Monday, May 30, 2011

NEW YORK TIMES CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITH PECANS

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In a blind taste test of six* popular chocolate chip cookies conducted by the Houston Chronicle, the New York Times’ adaptation of Jacques Torres’ chocolate chip cookie won, hands down.  Testers included a class of 18 kindergartners from the Acorn school in San Antonio, 15 chocolate chip cookie lovers and seven food professionals, including three bakers.  No matter the group, the adapted Torres recipe scored highest, garnering such comments as, “Flavors are balanced, cookie looks great, it has a good chip to batter ratio and I like that I can taste the salt and the butter, and the right mix of crisp/soft and good flavor.”  One chef called it the perfect chocolate chip cookie. 

JT choc chip pecan cookies (3)

I decided to try the adapted NYTimes version, in which the batter must be refrigerated at least 24 hours, and up to 72 hours.  I refrigerated my dough for 26 hours.  Although the directions don’t specify if the dough should rest at room temperature after it is taken from the fridge, I found that 1/2 hour at room temperature makes a big difference.  Cookies baked directly from the fridge are fatter and don’t spread nearly as much, but cookies that rest 1/2 hour out of the fridge are more to my liking.  If the dough gets too warm, though, the cookies will spread a little too much.  The photo below shows a cookie baked from cold dough, on the left, and a cookie baked from dough that rested at room temperature for 45 minutes, on the right.

JT choc chip pecan cookies (5)

Regardless of whether the dough is baked straight from the fridge or after it rests at room temperature, these cookies are outstanding.  But I did add 1 cup toasted pecans because  I prefer nuts in my chocolate chip cookies.  I used 1 lb. Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips, instead of the 1-1/4 lbs. called for and found that the cookies had plenty of chocolate.  The directions say to sprinkle the cookie dough lightly with sea salt before baking, which I did, using Baleine coarse sea salt.  I must have sprinkled too lightly, because I really couldn’t taste the salt.  Next time, I’ll sprinkle more. 

I was disappointed that the cookies were not as crispy as they’re purported to be, possibly because of reduced sugar content, but it won’t keep me from rating them highly.  Even without the extra crispy edges that I love, these cookies are tops on my list.  They’re very rich and filling, just sweet enough and have a strong and rich chocolate component that dominate the cookie.  The slightly crisp edges give way to a soft interior that’s studded with chocolate and pecans. 

Some more notes:  It’s best to use your kitchen scale when weighing the flours and sugars.  I found that the volume measurements did not equal the weight measurements, so I went with weight.  Set out butter and eggs for about a half hour, depending on the temperature of your room.  If your room is below 72F, you might need more time, if it’s above 72F, you might need less time.  You don’t want your butter to get too warm.

*The other five cookies tested were Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, Martha Stewart’s Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Award-Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies from allrecipes.com, Chocolate Chip Cookies by Cooks Illustrated, and Mrs. Fields Cookies.


Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans
Adapted from New York Times
Rating:  9.5 out of 10
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INGREDIENTS: 
2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. (8.5 oz.) low-protein flour (I used White Lily all-purpose)
1-2/3 cups (8.5 oz.) bread flour  (I used Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour)
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt (I used Morton kosher salt)
2-1/2 sticks (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar (I used 3 Tbsp. Nu Naturals Stevia + 6 Tbsp.sugar)
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb.  bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate disks
1 cup toasted broken pecans
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and 1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt into a bowl; set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with a 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.  Stir in chocolate and nuts.  Press wax paper against dough tightly and cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 24-36 hours, or up to 72 hours. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Scoop  3-1/2 oz. mounds of dough onto baking sheet.  (I used somewhat smaller mounds made with my small ice cream scoop.)  For very cold dough, you can press down slightly with your fingers, because the dough will stay puffed up.
JT choc chip pecan cookies (2)

Sprinkle cookies lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 12-15 minutes.  Cool in pans 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.  Makes 18 (5”) cookies.  I got 32 (3-1/2”) cookies with my smaller mounds.

JT choc chip pecan cookies (4)

7 comments:

Mary said...

Judy, these look and sound wonderful. It is hard not to like a cookie that has this dual pedigree. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Barbara Bakes said...

I loved this cookie too. Not sure it's my favorite, but definitely a great cookie.

Joanne said...

Now THAT is a taste test I wish I could have gotten in on. These look amazing!

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

These cookies look amazing! I'd like a couple with a glass of ice cold milk!

Mary

The Food Hound said...

How can these not win every prize in the book? They look amazing. If you need more taste testers, you know where to find me!

Bizzy said...

I have heard so much about this cookie but never made it. The waiting is what stopped me. I am one of those people who like to cook and eat or bake and eat.

Seeing your recipe, I just may take the time and do it right.

Would you link this to Bake with Bizzy?
http://bizzybakesb.blogspot.com/2011/06/bake-with-bizzy-3.html

danasfoodforthought said...

I made a slight variation on the NYT recipe last year, and I LOVED it! Too bad they take so long to make, or I would make them more often. zGlad you tried them!