Sunday, August 8, 2010
David Lebovitz's chocolate chip cookies
But not just any run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookie, a homemade one with dark chocolate chips that was slightly gooey and chewy on the inside.
Some of my readers may or not remember my day job (at least when I am not on maternity leave) is as a journalist. And so I approached this self assignment much as I would approach any assignment.
With lots and lots of research. Did you know that there are thousands of pages devoted to the art of making the chocolate chip cookie? Now, obviously some of this is subjective. Whereas you may prefer a crispy cookie with nuts, I prefer mine to be chewy, even slightly under-baked but with semi-sweet chocolate.
There are those who swear by melted butter while others insist the butter must be firm but room temperature. There are some who insist you must chill your dough while other purists deplore you not to use nuts. And so it was through this journey of research that I discovered the recipe from David Lebovitz's chocolate chip cookies.
My decision to attempt this cookie came down to a few simple reasons. The main one was technique, which you will see with refrigerator cookies, to chill the dough for as long as 24 hours before baking to prevent against spreading. I have also tried Lebovitz's recipes in the past, and they have turned out great. And frankly, I love reading his blog. He is witty, he is talented, and he lives in Paris. In fact you should run over there and read his blog, but not before you've been through mine, of course. But I digress. Back to the matter at hand.
You can read the recipe over here.
Substitutions: I used dark brown sugar rather than light brown sugar and I used pecans for the nuts.
Would I make this again? Yes, I would. These are decadent and feel rather more gourmet than your regular chocolate chip cookie. But what worked most in its favour was the fact that you can keep some of the dough chilled, or even frozen, until you are ready to use it. On weekends, when most family members are apt to drop by, it is easy peasy to pop these in the oven for a few minutes and amaze your guests with freshly baked cookies.
My only complaint is that some of the dough becomes so crumbly that it becomes unusable, and there were nuts and chocolate chunks that I couldn't push back into the dough than I would have liked. Next time, I may use a quarter cup less nuts.
Grade: Four-and-a-half stars out of five. These high-chocolate quotient cookies were delicious, gooey, indulgent, chunky, yummy. I could go on. They are the chocolate chip cookies you would bake for a gourmet girls' night in, but maybe not for your younger nieces and nephews because of the darker chocolate, and also the nuts.
But they weren't quite as chewy as I would have liked. And while I liked the convenience of the frozen dough, and the fact that the cookies did not spread like other cookie disasters, too much of it became crumbly enough that I couldn't use it at all. One thing I will say, though, is because the refrigerated dough kept these cookies from spreading they were a lot more consistent in shape and size than other cookies I've made. Bonus points on that one, Lebovitz.
But my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie is not over. When I sent a Twitter-wide request for favourite chocolate chip recipes, a Facebook friend of mine responded with the mother of all chocolate chip cookie recipes. It's got vanilla pudding, it's got white chocolate chips, it's got melted butter. Drool, drool, drool. Trust me, you'll want to hear all about it.