A few things I noticed:
- The 36 hour resting period is apparantly crucial for obtaining the right balance of crispy-chewy texture. This is kind of wierd, as you either have to wake up really early one day to make the dough so you can bake in time for dinner after a day, or prepare the dough late in the evening and bake them for breakfast?! So my dough ended up 'maturing' for more like 44 and a half hours. The cookies were still crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside so I figure they were a success.
- I also made mine much smaller - normal cookie size rather than the 6 inch behemoth, simply because I would eat the whole thing and feel ill...
- The sea salt just before baking seems to be pretty important. My cookies were too sweet without, and extremely moreish with the extra sprinkling.
- I had no vanilla extract and substituted half a teaspoon of vanilla seeds scraped from a pod.
- I also tried this with half muscavado, half white sugar instead of the soft brown, which made my cookies even more toffee-ish.
- I used normal plain flour, rather than half normal and half cake flour, and still got great results (apparently cake flour has a higher protein content and its starch content makes it more absorbent so the dough dosen't spread to the far corners of the tray during baking.)
Published in the NY Times in July 2008 - click here for the original article
Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours' chilling
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.