I have been dutifully plugging away at a post about “the myth of easy cooking” in the twenty minutes each morning before work, from the time I stumble out of bed (or tumble, depending) to the time I finish my coffee. But for some reason, the things (important, opinion-laden things!) I’d like to tell you just. aren’t. coming. There’s been a lot of typing, deleting, typing, deleting. So I’ve put that one aside for a little while, in the hopes that with a little time to percolate, the words might come more easily.
In the meantime, there’s the backlog of stuff I’ve wanted to share with you, one of them being the chocolate chip cookie recipe I recently discovered from Christina Tosi’s cookbook, Milk Bar Life: Recipes and Stories. If you haven’t heard of her, Tosi is the wonder-woman behind NYC’s Milkbar, the sister bakery of David Chang’s Momofuku restaurant empire. If you’ve seen her segments on The Mind of a Chef, you’ll know that she is a mensch in the world of sweets; if there is anyone I would trust with a recipe for cake or cookies or pie, it’s certainly this lady.
Now, chocolate chip cookies might seem fairly straightforward, but as any amateur baker can tell you, they can still be capricious little buggers. A slight imbalance in gluten, sugar and fat can turn them into a liquefied mess or make them as hard as stone (or, lord forbid, cakey, fluffy cookies). I always thought that the key to the perfect chocolate chip cookie was extensive chilling and the use of fancy gear (the stand-mixer being the most coveted piece of machinery), but it turns out I’ve (we’ve?) just been overthinking things. Tosi’s recipe doesn’t require any special gadgetry or preternatural baking skills; the whole thing is done the old-fashioned way – in one bowl, with a wooden spoon (and no overnight chilling). With this recipe, there is nothing esoteric or complex to contend with; there is simply no mucking about.
What you end up with is the Platonic ideal of the chocolate chip cookie – chewy in the centre, golden and crispy around the edges, and a not-too-sweet, buttery flavour where chocolate reigns supreme. While I hesitate using superlatives when it comes to recipes, this might just be the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
I hope you’ll give it a whirl.
Special mention: I’d like to thank my cousin Liza for the handmade, Roisin Fagen tea towel that serves as the saucy backdrop to these photos. Along with these cookies, it’s one of my new favourite things.
Chocolate Chip Cookies – lightly adapted from Milk Bar Life: Recipes and Stories by Christina Tosi
Makes about 15 cookies
Before we get started…
- The recipe calls for quite a bit of chocolate (a whole 12 ounces! This woman means business!), but it’s all part of the perfect balance, so don’t be tempted to skimp.
- The only ingredient that is a bit novel is the non-fat milk powder, but you can find this at most run-of-the-mill grocery stores. The powder deepens the flavour and lends to their chewy texture, so best not to skip it. If you’re worried that the rest of the bag is going to slowly perish in your cupboard until next year’s spring cleaning, rest assured that you’ll be making these cookies more than once, and before you know it, you’ll have successfully chipped away at that bag of milk powder. These cookies freeze really well too, so tripling or quadrupling the recipe is not a bad idea either.
- Instead of using dark chocolate chips, I used a mix of dark chocolate and white chocolate pastilles, which I chopped into pieces, because that’s what I had on hand.
- ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and just warm to the touch
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons nonfat milk powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 12 ounces chcolate (I used a mix of 70% dark + white chocolate), roughly chopped
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) With a wooden spoon, mix the sugars together in a large bowl and add the melted butter. Stir vigorously for about a minute or more. Mix the egg and vanilla in the measuring cup you used for the sugar and add to the mixture. Stir until the mix has a glossy sheen, about one more minute.
3) Mix in the flour, milk powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed.
4) Lightly form dough into balls about the size of a golf ball (or if you have a mini ice-cream scoop, you can use that for a more uniform result) and place on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges but still soft in the middle. The cookies will fall as they cool. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.