Not Martha

being meticulous over a cookie recipe, I mean, The cookie recipe

Last weekend I acquired a kitchen scale and a #12 scoop and yesterday I made a batch of the NYTimes chocolate chip cookies.

I chose the OXO Good Grips digital kitchen scale over a Salter simply because it has the pull out display that will allow for something a little larger to be weighed without it getting in the way. This will come in handy for buying USPS package postage online. The display also has a back light so if it’s in the shadow of a box I can still read it. I used a 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath and Beyond but be aware that the smaller stores only carry a few kitchen scales, I had to drive to a larger store to find the OXO scale. If I didn’t have any need to weigh packages, though, I’d definitely have gotten one of the adorable Escali Primo kitchen scales, a friend has one and it’s small enough to tuck away but well trusted among the masses (at least, the reviews at Amazon are happy). They come in a large range of colors, which I talked about previously here.

I chose the #12 scoop simply because the shop I managed to get to didn’t have the #10. It is plenty big enough, a leveled scoop of cookie dough averaged at 3.25 ounces. I got twenty levelled scoops out of the dough with nothing left over.

At Orangette’s suggestion I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chips. They are nice and big and taste wonderful. I did make an effort to track down the suggested Valrhona feves. I found that DeLaurenti (in Seattle) carries tubs of the feves and they had white chocolate, milk chocolate and a conspicuous empty spot on the shelves where the dark chocolate ones would have logically been placed. I’m not too surprised to find they are sold out. (By the way, if you’ve never been to DeLaurenti before know that the baking supplies are upstairs with the wine, the first time I went there I spent a long time looking for where they kept the vanillas.) Chef Shop was reporting that they were out of them so I didn’t make the extra trip.

The recipe calls for you to chill the dough for 36 hours, this gives the dough a chance to absorb the liquid and reported creates more flavorful cookies, adding caramel notes. The chilled dough is difficult to scoop and I’ve read that some people have scooped the dough before chilling it. I wonder if that will affect the final taste or texture of the cookies, so I made one batch to pre-scoop and one to chill and scoop before baking. I’m also planning on freezing both pre and post-chill scoops to see how they compare after a while in the freezer. At least that was my plan, until I discovered that I completely forgot to add the vanilla to both batches. Oops. So, while I’ll have an overabundance of yummy cookies they won’t necessarily be good for judging by taste. Which means I’ll just have to make more.

If you have a vacuum sealer in your kitchen this might be of interest to you — Ideas In Food vacuum sealed cookie dough to create 36 hour cookies in 3 hours. Fabulous.

update: I couldn’t wait so I baked a few, here is a just-over-12 hour cookie. Isn’t it beautiful?

· comments [47] · 08-6-2008 · categories:links · recipes ·

47 responses so far ↓

  • 1 L // Aug 6, 2008 at 5:42 am

    My local Whole Foods sells Valrhona feves. It’s amazing. You should check there!

  • 2 NyteRayn // Aug 6, 2008 at 5:52 am

    I always thought that chilling cookie dough was just to make it easier to roll into balls and/or scoop… I had no idea it improved the flavor- maybe I should stop rushing through that step!! :)

  • 3 Ashley // Aug 6, 2008 at 7:25 am

    So, i’m in the baking stages of these right now. Like you, I was meticulous about weighing out the ingredients and dough, but when I pulled the first batch out of the oven, I was dismayed to realize that, while it was physically possible for me to eat one of the (uber-delicious) 3.5 oz cookies, it made my stomach really, really sad to do so–I almost couldn’t make it all the way through. Too much cookie! Who knew such a thing was possible? I’ve cut subsequent batches down to approx. 2 oz and 15 minutes in the oven and they seem much more doable. Just a tip, in case your eyes are as much bigger than your stomach as mine are :)

  • 4 Ashley // Aug 6, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Hmm, after testing a cookie that’s been cooling for a while, make that more like 13.5 or 14 min on the smaller cookies.

  • 5 Jessajune // Aug 6, 2008 at 8:02 am

    We actually made these last week – I wasn’t very meticulous in the weighing/scoop size step (that is to say, there was no scale involved, and I forwent the scoop in favor of hands because of the difficulty with the chilled dough), so I probably ended up with smaller cookies. However, I found they took the full cooking time – whether that was a quirk of our oven or the fact that we used chocolate disks (not Valrhona feves) instead of chips. The disks created a really interesting layer of chocolate through the whole cookie, so that every bite had tasty chocolate in it. Highly recommended!

    Good luck with the next batch!

  • 6 megan // Aug 6, 2008 at 8:12 am

    L – I went to the largest Whole Foods we have and couldn’t find the feves. I checked the baking aisle, the chocolate aisle and the bulk foods aisle. Where did you find the feves?

  • 7 Dizastress // Aug 6, 2008 at 8:21 am

    I’ve followed your blog for a very long time, and have loved so many of your ideas, crafts, links, and so on. (and will continue to.) But currently I find myself thinking that perhaps the amount of time, detail, effort and energy that is going into making a cookie is overwhelming overkill. Measuring to the 10th of an ounce, pondering the merits of pre or post-chill scooping? Trips all over town to find such specific and perfect items? I’m sure these cookies are very, very good and probaby worth some serious effort, but I’m thinking if we all went to such measures with every teeny detail of every little task, we’d never accomplish a thing! When do you get the time to sit down and enjoy the cookie? At the very least, please let us know if you think all the trouble you went to was worth it – prove me wrong!

  • 8 megan // Aug 6, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Dizastress – This is a hobby, I find the obsessive sort of baking to be a lot of fun. I enjoy seeking out specific ingredients and measuring and weighing carefully. I like taking trips to find a certain item, and I like buying new tools. I really want to know how it will affect the dough if I freeze it for a while. I like thinking about it and planning and making lists and generally getting to be obsessive over something that won’t matter all that much in the long run. I rarely get the chance to be so careful about other aspects of life. This may sound twisted, but the control over this one thing is relaxing.

    The posts here are notes on what I’ve done so far so I can compare if I decide to make them again. I’m by no means trying to make it seem like the pursuit of some sort of perfection is something it’s important for everybody to seek. I’m a terrible cook and don’t take to baking naturally, I need as much instruction as possible and I need to know why I’m doing something. This is why the NYTimes cookie recipe appeals to me. I find making half-assed cookies uninteresting.

    That and, here is a confession, I just don’t like chocolate chip cookies all that much. I’m curious to see if this one, which is reportedly so great, will make me change my mind. Also, freshly baked cookies make boyfriends and co-workers very happy people.

    I’m not being too serious when I do all this, I just really enjoy seeing if being really careful can actually get me to create a good cookie.

    I’m certainly not the only one who enjoys meticulous baking and cooking, just look at Shirley Corriher, Dorie Greenspan, Alton Brown, Rose Levy Beranbaum, all the entities of Cook’s Illustrated. These people all have good careers because of fans of cooking and baking who thrive on meticulousness.

  • 9 Michelle // Aug 6, 2008 at 9:00 am

    I can’t wait to see the results of your testing! I’ve been holding off on making these cookies because I can’t be trusted to have something so delicious in that quantity around me. But I’m slowly acquiring the ingredients so I’m ready for the next special occasion.

    I have that Oxo scale, and I absolutely love it. I keep my scale in a large Ziploc bag, after reading that tip somewhere, and I love how easy it makes cleaning up. It will also protect the scale from accidental spills of massive amounts of liquid, which I’m very prone to do.

  • 10 megan // Aug 6, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Michelle – Thanks for the tip about the ziploc bag! I already have some flour forever caked into a corner of the display.

  • 11 L // Aug 6, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Hi Megan – They were with the rest of the dark chocolate, near the cheese and bread. Although this was in Boston, so the store set up may be different.

  • 12 megan // Aug 6, 2008 at 10:00 am

    L – Ah, I didn’t think to look in that area. Thanks!

  • 13 T of Balkanstyle // Aug 6, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I have an Escali and I adore it!

  • 14 karin // Aug 6, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Good job with the No. 12 scoop. I got the 10 and only got three dozen cookies from a double batch. Also, I just let the chilled cookie dough come to a temperature that was easy to scoop (took hours, maybe 3-4 for a double batch) and didn’t have trouble with spreading. Very delicious! I got many requests for the recipe and several comments that they were the best cookie people had ever had!

  • 15 Lisa // Aug 6, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Hey, I bought the Escali scale just to try this recipe! Well, I’d needed a scale before, but this was just the excuse I was looking for to follow through…

    I made the dough last night, so will make my first batch tonight…sadly, I didn’t pay close enough attention to the recipe when I was shopping and only bought one bag of chocolate chips. I added a chopped up bar of bittersweet chocolate I happened to have laying around, but was still short about 10 ounces. Hopefully they’ll still be delicious…

  • 16 megan // Aug 6, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Lisa – I didn’t have enough chocolate either, I think I put a pound instead of 1.25. My cookies seem almost to have too much chocolate, so maybe yours will be a good balance.

  • 17 Ann // Aug 6, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Seriously, when is the internet going to upgrade to let us eat what people are blogging about? These cookies look amazing. Unfortunately, I’m in no mood to make them myself, so I’m going to go to the grocery store and get some instant cookie dough stuff.

  • 18 Rosie // Aug 6, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I mixed up a batch, rolled it into a pair of logs, wrapped them in saran wrap, then put them in the fridge for 2 days. Then I just sliced them up. It worked perfectly, and I didn’t have to deal with the difficulty in scooping out. I think next time I might pop one in the freezer after a day.

  • 19 Gwen // Aug 6, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    My Whole Foods (in Philadelphia) had chocolate discs in the same area as L’s. They weren’t Valrhona, but they were still very good! There was a variety of different cacao contents and origins — I believe the ones I used were 59% cacao.

  • 20 Mer // Aug 6, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    @Rosie – I’m so glad you tried the log idea. I don’t have room in my fridge for a big bowl of dough, so I’d planned to wrap it in plastic and perhaps shape it into a log for slicing. Now that I’ve read your comment, I’ll definitely go with that plan. Thanks for sharing!

  • 21 Justin // Aug 6, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Are they a crunchy cookie or a soft cookie? It looks awesome!

  • 22 megan // Aug 6, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Justin – It’s both, the outside around the edge is crunchy, and the middle is soft. It’s part of what makes the recipe so good.

  • 23 scoutj // Aug 6, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    can you just send me some? lol

  • 24 Lilly // Aug 6, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    so funny… the first thing I thought of when I saw the post was “oh, she didn’t buy that cute little scale that comes in pink!” this one looks great though.

  • 25 sally // Aug 7, 2008 at 5:40 am

    I made these and they turned out cakey. Did you, or anyone else who made them, have that problem? I think I overcreamed the sugar, butter, eggs, but the recipe says to do so. Yours look so yummy.

  • 26 Aran // Aug 7, 2008 at 6:26 am

    I made this recipe putting disks in half the batch and chunks in the other half. The chunks were the overwhelming family favorite. To make the chunks, I took a 1 pound bar of Trader Joe’s Belgian baking chocolate and roughly chopped it up with no piece being bigger than a small grape and most pieces being like a pea. During the chopping, I wound up with lots of small crumbs which spread their chocolate flavor throughout the dough.

  • 27 rebeccab // Aug 7, 2008 at 6:53 am

    I used the amount called for, weight-wise, with the Orangette-suggested chips, and also found them to be a little chocolate-heavy. I am someone who LOVES chocolate.

    My Whole Foods, for what it’s worth, only has white feves. Crazy, right?

    @Dizastress: I am guessing you are not a baker or a cook. (Or maybe you are one of those people who cooks well by feel. I am not.)

    I am a hobby baker too. I use my experiments as an escape of sorts, a way to try to duplicate something I ate once before, or to challenge myself. I truly love reading about the science of cooking and baking even though I failed science classes in college.

    When I try a recipe at home, part of the excitement (for me) is the new ingredient, new equipment, et cetera.

    I’m happy to substitute when I must (or when the prospect of leaving the house while starving is unattractive), but I think cooking is like music in some ways: you can’t improv unless you know the basics.

    The great thing about the internet (when it comes to recipes, cooking, and so on) is that there are people out there trying and recording what they do so you don’t have to!

  • 28 Katherine // Aug 7, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I haven’t read through all of the comments, but Joy the Baker (http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/) did a series of posts on the NY Times recipe for choclate chip cookies that you might be interested in.

  • 29 shelterrific » Blog Archive » blogwatch: where we’ve been clicking this week // Aug 8, 2008 at 6:31 am

    [...] The Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe That Would Not Die. Nor should it! Not Martha goes a little crazy getting not only the recipe but the cookie shape just exactly right. Mrs. [...]

  • 30 Joan // Aug 8, 2008 at 7:21 am

    I have made these a couple times now, and am making them again today, for book club. I’ve stuck to occasions that are worth the effort, and that will also get most of the cookies out of the house. I’ve followed the recipe as closely as possible so far, to see what the hoopla is about, and they are great. I wouldn’t do everything every time I make cookies, but I am thinking of adapting the recipe–I’ll try it with spelt flour, and I’ll definitely put salt on the cookies before baking, and if I have time, I’ll chill the dough.

  • 31 K. Borcz // Aug 8, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Hmmm… I hadn’t heard the buzz. Its a beautiful lookin cookie. Makes me want to try to recreate it, so it looks like I’m gonna be baking one of the upcoming evenings… :)

  • 32 phillygirl64 // Aug 8, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Any further update?

  • 33 carol // Aug 8, 2008 at 9:58 am

    hi megan! here in the bay area whole foods sells guittard 72% choco discs in a maroon box in the baking aisle. i highly recommend trying the discs or feves for comparison sake, as the chocolate strata effect is lovely. also, though i love chocolate i replaced 1/4 lb with pecans, which cuts the sweetness and adds a bit of nutty. combined with the sprinkling of salt, the overall flavor combination is so yum. but it is a big cooky, maybe too big. did you like it, as a non-lover of choco chip cookies?

  • 34 Courtney // Aug 8, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Perfection is in the eyes (or, in this case, the tastebuds) of the beholder. Reading the comments, you can really see how different everyone’s tastes are in what a “good” chocolate chip cookie is!

    Growing up, my mom didn’t like chocolate (hard to believe!), so she made chocolate chip cookies with very little chocolate in them. I, on the other hand, use at least a whole bag of chips because I can’t get enough chocolate! Some folks like doughy cookies, some like them crispy…so I doubt this is the perfect recipe for everyone, but that won’t stop me from trying it out!

  • 35 megan // Aug 8, 2008 at 10:36 am

    phillygirl – Yes, I located the feves and a second batch (I remembered the vanilla this time) is currently chilling in my fridge.

    Courtney – These cookies have crisp edges and soft centers, it’s the first time I’ve managed to get that in a single cookie, they might just make everybody happy.

    Carol – I have no doubt this is the best chocolate chip cookie I’ll ever make but I’d still rather have a salt bagel :)

  • 36 LJ // Aug 8, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    I made these last weekend and absolutely love them. I used the 60% guittard chips but only used one bag plus the leftovers from another bag of semi-sweets. I think they indeed are the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

  • 37 Leonardo Boiko // Aug 11, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Pictures from my attempt, with whatever ingredients I could gather here in Brazil: http://flickr.com/photos/leoboiko/sets/72157606667319024/detail/

  • 38 rizzuhjj // Aug 12, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    megan, I live on Capitol Hill! Where did you find feves?

  • 39 megan // Aug 12, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Rizzuhjj – I found them at Whole Foods in Ravenna. They were, get this, near the Aged Cheese Cave. Not the baking aisle, not with the chocolate bars, not in with the bulk chocolate chips. I mean, dark chocolate, wine and fancy cheese, I get that they go together but still, four places in the store you can find chocolate, it’s exhausting.

  • 40 rizzuhjj // Aug 12, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Whew. I’ll try the Whole Foods in SLU and report back.

  • 41 candybeans // Aug 13, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    i made these, far less meticulously but with lots of love (though i love the meticulousness, as well, I am a bit too poor to shell out for the right tools), and was repeatedly told that i could go into the cookie business to make extra money! this recipe is pretty magical. i was also forced to chop up an extra bar of chocolate to supplement the bag of chips, used salted instead of sweet butter (it’s cheaper. why?), and used almond extract instead of vanilla, since the chocolate usually comes pre-vanilla’ed anyhow. i’d have to agree with my friends– they were pretty delicious.

  • 42 erin.darcy // Aug 14, 2008 at 5:11 am

    you can get kerrygold butter in washington?!? oh the wonders of the world.
    i love how quickly that made my little uhh ears? perk up? no–that doesn’t make sense.

  • 43 kia // Aug 19, 2008 at 6:26 am

    awesome. my husband and I developed an idea that cooking is like jazz with all the improv you want in the world. however baking is like a classical symphony… meticulous and precise.

  • 44 megan // Aug 26, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    erin – Oh yes, I can find it at PCC markets, and in the cheese section at Fred Meyer stores.

  • 45 Donna Barstow // Oct 2, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I don’t understand.

    How come you don’t (usually) like chocolate chip cookies?

  • 46 KathleenM // Oct 28, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    My eyes are bugging out, and not because the cookie is gorgeous (which it is). I can’t believe you’re putting all this time, $$ and effort into THE c.c.c. recipe without trying THE chocolate!
    I have been to the Torres store and eaten these cookies. You CAN make these cookies at home but you must
    Go to http://www.mrchocolate.com and buy the
    House Selection Bulk Bag – 60% and USE THEM — they make a huge difference! This chocolate is the same chocolate he uses in his chocolates. Happy eating!

  • 47 Pierre // Jun 21, 2010 at 10:09 am

    In case anyone is interested, the http://www.TheGrinningGourmet.com tested 10 different CC cookies and the NY Times cookie came out ahead. The runner-up cookie (David Lebovitz CCC) was almost as good but does not require cake flour.

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