Recipe Review

The Chocolate Chip Upgrade That Makes These Cookies Taste (and Look) Impossibly Good

updated Feb 13, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

In the world of fancy chocolate chip cookies, I’d argue that it’s tough to find a recipe that’s more omnipresent than Jacques Torres’. In many ways, Torres’ recipe laid the foundation for fancy chocolate chip cookie recipes everywhere, proving that the humble treat can be elevated into a gourmet creation. But despite my years of baking, I’d never actually tried his recipe. Maybe it’s because the recipe calls for hard-to-find chocolate discs, or because it requires a lengthy resting period in the fridge, but in my search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie I decided it was finally time to give this beloved recipe a try.

Torres’ recipe is straightforward but time-consuming — and it uses some strategic ingredient swaps and upgrades along the way. Chocolate chips get swapped out for chocolate discs, and a combination of cake and bread flours replace typical all-purpose flour to keep them light.

But do these swaps actually improve the end product? And is it worth the extra effort and cost that goes into making them? I whipped up a batch to find out.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

How to Make Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Torres’ recipe starts out like most other cookie recipes: creaming together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Torres actually uses more brown sugar than white, which is somewhat atypical. To that, Torres adds eggs, then vanilla extract.

Next Torres adds his dry ingredients. He sifts together cake flour, bread flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and adds it to the butter and egg mixture. He mixes it just until a dough forms, folds in chocolate baking discs (which are large, flat discs of chocolate that are about half an inch wide), and presses plastic wrap against the surface of the dough to prevent it from drying out. At this point, Torres rests his cookie dough in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours. This gives the dough enough time to fully hydrate, develop a more complex flavor, and promote an even bake.

After the resting period, Torres scoops the dough into balls, sprinkles them with flaky sea salt, and bakes them. The entire process is fairly straightforward, but requires some planning and time to do right.

My Honest Review of Jacques Torres’ Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I hate to be predictable, but I have to say these cookies are excellent. The large discs of chocolate combine with the cookie dough to create a wonderfully distinctive texture that feels like it’s part chocolate bar, part cookie. It makes them taste richer and more indulgent.

Flavor-wise, the cookie is nearly flawless. The double dose of salt (the kosher salt in the dough and the flakes on top) makes the flavor of the chocolate come through and balances the sweetness of the dough perfectly. The brown sugar gives the cookies a rich caramel note that seems to get more intense after the resting period in the fridge. Before the dough was ripened, it was soft and fluffy, and afterwards it seemed to dry out a tad and brought out some of the richer flavors. The cookies browned beautifully in the oven and spread nicely.

After trying these, I can now confidently sing the praises of Jacques Torres’ cookies along with everyone else. These cookies are beloved for a reason.

Credit: Charli Nowak

If You’re Making Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies, a Few Tips

1. Invest in the chocolate discs: These discs are much larger and flatter than chocolate chips, and they give the cookies a unique chewy texture with large pockets of melted chocolate. Although pricey, these discs are worth the investment.

2. Ripen your cookie dough: Torres recommends resting the cookie dough in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours, and it makes a huge difference. This allows the flour to fully hydrate and gives the cookies a more complex flavor, so don’t rush it!

3. Nestle any rogue chocolate discs into the dough balls before baking them: Because the chocolate discs are so large, they have a tendency to poke out of the dough balls when you scoop them. To prevent them from melting everywhere as they bake, just nestle them back into the dough balls.

4. Don’t confuse pastry flour for cake flour: Torres’ recipe calls for cake flour, not pastry flour. Although similar, the two flours are not interchangeable and using pastry flour will change the texture of the cookies.

5. Don’t skimp on the sea salt: After scooping, Torres sprinkles his dough balls with flaky sea salt to help balance the sweetness and add crunch. Although it seems like an easy step to overlook, don’t! It makes the chocolate flavor shine and rounds the flavors out.

Have you ever made Jacques Torres’ chocolate chip cookies? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn