November 04, 2013

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

It seems that I have heard several people say lately that they have tried about a thousand different chocolate chip cookie recipes and haven't ever landed on The One. I, too, have been in that boat. I swear I tried 57 different recipes; and while they were all just fine, they were all just fine. I wanted more.

I wanted chewy but crispy. I wanted more depth of flavor in the dough. I wanted a variation in the bites of chocolate. And I wanted salt. 

After all of the years of wandering in the desert, I have found the chocolate chip cookie recipe to satisfy all of my desires. My family begs for them. My kids' friends love them. And they're easy to make...especially since the dough can be made ahead and then scooped out as you need them over a period of several days.  Or over a weekend like we did this past weekend. 

I'm eating one right now. True story.

My recipe is a variation of the New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. I've added cinnamon for warmth, and I've combined a couple of different flavors of chips so the bites of chocolate are a surprise each time. And remember when I said 'salt'? Well, I mean, every single cookie is sprinkled with sea salt on top which is what puts them over the moon. Over. The. Moon.

Notes before you read the recipe: Yes, it matters that you use two different types of flour. Yes, it matters that you use unsalted butter.  Yes, it matters that you use sea salt. Yes, it matters that you use a big scoop. Yes, it matters if you use two kinds of chips. Trust and obey, y'all. Trust and obey.

{makes 24 big 4" round cookies}

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons of cake flour
1 2/3 cups of bread flour
1 1/4  teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature*
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
Sea salt for sprinkling
*Euna Mae's is a Great Day Farms brand ambassador

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; whisk together well till combined. Whisking also adds air. Air is good. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes on medium. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. On low speed, add in vanilla. Continuing on low, add dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just until combined. Do NOT over-mix the dough once you have added the flour because it has gluten; and over-mixing will affect the texture.

By hand, stir in the chocolate chips. This will take muscles. So you're burning pre-cookie calories. You may cover the bowl with clear wrap pressed down directly onto the dough to prevent drying out, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment or use a silicone mat. Using a rounded ice cream scoop, scoop 6 3.5oz. mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet, rolling them gently in your hands to make them rounded and more clean dough circles if needed. They will be the size of generous golf balls. Sprinkle each dough ball with sea salt and baked until lightly golden about 16-18 minutes. I check mine at 15 minutes then I stand there checking them about every minute until the sides start to look golden brown but the tops are still a little light. In my oven, it's rare that they ever bake for 18 minutes, unless you're running the vaccuum cleaner and don't hear the timer go off. (Another true story.) Allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Cold milk chasers optional.