I swore loudly, cursing the recipe and making these guys instead (check out that link for vintage Hummingbird High, complete with cell phone pictures and now-expired Instagram filters). I wanted my cookies NOW, you see. I suppose I could have just ignored the instructions and made them without the rest period, but honestly, that's just not the kind of person I am. I usually follow recipes to a TEE, unless I've purposefully decided to deviate from its instructions beforehand.
So, now it's 2015. I've been wanting to make that recipe for almost seven years, ever since I first found out about the recipe back in 2008. And this time, I did everything absolutely by the book, following the ingredients and instructions perfectly. I weighed everything out and used the best ingredients I could possibly find — cake and bread flour from Bob's Red Mill, cultured butters from Organic Valley, real chocolate feves from Valrhona, and flaky gourmet sea salt. I chilled the dough overnight, waiting a full 24 hours before scooping out dough balls and actually weighed each one to make sure they matched the suggested 3 1/2 ounces.
And how were the cookies?
Worth every article, hour, and dollar.
Every step and ingredient that gave me additional hassle had its purpose after all. The cake and bread flours in the recipe combined to create the perfect texture, giving the cookie a hearty crunch but a tender crunch. The chocolate feves melted just enough to ensure that every bite contained a generous dollop of chocolate. The overnight rest brought out the promised toffee and caramel flavors, as well as notes of brown butter and butterscotch. This really, truly is the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.
If only they weren't such a damn hassle to make.
Some baker's notes:
- Please, please — no substitutions or exchanges on this one. Follow the listed ingredients and recipe to a tee, or you won't be getting the full experience. The whole point of this cookie is that it's a bit of a pain to make. If you can't be bothered to use the different flours, source the chocolate feves (which are available online or at Whole Foods), or wait overnight, I seriously suggest finding another chocolate chip recipe. There are plenty of other great ones out there. I don't mean that snottily — usually I'm all about making things as pain-free as possible, but again, that's just not the point of this recipe.
a.k.a. The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8.5 ounces) cake flour
- 1 2/3 cups (8.5 ounces) bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate feves, at least 60 prcent cacao
- flaky sea salt
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour, 1 2/3 cups bread flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Cream on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add 2 eggs, one at a time, only adding the next egg when the previous one is fully incorporated. Reduce speed to its lowest setting and add the dry ingredients (from the 1st step) and mix until just combined — do not mix for more than 1 minute. At this point, it's okay to have a couple flour streaks left in the dough. Turn off the mixer and scatter 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate feves into the bowl, and use a rubber spatula to incorporate them throughout the batter. Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate overnight, at least 24 hours.
- Once the dough has been chilled for 24 hours and you're ready to bake the cookies, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 (F). Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Working in batches, use a cookie dough scoop or an ice cream scoop to measure out four 3.5 ounce mounds of dough, making sure to turn any chocolate pieces that are poking up horizontally to make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, around 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then use a metal spatula to carefully transfer the cookies onto another rack to cool for another 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough, baking in batches of 4 cookies. Eat warm.