considering I don’t really post that much, it seems gratuitous that this is the third chocolate chip cookie recipe to make it onto the blog. (see: chocolate chip cookies from “not without salt” and tahini chocolate chip cookies.) but I promise, there is a story behind it:
last weekend, I promised to make banana bread (using my favorite recipe from joanne chang’s famous flour bakery) for a picnic hangout. I scrambled to make it the night before, having come back in d.c. later than planned after changing my travel plans last-minute. around 2am, after waiting 1 hour and 10 minutes for the freaking bread to finish baking, I finally went to sleep.
it was a beautifully misty morning when we we set out on an unexpectedly taxing hike the following day. heavy rains had blocked our planned hiking path with a fast-flowing and deceptively deep stream. in our efforts to find a different point to ford the stream, two members of our party got lost in the dense foliage of the george washington national forest. we didn’t locate them until an hour later – one was sitting, almost hidden in dead leaves, legs bloodied and left ankle sprained after multiple falls, while the other, in a panic, had torn through branches and brambles, covering his arms in scratches. it was altogether one of the scarier hiking experiences I’ve had.
after finding the two lost hikers, we were in no mood to continue the hike, especially not with one hiker left hobbling, so we set out for a winery in the area. thankfully, no one’s injuries were very serious, and the mood quickly became more jovial as people unpacked bags of chips, deli meats, tabbouleh, naan, and spreads. after our taxing day, I was glad to have made the banana bread after all.
food is like that. good eats, shared with good people, can completely change the mood. it got me thinking about a possible fun project for this summer and beyond: baking (and maybe cooking) my way through joanne chang’s cookbooks, and sharing the results with friends. first up: these chocolate chunk cookies, shared with my fellow summer associates. I can usually tell if I’ll love a chocolate chip cookie by the way it bakes in the oven – these start as slightly flattened balls, then melt outwards as they bake, forming those coveted ripples of crisp, buttery, brown rings on the outside of the cookie, while the middle of the cookie remains soft and chewy. and my fellow associates certainly agree with me – after 10 minutes, all 36 cookies were gone!
150g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
165g (3/4 cup) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
140g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
150g (1 cup) bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
255g (~1 1/2 cups) bittersweet (60%) chocolate, chopped
70g (~1/2 cups) milk chocolate, chopped*
flour: spectacular recipes from boston’s flour bakery + cafe.
san francisco: chronicle books, 2010.
2 beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed until thoroughly combined (2-3 minutes). scrape the bowl and paddle again to make sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
3 in a medium bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, and salt until well mixed. add the chocolates and toss to combine. on low speed (or with the wooden spoon), slowly add the flour-choclate mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, then mix just until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed. (don’t over-mix!)
4 cover the dough and refrigerate overnight (at least 12 hours and up to 36) before baking. when you are ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350ºF.
5 drop the dough into 1/4-cup balls (for bakery size) or rounded 2-tbsp balls (for standard size), spacing them ~2 inches apart. using the palm of your hand, flatten each ball slightly. (optional: sprinkle cookies lightly with flaky salt.)
6 bake for 15-18 minutes (for bakery size) or 11-13 minutes (for standard size), until cookies are golden brown on the edges and slightly soft in the center. do not let them get brown throughout. let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
7 cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. the unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (and can be frozen for up to 1 month; just defrost while the oven preheats so you can flatten each ball, then add 1-2 extra minutes of bake time).
*I used ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate discs and milk chocolate chips because I didn’t have any chocolate bars to chop, but taking the time to chop the chocolate will add more variation in texture to your cookies.