I bake a lot and have a ton of no-fail recipes that I turn to time and time again. One of the things I’m missing in my repertoire is a kick-ass chocolate chip cookie (CCC) recipe. My perfect CCC is thick, crispy on the edges, chewy on the inside, and FILLED with semi-sweet chocolate (would you like some cookie with those chocolate chips?). This omission isn’t from lack of trying – I’ve made a lot of CCCs in my day but none of them have been home runs. In the past several years I’ve stopped trying new recipes just because I’m afraid they won’t meet my expectations.
I finally tried Joanne Chang’s famous Flour Bakery & Cafe Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (click here for the recipe and the background story on how she created it). This recipe made the rounds of all the baking blogs about a year ago and led to an outpouring of opinions as to whether this is the ultimate CCC. I’m late joining the party but late is better than never, right?
There are a few things different about this recipe than the usual. First, Joanne uses bread flour. Second, the cookie is better after the dough has rested in the fridge for at least 24 hours. I hate waiting, especially for cookies, but I love the anticipation of knowing there’s a beautiful, delicious batch of cookie dough in my fridge, almost ready to be baked. I know, I’m weird. I take baked goods way too seriously.
Her recipe doesn’t call for vanilla in the ingredient list but I added it anyways.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup bread flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 1/2 cups chopped semisweet chocolate and 1/2 cup finely chopped milk chocolate to the flour mixture. With the mixer on low (or using a wooden spoon if mixing by hand, for those who aren’t as lazy as me!) slowly blend the chocolate-flour mixture into the butter mixture until it’s completely mixed.
Joanne recommends using the best quality chocolate you can get your hands on. I have a beautiful brick of Callebaut dark chocolate on hand but it was too late in the evening for me to start hacking at it. I used Chipits semi-sweet chocolate instead and omitted the milk chocolate (only because I didn’t have any).
I had the dough in my fridge for a full 24 hours. It was pretty stiff to dig out with a spoon, thus the irregular shape of my cookies.
I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. Joanne recommends forming 1/4 cup balls of dough on the baking sheet and pressing them down slightly. This kinda freaked me out, thinking the balls of dough would be too big, so I just spooned it out and shaped it with my hands. After baking, I wished that I listened to her. The cookies weren’t as thick as I wanted. I also over-baked the first batch – they’re supposed to be pulled out of the oven when they’re golden brown on the edges and still slightly soft in the center (15-18 minutes of baking if you made the cookies Joanne-sized).
So, what did I think of Joanne’s Flour Cafe CCCs? They were pretty damn tasty, especially with the chocolate chips still melt-y straight from the oven.
I may have burned myself by being too impatient and not waiting for these to cool. Oh well. No pain no gain.
These cookies are really really good, even in the days to follow, but I think I need to make them again, following Joanne’s instructions to the letter and not over-baking them. They weren’t as chewy as I wanted, nor as chocolatey, but I’m pretty sure those were my errors, not due to the fault of Ms. Chang’s recipe.
I’m on a mission, people, to find the ultimate CCC. This is attempt number one and quite the contender.