Apr 2011

The “Perfect” Chocolate Chip Cookie

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few weeks ago, I received a review copy of Maida Heatter’s Cookies from the good folks at Andrew McMeel Publishing. The soft-covered tome contained an extensive collection of unique and homey recipes curated by Ms. Heatter, “the Julia Child of desserts.” Reading through hundreds of pages of delectable creations, I unsurprisingly developed an intense hankering for freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I can be so very predictable sometimes.

Ironically, the cookie bible did not contain a single straightforward chocolate chip cookie recipe. I could’ve baked “Extra-Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Monster Cookies” or “Key West Chocolate Treasures,” but I desired something simple and soulful, and no fancy substitute would do.

To cure my very specific cookie craving, I turned to an article published in the New York Times in 2008 about the quest for the “perfect” chocolate chip cookie. The promise of perfection motivated me to go through the trouble of procuring bread flour, bittersweet chocolate disks, and French sea salt. Not to mention, the dough needed to rest in the fridge for 36 hours. Though not technically difficult, it was easily the most high-maintenance cookie I’d ever attempted.

After everything was sifted, creamed, mixed, portioned and baked, I was left with a dozen and a half really amazing cookies. As promised, the exterior was golden and crisp, while the interior was slightly gooey and stratified with chocolate. The flakes of salt atop each cookie kept the sweetness in check and added depth of flavor. It was the most perfect chocolate chip cookie I’d ever eaten.

  • 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 fรจves, at least 60 percent cacao content
  • Sea salt

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

Using a kitchen scale, scoop 6 3.5-ounce mounds of dough onto baking sheet. Make 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.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Recipe adapted from Jacques Torres. [For Printable Recipe Click Here]

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43 thoughts on “The “Perfect” Chocolate Chip Cookie

  1. I’ve read about these cookies dozens of times before but always thought the recipe sounded too finicky for such a simple cookie. However, after looking at these photos, I’m suddenly inspired to give it a go. These look outrageous.

  2. i’ve been making these since 2008, since the recipe came out. they really are perfect! i’m glad for your sake you found this!

  3. They really are worth the wait — they are my favorite chocolate chip cookie too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Been far too long since I’ve made them… maybe it’ll be my first post-Lent baking project!

    P.S. Red KitchenAid Stand Mixers rock.

  4. I love these cookies, too. I didn’t notice a huge difference between the taste of them through the hours/days, but they were good at any time IMO :). Your cookies look yummy.

  5. Cathy, I made these too this week! There really is no other chocolate chip cookie that even comes close, in my opinion. In fact, I brought a bag of them to brunch today for Alexandra’s husband. As if we needed any additional food today, lol. Great to see you, as aways!

  6. this is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, but you’re right, it is HIGH MAINTENANCE. worth it tho when there’s that pop of the salt in your mouth, with the sweet.

  7. Great recipe!
    I have a question actually – why is it necessary for the dough to refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours? Just wondering the benefit! Would it be bad to just use it after creating the dough?
    Thanks so much!!!
    Looks delicious!!!!

  8. Richelle – From the New York Times article:

    To put the technique to the test, one batch of the cookie dough recipe given here was allowed to rest in the refrigerator. After 12, 24, and 36 hours, a portion was baked, each time on the same sheet pan, lined with the same nonstick sheet in the same oven at the same temperature.

    At 12 hours, the dough had become drier and the baked cookies had a pleasant, if not slightly pale, complexion. The 24-hour mark is where things started getting interesting. The cookies browned more evenly and looked like handsomer, more tanned older brothers of the younger batch. The biggest difference, though, was flavor. The second batch was richer, with more bass notes of caramel and hints of toffee.

  9. Great pics! I love a good chocolate chip cookie! Love reading your blog…would be great if you could check mine out too ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Waiting for them in the fridge!!! Can’t wait to bake and try them!
    although I think you mean roughly the size of golf balls?
    if they were tennis balls they’d be massive…..

  11. Nico – Squee! How exciting! And actually, tennis balls is accurate. These babies are massive. The batter is supposed to yield only 18 cookies.

  12. Trevor– Yes, you can freeze the dough. However, I’m not sure if the subtle caramel flavor that comes from “aging” the dough will shine through after freezing. Regardless, you’ll still have great cookies at your fingertips whenever the mood strikes!

  13. Do you have to refrigerate the dough for 24 hours or can you start baking right after you finish making the dough?

  14. Trevor – You can bake straightaway, but I find that letting the dough rest allows for caramel flavors to develop more intensely. Also, the dough can be a bit “warm” when it’s first made, which will result in flat cookies. Chilling the dough helps cookies keep their shape. Ultimately, it’s your call!

  15. OK Ill share my experience so far. I just finished making the dough. 1st the chocolate. If you are worried that you wont be able to find the chocolate in’disks or fรจves’, dont be. If the chocolate you get does not say brick or is in the shape of a bar, then most likely it will be in disk form; even if the picture of the bag shows the chocolate in chip form. I never knew that. I bought Ghirardelli. Also my dough did not come out at yellowy(buttery) as yours. I think this stems from the fact that I buy ‘Imperial’, which is good butter but really isnt as yellow as others. I will update again Monday when I cook mine.Thanks!

  16. BTW who in the hell decides the different flour sizes? I had to buy a big bag of Bread flour since neither Kroger or Walmart carried any smaller sizes. I highly doubt, even within a year, I will use all of this bread flour. At least it only cost a little less that $4 though.

  17. Ok. I made two batches of these cookies. The first batch came out wrong, cause I mixed everything at the same time together. (didnt pay attn to directions)

    2nd batch. I followed the directions to the letter. However my cookies dont come out like the picture. They get a bit more fluffy and have more cakey fluffy kinda taste to them. Any help on why that is? Also im only using 1 pound of chocolate disks could that be a reason?

  18. Trevor – Do the cookies taste “fluffy and cakey” after they’ve cooled? When the cookies first come out of the oven, they can be fluffy or cakey. But once they cool, they should be crisp around the edges and softer within. And no, I don’t think that using 1 pound of chocolate is the reason. In fact, I only use 1 pound. Did you make sure to “cream” the butter and sugar for the full five minutes?

    By the way, if you’re in the L.A. area, we should bake together! I want you to have perfect cookies ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. yea they sort of have a fluffy cakey taste. Maybe its one of these two problems: I have a regular oven but for small jobs like this i also use my Breville smart oven (convection OFF). Could that be a problem? Or maybe it is my baking powder? IDK. lol love to but i live in Georgia. Maybe I need to cream them longer.

  20. WOW. Im one dumb mofo. I thought I grabbed baking soda. But instead Ive been uses baking powder for both. Sigh. So ive practically been adding double baking powder to the recipe.

  21. Just finished baking these- waited 39 hours- they’re big and yummy and the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. Can’t wait to test them out on my 4 year old!

  22. Wow, I know this is a older post but I just stumble upon your page and fell in love with your page. I have a quick question I have 70 cacao chocolate chip in my pantry and am curious if it would make a huge difference or alter the taste if I use that instead of buying chocolate disk?

  23. These cookies are insanely good. I cannot believe I did not find the recipe sooner. Eager to bake and unwilling to get to Surfas or Whole Foods or Restaurant Depot to find discs, I just used Kirkland choc chips from Costco, but I cut the chocolate–I used 3/4 pound instead of 1.25 lbs. The dough is so fantastic that a bit less chocolate is still sublime (and I am a chocolate addict through and through). Thanks!

  24. Hi Chaty, May I have the recipes in grams? I am living in Australia and it’s very hard for me to use U.S measurement.
    I really appreciate your reply.

    Thank you


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