Wednesday, May 18, 2011

David Lebovitz's Chocolate Chip Cookies

The 36-hour cookie did inspire David Lebovitz to make a slight modification to his own recipe. In Ready for Dessert, he explains that after reading David Leite’s article and recipe, he decided that leaving his cookie dough in the fridge for at least 24 hours did improve the flavour, but that he couldn’t imagine a cookie tasting better than his. So of course, I had to try his recipe! I completely omitted the nuts, though, as neither the Engineer nor I approve of them in chocolate chip cookies (sorry, Mr. Lebovitz). For the chocolate, I used 7 oz of 66% cocoa Valrhona and 7 oz of 56% cocoa Valrhona, which I bought on a bulk special at Central Market (but if you’re making these nut-free, make sure to use chocolate that is certified free from cross-contamination).

These cookies were so, SO good! I’ve decided that this is definitely another keeper, even though the cookies came out flatter than expected. As for whether or not they are better than David Leite’s cookies... Stay tuned for a good old-fashioned Texas showdown. Meanwhile, here is the recipe, in volumes (though weighing flour is not a bad idea, of course). It makes between 3 and 4 dozen cookies.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted margarine (or room temperature butter, in the original recipe)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
14 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into ½-inch to 1-inch chunks (or 3 cups chocolate drops)

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the butter, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla on medium speed just until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, then stir in the flour mixture followed by the chocolate chunks.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into quarters. Shape each quarter into a log about 9 inches long. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, preferably for 24 hours.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat it to 350 °F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Slice the logs into disks ¾ inch thick and place the disks 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. If the chips crumble out, simply push them back in.

Bake, rotating sheets midway through, until the cookies are very lightly browned in the centers, about 10 minutes. If you like soft chocolate chips cookies, as I do, err on the side of underbaking.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.

(The dough logs can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month. The baked cookies will keep well in an airtight container for up to 4 days.)

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