Monday, December 29, 2008

Still Life with Cookies

Sarah and I love our desserts. And we love the New York Times. So when the NYT came out with a recipe for the "perfect" chocolate chip cookie, we really had no other option than to take on the baking challenge.

Aside from the fact that perfection is no easy task in general, the NYT likes to make things difficult (difficulty always increases the levels of erudition). No cracker-toffee recipes there. So just in case you haven't read over the recipe yet, I'd like to point out that it not only requires fancy (and expensive) chocolate, but two kinds of flour (neither of which is all-purpose) and coarse salt. These just aren't ingredients we have in our pantry. Even worse, there is a 24-hour chilling time, so you lose out on the instant gratification aspect of chocolate cookies that comes from a 10-minute baking time. Can these cookies really be perfect if there's no melted chocolate by the time I'm done licking the beaters and doing the dishes?

The answer is yes.

They were the perfect combination of a crunchy crispy outside shell, with warm gooiness on the inside. 70% cacao does make a difference, especially when melty. Very much worth the time.

As a side note, however, they only had this godlike quality when fresh out of the oven. The extras that we made and didn't eat until the next day were still good, but had lost the crunchy/chewy dichotomy. They tasted more like regular cookies that one might make with all-purpose flour and Toll-House chocolate chips. The good news is that we froze some of the dough, and the freshly baked cookies from that batch were as good as the originals. Lesson learned: only bake a few cookies at a time (or eat a lot of cookies at a time).

If you're interested in trying the recipe yourself (because you probably have cake flour and bread flour that you need to use up), I highly recommend pairing the recipe with the instructions from Baker's Banter, one of my favorite baking blogs. They have interesting commentary, as well as step-by-step pictures so you know if you're doing it right.

In the end, the cookies can really only be described as works of art. So here we present to you "Still Life with Cookies." Original painting coming soon, so start deciding on your auction price.


(You may be wondering why this recipe was posted in July and I'm writing at about it at nearly six months later. The answer is that I'm pretty behind on everything in life, blog posts included. So expect a lot of miscellaneous pictures to show up in the next week or so. Or maybe never.)


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I was curious as to whether that recipe was worth it. I may have to give it a try.

Liam said...

You wouldn't happen to know what cake flour and bread flour would be for us here in little old NZ, would you? I assume one would be high grade...

Geetha said...

Okay, based on my foolproof internet research, cake flour is probably best equated to standard grade flour, and high grade is the bread flour. That makes sense to me because the bread we used to make always called for high grade flour (which I don't really think we used most of the time). The key (according to the internet) is that the cake flour should have a low protein content and the bread flour a high protein content. Maybe that helps?

Geetha said...