Over the years Kathy and I have tried countless recipes in our quest for the very best chocolate chip cookie. In the last couple years, we’ve settled on Alton Brown’s recipe from I’m Just Here for More Food. It’s very easy–the butter is melted, which eliminates the creaming step–and the results are delicious. Of course, just because AB’s recipe is great doesn’t mean we’ve given up our quest.
Well, last week, the New York Times had an article by David Leite that was written just for us. Perfection? Hint: It’s Warm and Has a Secret begins with the story of Mrs. Wakefield’s original Toll House Inn recipe and ends with the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. There are a few things that set this recipe apart. It calls for relatively large cookies with a light sprinkling of sea salt on top. It also calls for chocolate couverture disks instead of chips or chunks. But the biggest difference is the wait. After mixing up the dough, you cover it up and stick it in the fridge for 24-36 hours (or up to 72 hours). First no-knead bread and now this: the Times really doesn’t want us to eat today, does it? I’ll let you read the article yourself if you’re curious about the reasoning behind the wait. Curiously, Mrs. Wakefield’s original recipe also called for an overnight rest.
Of course, we had to try the recipe right away. Kathy mixed up a batch and cooked up one sheet right away. Even without the wait, the cookies were very good. Maybe not good enough to knock Alton Brown off his cookie throne, but good. A day later, we baked another sheet. The dough was darker and drier and the cookies were much improved, with a richer flavor and better texture (a great combination of crispy and chewy). Kathy finally cooked the remainder of the cookies the following day. After a two-day rest, the cookies were even better. These really were the best chocolate chip cookies I’d ever tasted. Yum!
Okay, so… great recipe, long wait. If only there was a way to accelerate the process. Well, maybe there is. Slashfood today links to an article over at Ideas in Food with the answer: vacuum seal the dough for a few hours. Vacuum sealing allows the liquids in the dough to fully saturate the flour in just a few hours instead of a couple days. Cool. If only we had a vacuum sealer.