It was quite a weekend in my kitchen, and it is a bit worse for the wear I'm sorry to say - greasy in some spots and sticky in others - as my husband discovered when he grabbed the refrigerator door handle Monday morning. Still, there's nothing like a successful round of home cooking to buoy the spirits - especially when it results in something you can squirrel away - like pickled carrots or candied grapefruit peel - or cookies. If you can leave them alone, that is.
It started on Friday with chocolate chip cookies. You know. Those cookies - the ones everyone is talking about, and with good reason. They are amazing. If you haven't tried them yet, you really should.
I actually didn't have urgent plans to make them, until I saw the flat chocolate "feves," or pastilles, on a visit to Eclipse on Thursday. I remembered the recipe's suggestion to use them instead of chips, in order to create thin layers of chocolate running through the cookie.
Enter the New York Times. When I'd read about the thin layers of chocolate, something clicked in my mind - I remembered biting into a cookie like that somewhere - maybe one of the Patina Group's delis in Los Angeles, or La Farine in Oakland (my all time favorite.) I was still a little skeptical that the curse could be broken - but I decided to give it a shot. (I also have a rice curse - can't cook the stuff to save my life.)
I tried to follow the directions to a T, even measuring the flour by weight instead of volume - since it calls for exactly the same amount of cake and bread flour (the volume measurements are accurate - I checked.)
The box of chocolate pastilles I had was only one pound and the recipe calls for a quarter pound more - so I added some Ghirardelli 60% chips, but I really think they were totally unnecessary. If anything - and if you can believe this - the only flaw with these cookies is that there was too MUCH chocolate. The one thing I did not do, is sprinkle the cookies with salt. Quite honestly, I forgot - but I didn't miss it. Maybe I'll try it next time. I used large crystals of flake sea salt in the batter, and they did have a nice salty tang.
I rested the dough overnight wrapped in plastic - and baked the first batch the following day. I scooped golfball sized chunks of the chilled dough onto a silpat, and baked them at 350 degrees for about 12-13 minutes. On the 1st day, I did about a dozen, and let the rest of the dough go until Sunday.
The gist of the article is that resting the dough allows the flour to absorb more of the butter and eggs, providing a more uniform consistency and more even caramelization. The first batch, rested not quite twenty four hours, was phenomenal - with all that chewy, tender texture - but without the usual greasiness. Sunday's - rested 36 hours, might have been a little more chewy and might have browned a bit more - but I couldn't really tell if it was just the oven (and level of doneness) or a difference in the dough.
I think resting this dough for a day or so is probably beneficial - but beyond that, who knows? And who cares? I'd rather have a great chocolate chip cookie today than a slightly better one tomorrow!