Cookie dreams

For our first Valentine’s Day together in 2009, we decided to cook a meal together and not really give each other any gift–any store-bought gift, anyway. Skip surprised me with a large container of homemade spicy hot chocolate mix (it was divine and I still dream of it sometimes) and I made him a big batch of chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were a hit, they still are everytime I make them now. I’m pretty sure that they’re one of the main reasons he married me.

During our first year together, I lived on the second floor of a house in a cute little residential neighborhood. On one of my runs, a block from the apartment, I saw a sign in a window announcing that a new restaurant–a pizza place(!)–was under development and there was an email and website for more info. So, once home, I looked it up; I signed us up for more information and the soft-opening. I mean, pizza is one of my (and Skip’s) favorite food, and Skip made (still does) one of the best pizzas I’d ever had; so, of course we had to check this out. Well, that place, Delancey, became one of our favorite restaurants and is where I first met Skip’s mom and brother, and our families met for the first time before our wedding in 2012. That place, in addition to its delicious pizza, also has some of the best chocolate chip cookies in town, hands-down, even better than mine. Pizza and chocolate chip cookies, this place was made for the two of us! Oh, it’s a little slice of heaven that we try to visit once every month if possible…but, when we’re craving cookies and a trip to Delancey isn’t on the calendar, I make these cookies, and enjoy every bite.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated 

2 C (256 g) All-purpose flour
2 Tbsp (16 g) Stone-ground rye flour
1/2 tsp (3 g) Baking soda
1/2 tsp (3 g) Salt
1/2 C (118 g) Butter
1/2 C (119 g) Granulated sugar
1 Large vanilla bean, split down middle & seeds scraped out
1 C (199 g) Packed light brown sugar
1 Large egg plus 1 yolk (69 g)
1 bag (283 g) 60% Bittersweet chocolate chips

Maldon sea salt (optional)

Details
* Combine the flours, baking soda, & salt in a bowl; set aside.
* Add the vanilla bean seeds to the granulated sugar & rub in the seeds with your fingers. Combine with the brown sugar in a large bowl.
* Melt butter and cool to room temperature.
* Add the melted butter to the sugars & stir till well-combined.
* Add the egg plus egg yolk. Mix well.
* Add the flour mixture & stir until just combined; you shouldn’t see any streaks fo flour.
* Add the chocolate chips & mix well.
* Now, the hard part: Cover the dough & place in the refrigerator for 8 to 48 hours–trust me on this one, if you can leave the dough (or most of it) alone for 48 hours, do it!
* When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375 °F.
* Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you’re ready to bake.
* For larger cookies, use about 3/4 C of dough; you’ll probably have to press in stray chocolate chips. Place the dough balls a couple of inches apart on the baking sheet.
* Place in the heated oven, bake for 10 minutes & then drop the oven temperature to 350 C for another 10-12 minutes, or until they have nice golden brown edges.
* As soon as you pull the cookies out of the oven, lightly sprinkle a little sea salt on the top of each. This is optional but highly recommended!
* Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Notes:
* A couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract can be substituted in place of the vanilla bean.
* I like Giradelli’s 60% bittersweet chocolate chips for these cookies–they’re larger than many other brands of chocolate chips.
* Why rest the dough? Well, the ingredients meld together during the resting period to become a cohesive dough that has these delicious caramel undertones that you don’t get otherwise. The rest allows the gluten in the dough to relax, improving the cookie texture–you get nice crispy edges and a chewy middle. Is it absolutely critical, honestly no. I’ve baked these cookies within an hour of mixing them up and they were still really good cookies, but they were better with resting.
* The sea salt finish amplifies the complexity of the flavor, intensifying the carmel and chocolate flavors in the cookie. The cookies are still good without it but they’re best with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s