Getting Through It

I'm not sure how you'll get through the rest of the winter, but I plan on keeping a steady supply of the best chocolate chip cookies  on-hand. 

My dear friend Tara O'Brady (of Seven Spoons) perfected this recipe while assembling her award-winning cookbook. It's swept the globe and BuzzFeed even called it "the best" in their cookie-off last year. I've made this recipe no fewer than 100 times and it's, handily, the very greatest cookie of any flavour you'll ever eat.  High praise, certainly, but you'll see. Inexplicably, she calls them "Basic"; they're anything but.

The recipe is below, exactly as it is in the book. (And if you're not on-board with weighing your dry ingredients, I can tell you it's a game-changer. Get into it.) 

The cookies, left, and their creator Tara, photographed last summer. 

Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, chopped
3¼ cups (415 g) all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons medium-grain kosher salt
1½ cups (320 g) packed light brown sugar
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces (340 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional) 

Preheat an oven to 360°F (180°C). Line 2 heavy baking sheets or sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan over the lowest heat possible, melt the butter. There should be no sizzle, crackling, or pops; let the butter ooze into liquid, without boiling, so minimal moisture is lost. Stir regularly, until the butter is almost completely melted. (This is a good time to chop the chocolate.)

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Set aside.

Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars. The mixture may look like it will seize, but it will relax with a few seconds of stirring. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking briskly after each addition, but only to combine. Stir in the vanilla. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry ingredients. Once mostly blended, fold the chocolate into the dough until the remaining flour is incorporated, and the dough no longer looks dusty. Bring any stray ingredients up from the bottom of the bowl. Do not overmix.

If the dough seems warm or looks overly glossy, refrigerate for 5 minutes. Then roll into balls using 3 tablespoons of dough for each. Arrange on the prepared pans, leaving 3 inches (7.5 cm) in between each. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden, yet the cookies are still soft at the center, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. Leave the cookies on the sheet pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Continue shaping and baking cookies with the remaining dough, making sure to use a cold sheet pan for each batch.

The cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Thin and Crunchy Variation: For a thinner, crunchy-through-and-through cookie, use 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (390 g) flour.

Shiny and Crisp Variation: For a shinier cookie with a crisp surface and edge, decrease the brown sugar to 1¼ cups (265 g) packed light brown sugar and increase the granulated sugar to ¾ cup (150 g).

Whole Wheat Variation: Some or all of the all-purpose flour can be replaced with whole wheat or rye. It will, of course, change the texture and look of the finished cookie, but is worthy of a try.

Nutty Variation: This amount of dough can accommodate ¾ cup (75 g) chopped walnuts or pecans.

NOTE: I prefer baking batches one tray at a time, but two pans can be baked together, one on a rack in the upper third, and one in the lower. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back once while baking.

 

Image © 2016 Jason Hudson
Recipe © 2015 Tara O'Brady, Used with permission.