11.08.2010

Chocolate Chunk Cookies (with help from David Lebovitz)

I've mentioned before that chocolate has never really been my thing. For most of my life I've favored Twizzlers over Hershey's, reached for shortbread before brownies. Chocolate chip cookies are rarely in my diet or repertoire. But that doesn't mean that I don't know a good thing when I see it.



I've got a hunch that every baker and cookie-lover out there has their own renowned recipe for the cookie equivalent of your favorite pair of jeans. I'm not trying to impose. I've just got to let you know that I've found a good one, one that turned someone who was very much skeptical of the chocolate chip cookie into one of those people who raves about it all over the Internet.

What I like about this recipe is that it yields a terrific and rare balance between the comforts of homemade and the also rare deliciousness of somewhere like City Bakery. It's neither cakey nor brittle, and equally exhibits its chocolate and its cookie. It's a type that would leave a paper bag laced invitingly in butter stains.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies, thanks to David Lebovitz
Makes about 18 cookies

Chocolate chips are a perfectly viable option, but I found the chunks to be, well, ideal - dense and satisfying to bite, more fun to snack on as you bake. If you can't eat 18 cookies in a day or two, freeze the pre-formed dough balls in a ziploc bag. When your next craving hits, just preheat, line a baking sheet and pop the dough in - no need to defrost. Also, I accidentally took my first sheet out of the oven a minute too soon. It was a wonderful mistake - crisp edges, fudgy center.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 - 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks

Adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat to 300F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl beat the sugars and butters together with a hand mixer until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda until just combined. In a separate bowl stir together the flour and salt, then add them to the batter and combine. Mix in the chocolate chunks, being careful to not over-handle.

Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches apart, on each of the baking sheets. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the cookie edges are pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Definitely eat at least one while warm and store the rest at room temperature in an airtight container for about 3 days.

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