Friday, December 9, 2011

Jacque Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes you need something ridiculous. Like chocolate covered whiskey bacon bark. Yes, that is a real thing. I saw it on Pinterest and everything on Pinterest is real. But sometimes, you just want a cookie. A warm, ooey, gooey, comforting chocolate chip cookie. And that's exactly what I wanted last week when I was craving something sweet. 

For some reason the Jacque Torres chocolate chip cookie had popped back up on my radar recently so I figured I'd give it a shot since it's been touted as the cookie to end all cookies. Oh really, Jacque? We'll see about that. (Fangirl moment: I've had the opportunity to meet Jacque Torres twice, and the first time he told me I needed to eat more pastry. Done and done.) 

So there are two things that make this recipe unique- it uses cake and bread flour instead of all-purpose, and it requires you to rest the dough at least 24 hours before baking. Of course, since I was just making these for my own enjoyment, I decided to do a little test. I had both flours in my pantry, and although I think it's a bit of a gimmick, I went ahead and used both as the recipe calls for. 

The reason I think this is a little silly is because bread flour and cake flour essentially cancel each other out. Confused? Let me explain. Bread flour has a high gluten or protein content, which means it creates a tougher product, but something that is strong enough that can withstand the rising effect of yeast or pate a choux

Cake flour has a lower gluten content, which results in a nice, tender fluffy cake. All-purpose flour has a gluten content somewhere in the middle, which is why it is used so often. So essentially, using equal amounts of cake and bread flour cancel each other out and you end up with something much closer to all-purpose. But fine Chef Torres, I'll give you this one since I have all kinds of flours stocked in my pantry. Except whole wheat because, no.

So with both flours covered I set my sights on this "resting time." I have definitely come across doughs and batters that are best used after resting (madelines, crepes, etc.), but a cookie dough? There are no flavors that need melding or developing. The only reason I can come up with has to do with the bread flour. Gluten makes products tough, and the more you work with it, the tougher it gets (hence adding all the dry ingredients last in pretty much any cake or cookie recipe; you want to work that flour as little as possible!), but this rest period was supposed to enhance the texture and flavor. Obviously there was only one option: bake one now, bake one later, and compare.

This one I baked after just three hours of resting the dough in the fridge. Admittedly, I overbaked it just a smidge, but it was still good. Just your everyday, basic chocolate chip cookie. Honestly, nothing too special. 

Twenty-four hours later I scooped and baked the rest of the dough. And fifteen minutes out of the oven, these even looked better than the ones I baked the day before. I mean, come on, does this not look like the most perfect chocolate chip cookie you've ever seen? 

And I will admit, there was a definite improvement in overall flavor and texture. They were perfectly soft and chewy, rich and buttery, with just that hint of salt that I love in a chocolate chip cookie. I'd say these rank up there as one of the best chocolate chip cookies I've made, and will probably now take the spot of my go-to recipe. Are they the best I've ever tasted? Sorry, that honor is still held by Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Their cookies are the size of your fist and are so popular, it's almost impossible to buy one that's not hot from the oven and still all melty and gooey inside.

I did make one little tweak to the recipe. The original (or at least the New York Times version) calls for more than a pound of chocolate (20 oz to be exact). I know you never thought you would hear me say this, but that's just too much chocolate for me. I love chocolate chip cookies, but if I could eat around all that chocolate (like I do with the Keebler rainbow chip cookies), I would be a happy girl. See, I want to be able to taste the cookie, not just the chocolate. So for me, reducing the chocolate in this recipe was a no brainer. 

Jacque Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 32 cookies

8.5 oz (2 cups minus 2 Tbsp) cake flour
8.5 oz (1 2/3 cups) bread flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
10 oz (1 1/4 cups) light brown sugar
8 oz (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb bittersweet chocolate chopped, chips, or chunks
Sea salt (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and both sugars on medium speed (Speed 4) until very light and creamy, about 5 minutes.
3. Scrape down the bowl and add eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed until incorporated. Add in vanilla.
4. With mixer off, add all dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until just incorporated. Add chocolate and fold in by hand. 
5. Press plastic wrap directly onto dough and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 72 hours.
6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Set aside.
7. Scoop cookies into 2 oz balls (about the size of a golf ball) and space evenly on baking sheets. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (optional) and bake until golden brown but still soft, 14-16 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool more. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.

Recipe Notes
  • I am impatient and have a bad habit of not letting my mixer go long enough. You want the butter and sugar mixture to be nice and smooth and creamy, so go do something else while it beats. Unload the dishwasher, take out the trash, something to distract you so you're not hovering over the bowl wondering when you can turn it off.
  • I highly recommend using the sea salt!
  • I used a scale to measure my ingredients, so the measurement approximations in parentheses are from the NYT, not my own.

Recipe adapted from Jacque Torres courtesy of The New York Times


  1. Except whole wheat because, no.



  2. So here is the opportunity to use those saved ww points if you didn't cave on those "pillowy" rolls! I am so excited about trying a new chocolate chip even though that will mean (I am embarrassed to admit) throwing the nestle chocolate chip bag away as it has been my old standby,
    But I am always flexible.
    FYI not sure who is cuter chef Morgan or chef Jacques?


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