Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to Basics Baking

The search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie is an American tradition in any chef's kitchen. I luckily didn't have to search far after getting David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert book last year. I am a huge fan of David Lebovitz ever since I took an ice cream making class with him a few years ago in San Francisco. His dessert recipes are no fail and delicious, plus for an American abroad his measurements in metric and traditional American measurements make my life so much easier! In my opinion his most recent book has the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and I made some last week for the arrival of a few house guests. Here is the recipe for the perfect Chocolate Chip cookie:
Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces/225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (215 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (about 225 g) nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, or macadamia nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 14 ounces (400 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/2- to 1-inch (1.5- to 3-cm) chunks or 3 cups (340 g) chocolate drops
Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed just until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, then stir in the flour mixture followed by the nuts and chocolate chunks.
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into quarters. Shape each quarter into a log about 9 inches (23 cm) long. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, preferably for 24 hours.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Slice the logs into disks 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick and place the disks 3 inches (8 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets. If the nuts or chips crumble out, simply push them back in.
Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking, until the cookies are very lightly browned in the centers, about 10 minutes. If you like soft chocolate chip cookies, as I do, err on the side of underbaking. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.




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