“Too bad sainthood is not generally conferred on bakers, for there is one who is a possible candidate for canonization,” wrote David Leite. “She fulfills most of the requirements: (1) She’s dead (2) She demonstrated heroic virtue. (3) Cults have been formed around her work. (4) Her invention is considered by many to be a miracle. The woman: Ruth Graves Wakefield. Her contribution to the world: the chocolate chip cookie.” Sometime in the 1930’s Wakefield added chopped chocolate to a cookie recipe and changed baking forever.
The cookie is an amazing little invention. For generations they have been used to bring a nurturing and comforting affect at home and I’m convinced they might even be able to bring about world peace. And if I was to choose the one cookie recipe to bring about this miracle, it would be master chocolatier Jacques Torres’ chocolate chip cookie. If Ruth is a candidate for sainthood, then I think Jacques should receive a knighthood on possibly the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever had, period.
These cookies are big, about 5- to 6-inch in diameter. Which give these cookies three textures, from crisp on the perimeter to chewy to gooey in the center. The resting time of 24 to 36 hours for the dough allows the liquid ingredients to be fully absorbed, making for a more richly flavored cookie. The ratio of chocolate to dough should be about 40 to 60 percent. And with a generous sprinkling of sea salt on top of the cookie before baking gives the cookies another delicious dimension.
So maybe I’m exaggerating slightly about the world peace thing…but they might win you a new friend or two.-s
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Jacques Torres
Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling
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
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.