“Can I turn on Fox News?” I asked my wife. We were in the kitchen, having dinner. It was just turning 6PM and I wanted my news fix.
“No.” She said with some force.
“It’s fair and balanced,” I said.
There was no response. Only a snort.
To be very clear, I do want to be fair and balanced. Yesterday, I did the wonderful French-style Eduoard’s Chocolate Chip Cookie from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi. Today, a wonderful counterpoint, My Chocolate Chip Cookies from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s new The Baking Bible.
Which cookie is best? Which book is best?
I’m not nuts. I’m not going to pick one over the other. I love both authors and, truth be told, you really cannot compare the two books. You can compare these cookies and easily conclude that you would eat either one of them at eight in morning or eight at night. They are as different as night and day and equally delicious.
Oh, back to comparing the books, Baking Chez Moi and The Baking Bible. These two chocolate chip recipes are the only two recipes in common — the intersection of the two sets of recipes if you are a math major and remember Venn diagrams. That fact tells you that the books are distinctively, disjointedly different. Rose has recipes largely from America and Europe. Dorie’s book is tour of France, not just Paris but all the regions of the country with their local delights.
In Rose’s cookie recipe, she wanted to somehow improve on the American classic. And she has, incorporating a step to brown the butter, she uses less sugar, and Rose suggests that the dough sit and rest for 12 to 24 hours. I do know, from personal experience, that dough left in the refrigerator does evaporate, one spoonful every hour or so.
Rose’s cookie is tall, has some crunch, but still retains a pillowy structure that is lovely to the bite. This chocolate chip cookie is one you’ll make once and then over and over again. As with every recipe in The Baking Bible.
My Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: about 20 3-inch cookies, assuming you do not eat batter
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup walnut halves [pecans are good, too!]
- 1 1/3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup plus two tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup chocolate chips
PREHEAT TH E OVEN Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C.
CLARIFY AND BROWN THE BUTTER (BEURRE NOISETTE) Have ready a fine-mesh or cheese cloth-lined strainer suspended over a 1 cup glass measure with a spout.
In a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, melt the butter. Raise the heat to low and 1 cook, uncovered, watching carefully to prevent burning. Move away any foam on the surface to check the progress. As soon as the milk solids become a deep brown, immediately pour' the butter through the strainer into the glass measure, scraping the solids into the strainer.]
Measure or weigh 7 tablespoons/104 ml/3 ounces/84 grams of the butter and add the browned solids to it. Let it cool to below 80°F/27°C.
TOAST AND CHOP THE WALNUTS Spread the walnuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes to enhance their flavor. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Turn the walnuts onto a clean dish towel and roll and rub them around to loosen the skins. Coarsely break the walnuts, scraping off and discarding as much of the skins as possible. Cool completely and coarsely chop the walnuts.
If baking the cookies shortly after making the dough, raise the oven temperature to 375°F/190°C.
MIX THE DRY INGREDIENTS In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
MAKE THE DOUGH In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the clarified I butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla on low speed for 1 minute.
Add the flour mixture. Start on the lowest speed to moisten the flour. Raise the speed to I low and beat for 30 seconds. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and beat on low speed just until evenly incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, about 11.4 ounces/324 grams each. Wrap each piece in plastic 1 wrap and refrigerate. The cookies can be shaped and baked after 30 minutes of chilling, but the baked cookies will be slightly smaller, softer, and more rounded. For flatter, crisper; 3 inch cookies, chill the dough for a minimum of 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove the dough for each batch about 10 minutes before rolling to make it malleable.
ROLL THE DOUGH INTO BALLS Scoop out 10 heaping tablespoons of dough (1.1 ounces/ 1 31 grams each). Roll each piece of dough between the palms of your hands into a 1 ½ inch ball. Set the dough balls a minimum of 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet and press them down to about 2 inches wide by ½ inch high.
BAKE THE COOKIES Bake for 5 minutes. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheet halfway around. Continue baking for 5 to 7 minutes. The cookies should be brown around the ] edges, just beginning to brown on the tops, and still feel slightly soft when pressed lightly with a fingertip.
COOL THE COOKIES Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 1 1 minute so that they will be firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Use a pancake turner to lift the cookies onto another wire rack. They will firm up as they cool j and are most delicious when eaten slightly warm.
While the first batch of cookies is baking, shape the dough for the second batch.
STORE Airtight: room temperature, 2 weeks; refrigerated, 1 month; frozen, 3 months.
NOTE Use your favorite chocolate. Recommendations are Ghirardelli bittersweet chips 60%, Scharffen Berger bittersweet chunks 61%, or Valrhona dark chocolate baking pearls 55%.
Source: The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014]
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for1/30th second at ISO‑1600