In Search of The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie
Over three years, I’ve tried more than twenty unique recipes and countless variations and tweaks for one sweet little indulgence: a chocolate chip cookie. My goal, beyond satisfying Greg’s sweet tooth, was to determine which cookie reigned supreme. The results though mostly delicious were inconclusive. Somewhere between Jacques Torres’s New York Times recipe and the Neiman Marcus urban legend recipe, it hit me–there is no singular recipe that can satisfy all chocolate chip cookie lovers. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, “ultimate” deliciousness is on the tongue of the taster. Sometimes, like when I catch a rerun of M.A.S.H., I’m overcome with a craving for an old school Tollhouse chocolate chipper with those thin, crispy edges that smack of caramel. My current favorite has a hint of cinnamon, the chew of oatmeal, a subtle crunch, and lots of good chocolate. (While the amounts and types of chocolate used in the recipes I tested varied, the authors agreed on one point: use the best chocolate you can find.) Yes, even my “ultimate” cookie is a moving target subject to change with the seasons and my state of mind.
With that, I give you my current favorite–my ultimate chocolate chip cookie. It’s packed with chocolate. The wheat flour and flax seeds are used for texture and flavor and not their arguable health benefits. I don’t like a chocolate chip cookie that tastes like something other than, well, a chocolate chip cookie, but cinnamon and espresso powder are subtle additions that deepen the flavor in that “I don’t know what it is, but I like it” kind of way.
Tell me about your Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Bob’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups uncooked regular oats
1/4 cup flax seeds (optional)
2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
flaky sea salt (I use Maldon, but any coarse salt will work.)
- Beat butter and sugars at medium speed in a heavy-duty mixer until creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder. (I use about 1.5 tablespoons for a subtle mocha flavor. Double up if you love the taste of coffee in your sweets.)
- In a food processor, pulse the oatmeal several times until it’s reduced to coarse crumbs.
- Combine ground oatmeal, flax seeds if using, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. With the mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture until just combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Place dough in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight or up to three days. (The dough can also be frozen. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours before you want to use it.)
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Drop cookies by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpats. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until lightly browned but still soft. (I prefer mine slightly under cooked.)
- Cool slightly on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.