NY Times Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie: Changes and Substitutions from the Kitchn

NY Times Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie: Changes and Substitutions from the Kitchn

Emma Christensen
Jul 21, 2008

We got so caught up this morning in talking about how these cookies tasted that we didn't get a chance to share our notes from actually making them.

We'll be honest: there were a few aspects of David Leite's recipe that we found overly fussy, especially for a humble after-school snack like the chocolate chip cookie. One of the things we love about cookies in general is how not fussy they usually are to make!

In the end, we made a few substitutions but stayed true to Leite's techniques as much as possible. Here's what we did...

We used all-purpose (AP) flour instead of the cake and bread flour mix. Leite doesn't explain why the two flours were are necessary and we couldn't come up with a solid reason either, especially since the protein content of AP flour lies right between cake and bread flour. So we stuck with AP.

We weren't able to find fèves easily and didn't want to put off cookie-making in order to get them online, so we went with another pantry standby: a good ol' bag of chocolate chips. We'd like to try the cookies with fèves at some point (the strata of chocolate described in Leite's article is too delicious-sounding to pass up!), but the chocolate chips worked and tasted just fine.

(Though the darker chocolate you can find the better, as we noted in our taste-review earlier today.)

We lack a standing mixer, so we used a hand-held mixer to cream the butter and sugar, and then again to beat in the eggs. We folded the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips into the liquids by hand. This might have resulted in a slightly denser cookie than you'd get with a standing mixer.

After letting it rest for (in our case) 72 hours, the dough was incredibly crumbly yet still malleable, just as it was supposed to be. In order to get it to form neat "golfballs," we just pressed and rolled the dough with our hands.

We did have some French sea salt on hand to sprinkle over the top of our cookies, but since the salt seems to be more of a flavor enhancer than a flavor itself, we think regular kosher salt would probably do the trick just fine.

The real key idea to take away from this recipe is not the shmancy ingredients or the exact proportions of everything. It's this idea of resting the dough.

This is the same basic concept as with preferments or delayed fermentation in bread baking, and it has a similar effect here of opening up flavors and enhancing caramelization during baking. We're excited to try this technique with other cookie recipes!

While Leite's gourmet recipe might be relegated to the Special Events category, a version made with basic pantry staples can certainly work as an every day cookie. Er...every 36-hour cookie?

What do you think?!

Related: Tip: Freezing Cookie Dough

(Images: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)

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