Good cooks have their go-to recipes, the work horses of the kitchen that please person after person time after time. Often these aren’t elaborate – the perfect yeast rolls, the basic vanilla ice cream, the chocolatey pudding. For years, I tried to find my perfect chocolate cookie recipe. Again and again, they came up short – too thick, too crunchy, and too dry. My ideal chocolate chip cookie is thin but chewy, moist but with a slight sugary-crisp to the edge, and not overflowing with hunks of chocolate but with the essence of chocolate throughout. Time after time, I picked up break-and-bake dough and called it good enough. Then I decided to get serious. I asked friends, and I did my homework. I decided, perhaps, that a good chocolate chip cookie was even more about technique and methodology than recipe. Nothing but butter was ever an option in my mind, but the pre-chill that keeps the dough from over-spreading is a must. Did you know chocolate chips are designed not to melt? Unevenly chunk up a chocolate bar instead. Add all the bits, chunks, and dust for a delightful mix of lightly chocolatey flavored cookie and decadent chunks.The overnight rest is essential to let the moisture fully seep into the dry ingredients; break-and-bakes get it right there. A little tap during baking compacts the crumb to make them nicely chewy.  Parchment lets you remove the cookies while still soft, stopping them from cooking, but preventing any mangling. With all that in mind, the recipe soon fell together. Enjoy!

The Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 oz. butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1  tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 oz milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

In mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and molasses until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Add dry mixture to wet and beat until combined. Add chocolate and nuts. Stir gently until additions are evenly distributed. Tightly cover dough and let chill overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment, spaced evenly. Slightly and evenly flatten dough.Bake cookies about 10 minutes, rotating tray if needed. Lightly tap each cookie with a flat spatula and cook for two to three more minutes. Side parchment off cookie sheet to allow cookies to cool.

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