Saturday, July 04, 2015

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are addictive. More than addictive. My latest batch yielded 33 cookies, and they were gone within four days.  I may have eaten an unhealthy number of them.

They're a combination of salty and sweet: deep, rich chocolate, tempered with hits of salt, and a texture that's reminiscent of the best parts of a chewy Chips Ahoy cookie.

These are my cookie crack.

They're not the same type of cookies you've always made from the back of the yellow bag.  For starters, the Toll House recipe uses the Creaming Method, and these use the Muffin Method of construction. (Can you tell I love Good Eats?)  They also play off the heightened chemistry that salt works on sweet things, as it intensifies their flavors. Always put salt in your sweet desserts. Salt in pie crust. Salt in cookies. Salt in chocolate pudding. It will make it that much better.

The recipe is lightly adapted from Tara O'Brady's cookbook, SEVEN SPOONS, which is based off of her blog of the same name.  I must have been living under a rock these past few years, since I hadn't heard of it until the cookbook came out.  I want to make more from it--much more.

The metric measurements for the ingredients are the more precise ones in this recipe. Do you use a scale when baking? Yes, now you do. Whip it out--weigh your stuff--and you will be surprised by HOW MUCH BETTER everything turns out.

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lightly adapted from Tara O'Brady

1 cup (225 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups (415 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup (200 g) packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (220 g) sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons (or one good glug) vanilla extract
12 ounces (340 g) semisweet chocolate chips
Kosher salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat your oven to 360 degrees F.  Line two or more cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat equivalent.  My cookie sheets are 16" x 14", and I found that I needed to use three of them, plus one small extra one to make this recipe. You may need more, if you eat less cookie dough than I do.

2. Melt your butter.  My microwave handily accomplishes this task for me, but if you need to use the stove, do it in a small pan over low, low heat.

3. Stir together the dry ingredients: that's the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the measured amount of kosher salt. Set them aside in a small bowl.

4. Now, it's wet ingredient time: pour the melted butter into a large bowl, and stir in both sugars.  Once combined, add each egg, mixing thoroughly after each one. You're forming an emulsion with each one, which will hold the batter together. Don't dump them both in at once--slow and steady is the name of the game here.  Add the vanilla, and then stir once more.

5. Now, take the dry ingredients, and add 1/2 of them to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir just until the flour disappears.  Add the last 1/2 of the dry ingredients and mix, making sure to stop when the dough still has a dusting of flour visible.

6.  Fold the chocolate chips into the batter, but don't overwork it. When the flour disappears, you're done.

7. Using a standard ice cream scoop, take a portion of the dough and form it into a ball between your hands. Place on a prepared cookie sheet, making sure to leave at least 3" of space around it. I fit 9 cookies per 16" x 14" cookie sheet.

8. Next, take the kosher salt, and sprinkle on the top of each cookie dough ball. Do not let yourself get seduced by the beauty of the salt crystals on the cookie dough--that way, madness lies.  Sprinkle only enough to dust the top of the ball, and then move on to the next one.  You do not want to over-salt the tops of the cookies.

9. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are cracked and lightly golden.  Rotate the cookie sheets midway through baking, to ensure evenness.  Cool on the pan for at least five minutes, as the cookies will be very, very soft still.  Transfer gently, with a spatula, to a wire cooling rack, and do not touch until they have hardened.

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