Anyone who’s into chocolate chip cookies knows about the NYT recipes from Jacques Torres. Some swear by it. Last night, I was struck with cookie inspiration and decided to finally try it. My overall impression is that it makes for great texture, meh flavor. Here’s what I’ve found out so far:
No need to be so fancy
- Flour: It calls for, by weight, half bread flour and half cake flour. Depending on the flours you use (their contents vary by brand), I think this amounts to using all all-purpose flour. Perhaps Jacques had some good reason for writing the recipe this way, but until further notice, I’ll assume it was just to look fancy. I didn’t have enough bread or cake flour on hand (most of my bread flour is whole wheat because most of it goes to making, you know, bread), so I used all-purpose flour, and I was perfectly satisfied with the result.
- Chocolate: I hope I don’t even have to tell you that you can use whatever bits of yumminess you want in these cookies. High quality chocolate tastes good, but I used regular old chocolate chips and they taste just as good as they always do.
- Size: The NYT recipe wants you to make enormous cookies. Well, sure, cookies the size of my head can stay soft for a while, but I like my cookies normal size, and I want a recipe that produces well-textured normal size cookies. So I test mine with somewhere around a tablespoon of dough per cookie. The results are good: the success of the NYT recipe is not due to a size trick. It makes good normal size cookies, too.
- Timing: The NYT recipe says to chill the cookie dough for 24-36 hours before baking. What a pain, I wanted cookies last night! So I decided to find out if it really matters. I baked one sheet of the cookies last night right after making up the dough – I stuck them in the fridge for 5 or 10 minutes just because the preheated oven was making the room hot and I wanted them to have a fair chance. Then I put one log of cookie dough in the fridge to be baked tonight, and another log (it makes a lot of cookies!) in the freezer for a rainy day (like yesterday, and today…). I will report on the results of a blind taste test soon. But already I can tell you, unchilled NYT cookies are plenty good. Not too flat or hard or crispy, pretty much just how I like them.
It succeeds in making a cookie that’s chewy, not crispy or cakey.
- It uses a little more brown sugar than white sugar, as a chocolate chip cookies should, in my opinion. Brown sugar is brown because it has molasses in it, and molasses has water in it, so it’s a way of making your cookie a little softer.
- I like to compare cookies to the Nestle Tollhouse recipe, which I’ve had memorized for I don’t know how many years. My Nestle cookies always come out too hard when cool, and kind of greasy. Here’s approximately how to make NYT cookies from a Nestle recipe (all comparisons are by weight):
- Divide the amount of butter in half.
- Divide the amount of egg in half.
- Subtract one fourth the total amount of sugar.
My one complaint is the flavor.
- What I don’t know about is the sugar. Does it have to be decreased? The combination of less sugar and more salt seemed to trick my taste buds into thinking I was eating peanut butter cookies, which I’m sure is right up some people’s alley, but I’d rather have the regular old sweet flavor. So my next task will be to replicate this recipe but with more sugar and less salt. (In Jacques’ defense, I had to estimate the amount of salt, because I was using kosher instead of sea salt, which is less coarse.)