salted chocolate chunk cookies

I know I already have a million chocolate chip cookie recipes on the blog but — brace yourselves — I’ve got a new one! 

It all started a couple months back when I was tasked with revamping the bakery chocolate chunk cookie. Bakery baking is different from home baking — bigger, fancier, more expensive — plus, the recipe has to be mass producible. Not too finicky or complicated, and the method has to be clear enough that a variety of people can just come in and work with it at different stages without too much headache. 

I won’t bore you with the progression of failures and frustrations, but I did finally land on a recipe that seems to be working well, at least for the time being (bakery baking being all about the switching things up and seasonal recipes, yadda yadda yadda): Vaughn’s perfect chocolate chip cookie from the NY Times

Vaughn did a whole bunch of tests — you can watch the video here — and finally landed on a formula that I’ve now adopted as my own. 

I don’t normally like cookie dough but I can NOT keep my hands out of this stuff.

A few highlights that I gleaned from him:

  • Beat the butter and sugar for a loooong time — at least  5 minutes — to get it all fluffy and aerated. 
  • Use a mix of cake and bread flour: cake flour for lightness, bread flour for chew.
  • Good quality chocolate, and loads of it
  • Chill the dough in the fridge for 24 hours prior to baking or freezing.
  • Salt salt salt the finished cookies. 

At the bakery, we add in some buckwheat flour, and we use a blend of chocolate, a good portion of which is Callebaut which we get it in 11-pound blocks and chop it by hand. The small flecks of chocolate go all through the dough, and the big chunks create the most delicious chocolate puddles. (To amp up the puddles, we plunk a couple big lumps on top of each cookie right before baking.) 

Any volunteers to lick the beater?

At home, I take the easy way out: no buckwheat (because I don’t have any), and no fancy (expensive!) Callebaut. Instead, I use chocolate chips — I like a blend of semi sweet and milk chocolate — though if I have semi-sweet bar chocolate on hand, or chocolate disks, I’ll add that, too. (Remember: chocolate chips have an anti-clumping additive that prevents them from melting, so hand-chopped bar chocolate will create superior chocolate puddles.) 

frozen cookie pucks

The other bakery habit I’ve adopted is that, after the dough has rested in the fridge for a day, I’ll weigh the dough into 50 gram blobs (half the size that we do at the bakery) and then shape the blobs into pucks and freeze them.

Then, whenever I want cookies, I bake off a few cookies for a limited (gotta check myself!) supply of fresh chocolate chunk deliciousness. 

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from the NY Times Cooking website.

To make your own cake flour: put 2 tablespoons cornstarch in the bottom of a one-cup measuring cup. Top it off with all-purpose flour. Stir well.

If you don’t have a kitchen scales, this one is a workhorse and costs less than 10 bucks. BUY IT.

2½ sticks butter
10 ounces brown sugar
8 ounces white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
8½ ounces cake flour
8½ ounces bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1¼ pounds chocolate chunk and/or chips
Flaky salt for sprinkling (I use Maldon)

Cream together the butter and sugars — beat briskly for at least 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add the flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, and mix gently just until combined. Stir in the chocolate. Cover the bowl with plastic and chill in the fridge for 24 hours.

To shape and freeze: Divide the dough into 50-gram blobs. Roll the blobs into balls and then shape into pucks. Since the edges cook first, make sure the edges are a little higher than the middles. Place the pucks on a cookie sheet, freeze, and then bag them and store in the freezer.

To bake: place frozen cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown and the tops are puffy and no longer wet looking. (Err on the side of underbaking.) When pulling the cookies from the oven, smack the tray on stove top to make them deflate. Sprinkle the tops with Maldon salt and let them rest on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes to set up before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Yield: 43 50-gram cookies

This same time, years previous: cousin week, family week, puff!, smart hostessing, sinking in, the quotidian (6.16.14), language study, Kate’s enchiladas.


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