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chocolate chip cookies

Last year at work we did some social activities as part bonding, part raising funds for our Christmas party. My area arranged a sort of in house coffee cart, complete with baked treats you could buy with your coffee. Of course I volunteered to bake, and as well as raising a bit of money for the team, I made a serious effort at perfecting my choc-chip cookie game 🙂

perfect layers

perfect layers of chocolate

Many people have spent many hours (weeks?, months?) pondering this question, and for my part, you can see a few of my many batches below, including the quite different colours, textures and shapes you get from variations in the dough, resting time, and baking. I probably should have, but didn’t, write up all the variations; but I can reassure you that even the ‘worst’ were pretty damn good, and as long as you use good chocolate (ie the sort you’d actually eat plain) and don’t over-bake, you can’t really go wrong.

scoop 80g balls of dough

sprinkle dough with sea salt

The New York Times article that originally inspired me many years ago, and probably started the whole ‘perfect chocolate chip cookie’ game, is particularly worth reading if you’re interested in what affects the texture and flavour, as it delves into the differences that different types of flour and sugar make, as well as the all important ageing time of the dough, and size of the cookies. Many of the ideas would be applicable to many biscuits (cookies), and you can easily try, for example, a mixture of sugars, or ageing the dough, with any biscuit.

choc chip cookie variations

chocolate chip cookies

The end result is chewy and crunchy, butterscotchy and salty, with amazing sheets of chocolate throughout. I’m not remotely brave enough to say these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever, but they’re the ones I liked best of an already great bunch – combining the NYT version with a few tweaks I got from a trial of different recipes by the Boy who Bakes. Apart from ageing the dough, the main thing that will seem very strange is the size of the cookies. You can certainly make them smaller, but the texture won’t be the same – again, more details in the NYT article.

chocolate chip cookies

chocolate chip cookies

Best ever chocolate chip cookies?

Adapted slightly from the NYT article – Perfection? Hint: It’s Warm and Has a Secret , plus The Boy Who Bakes’ ‘cookie trial’

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 180g white sugar
  • 2 eggs + 2 yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 240g cake flour
  • 200g bread flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 400g thin dark chocolate bars, (60-70% cocoa solids) roughly broken or chopped
  • Extra flaky sea salt to sprinkle

Using a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until very pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, sift in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer, tip chocolate in and incorporate gently by hand without breaking up too much. Cover dough tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, and up to 72 hours if you wish.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 170C, or 160C fan forced. Line a tray with baking paper.

Scoop six or eight 70g or 80g mounds of dough (about 1/4 or 1/3 cup) onto tray (depending on size), trying to turn horizontally and poke back in any chocolate pieces that are sticking out to stop chocolate leaking during baking. If the dough gets warm, put the tray back into the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes.

Sprinkle dough lightly with extra sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 12-16 minutes. Carefully ‘bash’ the tray on a rack to collapse the puffy tops, then cool on the tray for 10 minutes, before carefully sliding the baking paper onto the rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough, or keep dough, refrigerated, to bake the next day. Balls of dough can also be frozen for later baking.  Bake from frozen for an extra couple of minutes.

Yield: approximately 2 dozen huge cookies.