New York Times 40-hour Chocolate Chip Cookies

New York Times 40-hour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are very serious business.

I have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have been tinkering with for many years.  It’s one of my signature desserts and my only “secret” recipe.  I suppose everybody has one.  Even though I do love my own chocolate chip cookies and they are always met with accolades, I’m always wondering if there is something better out there.  So when I read about an article in the New York Times professing to be the perfect chocolate chip cookie, I decided to give it a try.

As a baker, there are three aspects of this recipe that interest me.  One, it uses both baking soda and baking powder which is quite unusual for a chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Two, it uses cake flour, bread flour and no all-purpose flour.  Three, the dough needs to rest for at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours before baking.  Intriguing, no?

Now I’m starting to feel like a food detective because this isn’t the first time I’ve heard about the technique of aging cookie dough.  Over a year ago, I saw television show that profiled The City Bakery in NYC in which they revealed that they also rest the dough for their famous chocolate chip cookies.  Combine all this with the fact that my Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies are also better after a 24-hour rest and I start to think that I’ve uncovered a genuine baking secret.

So here is the recipe from the New York Times with some very slight changes that were driven by necessity (i.e. what I had in my pantry).  The primary change was the substitution of Ghiridelli semisweet chocolate chips for large bittersweet chocolate disks.

40-hour Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from a recipe by Jacques Torres printed in the New York Times

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  • 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 kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate disks
  • Sea salt, optional

NOTE:  The ingredient amounts in this recipe are quite particular.  When baking something this precise, it’s best to use a kitchen scale.  If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can use the cup measurements, but really, get a kitchen scale.  When you use the cup measures, the true amount can vary significantly depending on how packed your ingredients are.  The weight is always correct.  A kitchen scale isn’t expensive and I use mine everyday.

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt in a medium bowl.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 4 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.

Then, reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.  Add in the chocolate chips (or pieces).

Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 72 hours.  I refrigerated mine for 40 hours.  Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

Scoop 4 mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto each baking sheet.  For this, I used a #12 scoop (3 oz size).  NOTE:  I found the dough very difficult to scoop at first.  It became easier as the dough warmed a little. The original recipe called for sprinkling the cookies with sea salt, but I didn’t have any and the dough tasted sufficiently salty to me, so I left out the extra salt.

OVEN TIP:  Most ovens lose a lot of heat when the door is opened.  Mine is particularly bad, so I have to play temperature games with my Jenn Aire all the time.  When I want to cook something at 350 degrees F, I preheat my oven to 400 degrees F.  Then after I put the food in the oven, I lower the temperature to what I really wanted.  Simply be aware that you may want to double-check the temperature of your own oven.  It may not be as hot as you think it is.

Bake until golden brown but still soft, about 16-18 minutes.  Not only will the cookies be very soft, they may actually look underdone.  If they are light golden brown, take them out anyway.  They will crisp up quite nicely as they cool.  I baked my first batch for 18 minutes and I wish I had taken them out a minute or two earlier.  A second batch baked later was just about perfect at 16.5 minutes.  Yes, I said “.5”.  What?!?

Transfer the cookies still on the parchment paper or nonstick baking mat to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking later.

TASTING NOTES:  These cookies had a NYC professional bakery size, taste and feel.  The flavor was very good and they managed to be both chewy and crisp.  I still like my signature chocolate chip cookies better, but that really comes down to a matter of personal taste.  I think this may be a superior recipe for an oversized cookie.  Therefore, I see myself making these again.  When I do, I will try big chunks of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate in place of the chips to see if it makes a significant difference.

Clearly, more research is needed.

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