Monday, December 7, 2009

[Cookie 052] Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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There is a place in New York City that makes the single best chocolate chip cookie that I have ever tasted in my entire life of tasting cookies. True, I have not tasted every chocolate chip cookie available--nor have I by any means tested out hundreds of chocolate chip cookie recipes. But let me just say, there exists a cookie of this variety that is so spectacular, so supreme, so sexy, that it has become my ultimate aspiration--my holy grail, if you will--in my quest to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe.

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Now, The Book has several chocolate chip cookie recipes, and all do a great job of highlighting a certain texture of the cookie: you've got the Soft and Chewy, the Cakey, and now, the Thin and Crispy; and out of all the recipes, I think that these come the closest to this golden cookie that I so strive to replicate.

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But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you more about this uber-cookie. It comes from The City Bakery--an incredible bakery/lunch spot up by Union Square in Manhattan. Go there for lunch and you'll be totally bowled over just by their completely amazing buffet (and I'm definitely not a buffet person, on the whole, but I just can't say no to Israeli couscous or maple-roasted Butternut Squash or caramelized Bosc pears). But their chocolate chip cookie. I can't even describe how good it is, but I'll try: it has a crispy exterior, but the moment you bite into it, you realize that the inside is barely even set. It's so soft and undercooked (in the BEST way) and each chocolate chip melts sublimely with every bite. And the dough has this complex caramely flavor that takes the normally boring dough in this classic cookie to an entirely new level. Don't believe me? The New York Times even wrote about it in their quest for the best chocolate chip cookie.

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Okay, so, what I want in my chocolate chip cookie is this perfect balance between crispiness and underbaked-ness. And it needs to have a great flavor not only in the chocolate used, but also in the dough. Martha's recipe fulfills the former part of my demands, but only when the cookie is first brought out of the oven. And because cookies don't really last more than an hour after their baking time in my dorm room, it satisfied me for the time being.

Now, the recipe is supposed to make thin and crispy cookies, but mine turned out thick and only crispy after they hung around for a day or so. I'm sure if I made each cookie with less dough I would have produced a cookie just like what the recipe intends, but I wanted mine to be more like City Bakery's, so I used more dough in each mound. In fact, after I had baked 2 batches I just dumped the remaining dough onto the cookie sheet and made an mega cookie--and it was SO RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS.

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You can't tell how big it is in this picture, but trust me...it was quite large

Because I used way too much dough in this last cookie, it didn't get cooked all the way through in the amount of time the recipe required (obviously!). But this is just what I wanted--and for the second half of the baking time, I actually turned up the heat quite a bit so that the exterior would get crispy without cooking the inside. Success! I'm not so sure how this cookie would taste if given the chance to set overnight, but my roommates and I agreed that straight out of the oven it tasted like pure gold.

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In the end, the recipe is by no means intended to make the cookie that City Bakery makes, but if you alter the baking time (less time/higher heat), you'll get close. One day I'll really buckle down and experiment with all these variations and come up with a recipe that gets closest to my idol cookie, but until then, this will have to do.

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Now, if you live in/near Manhattan, you should be planning your next trip to City Bakery (it's on 18th St., btw). If you don't live nearby, you should be preheating your oven. So, everyone's busy now, right? Good. Hop to it!

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Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, 1/4 cup water, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden brown 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

****
{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 1/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 5/5
Tastiness: 4/5
Attractiveness: 2.5/5 (As far as chocolate chip cookies go, they weren't that glamorous)
Is it worth it?: If you like them thin and crisp, duh, make it! But, as I said, there's a chocolate chip cookie recipe for everyone.

{Pairings}
Drink: Why mess with the classic? Milk would be the drink of choice.
Song: Heroes -- David Bowie
Activity: Watching The O.C.--which I've been doing a lot lately. Don't judge! I still have a poster of the show from season 1 hanging in my room. Seth Cohen and I are getting married. Okay, I've spoke too much...

13 comments:

Barbara said...

I can't stand it!!! I want one now!!! I am suffering, and my feet are cold. Can't wait to see you and lick out the bowl when you make cookies.

Dolce said...

Your cookie looks very tempting... though rather thick to me on your pictures !

City Bakery does make good cookies. There is also a championship list of cookies in NY on Serious Eats if you are interested in tasting some other beauties.

:)

Lizzie said...

@Mom- You just wait...I'm saving all the crazy cookies for when I come home!

@Dolce- Thanks--and I agree, they are too thick. And also, thanks for the tip off about that list...I'm going to go check it out right now!

Dolce said...

Let me know if you need a buddy to go check a new ccc... Always willing to taste anything new :)

Barbara said...

So I made these cookies. I think I over mixed them. They didn't come out as pretty as yours and they were a bit greasy.

Can't wait for the crazy cookies. Are there any ingredients you want me to pick up - other than white flour and sugar, both of which are currently absent from the cupboard?

Patricia Scarpin said...

My hubby and I intend to go to NY next September/October - tks for the cookie info! Maybe you and I may get together at the bakery for some cookies and lots of talking?? ;)

These are precious, Lizzie - I would love to grab a couple through the screen to make my morning a better one!

Lizzie said...

patricia- thats awesome! let me know if you end up coming--it would be so cool to chat in person!

jfklds said...

i want one. now.

Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog. I loved the main idea of your blog. I do want to learn how to bake cookies...and going through these recipes could be a great start :)

I do have one question though...Can I use a beater hook instead of the paddle attachment since I don't have one.

Thank you.

Ocean.

Lizzie said...

Ocean-

Thanks for dropping by my blog. If by beater hook you're referring to the single hook attachments for your mixer that are called dough hooks, they are generally used for bread making, when you need to knead the dough without over working it or breaking it apart. I have never tried using the dough hook for mixing up cookie dough, but I would think that it wouldn't incorporate the ingredients uniformly enough. You could give it a try, but it just might not do as thorough of a job as a paddle.

It might or might not work for beating up butter and sugar though, so you can give it a go! Let me know how it goes...

-Lizzie

Elyn said...

there is no water in your ingredient but in DIRECTION :

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, 1/4 cup water, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pls explain.

Elyn said...

No water in the ingredients list but in DIRECTION..

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, 1/4 cup water, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.


Pls explain.

Colette Zabo said...

Love your Pairings section and review. Your blog's fun to read!