I’d been meaning to try the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe for a few years, but I never got around to it. But then a couple weeks ago, a friend of mine in New York told me this is her favorite cookie recipe, and I immediately got it in my head that I needed to make them. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Everywhere I went, every time I opened a cookbook or my computer, I saw pictures of chocolate chip cookies. I even had smelled phantom cookies!
The secret to this recipe is the chill-time. You’re supposed to let the cookie dough chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours before baking. I’d never attempted the recipe until now, mostly because I don’t have the patience to let dough sit around; I’ll either eat it all in one go, or need to bake it to get it out of my sight (yes, I typically love cookie dough more than the baked product!). My friend told me that she had left the dough in her fridge for 4 days!!!! And the cookies were out of this world. So…late Wednesday night I couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and I mixed up a batch of the dough. I exercised great self-control and didn’t bake the dough, or eat it (except for a few tastes) until today. If I’m doing the math correctly, the dough was in my refrigerator for about 91 hours before I baked it. 91 hours?! How did I not eat it all?! I’m pretty impressed with my willpower.
The science behind the extended chilling time is explained clearly in the NY Times article:
“A long hydration time is important because eggs, unlike, say, water, are gelatinous and slow-moving, she said. Making matters worse, the butter coats the flour, acting, she said, “like border patrol guards,” preventing the liquid from getting through to the dry ingredients. The extra time in the fridge dispatches that problem.” and, it turns out, the originator of the chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Wakefield, chilled the dough too, “At Toll House, we chill this dough overnight,” she wrote in her “Toll House Cook Book” (Little, Brown, 1953). This info is left out of the version of her recipe that Nestlé printed on the back of its baking bars and, since 1939, on bags of its chocolate morsels.”
I have to agree; the chilling time did wonders for the cookies. The dough tasted great right away, and even after sitting for nearly four days. I didn’t do a scientific comparison of how the baked cookies tasted after various chilling times but you can see that on this blog here if you’re really curious. What I do know is that the cookies, baked after the dough had been sitting for 91 hours, are delicious!! They are really crispy on the outside and chewy in the centers. I’ve never managed to get such a perfect, even, consistency in my cookies as this recipe created. I’m generally very impressed with these cookies – especially the sea salt sprinkled on the top, that adds an extra dimension to the flavors. I even want to eat more of the finished product, which, as I said before, doesn’t often happen. I usually just want the dough…
I didn’t have bread flour or cake flour, and just used all-purpose flour instead. I am curious as to how the cookies would be if I’d followed those directions more exactly — I guess I’ll have to make this recipe again! (I have no complaints about that). I made my cookies smaller than the original recipe calls for – the balls of dough were only about 1-inch in diameter before baking. I also have no complaints about the smaller size – they are easier to eat as a snack, and therefore probably easier to eat more of!
New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 18 very large cookies or 31 smaller cookies
Prep Time: 15 min + chill time
Cook Time: 18 min
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 coarse salt (I used sea salt)
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks)
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
extra chocolate chips, optional
sea salt (optional)
1. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour through salt). I just scraped mine through a fine strainer/sieve since my sifter isn’t all that great. Set aside.
2. Use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugars- mixing until the mixture is very light, about 5 minutes. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, add the dry ingredients and, mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. Place the dough in an airtight container and refrigerate a minimum of 24 to 36 hours before baking (and up to 72 hours).
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
4. For 5-inch cookies, scoop six 3.25 ounce mounds of dough- giant golf ball-sized (I rolled mine into balls) onto a baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart. Don’t try to fit more on the sheet or you’ll end up with cookies baking into each other. Dot some extra chocolate chips on top, if desired. Sprinkle each ball of dough with a small pinch of sea salt, if desired.
5. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the center is lighter and soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack and let them cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
*If you’d prefer to make smaller cookies, shape your cookie dough into small golf ball-size instead (2 ounces), and bake for 12 to 16 minutes.