Sunday, July 14, 2013

Soft and fluffy chocolate chip and chunk cookies

I know what's you're thinking. Why am I posting another chocolate chip cookie recipe when I've already declared these as the best chocolate chip cookies ever?  Curiosity, I guess. I've seen a few cookies pop up that use this cookie as the base. And what makes these cookies so good? Cornstarch.

Yup, cornstarch. For scientific reasons beyond my understanding, the addition of cornstarch makes these cookies fluffier and softer than other recipes. In fact, the texture of these chocolate chip cookies is similar to Soft Batch cookies (you know, the ones in the red container that you can buy at your local grocery store).

I have to disclose that I had a difficult time baking these for the right length of time. The original recipe said to bake for 8 minutes and no longer than 10 minutes. However, my cookies were grossly underbaked even around the 14 minute mark. I probably baked mine for about 15 or 16 minutes total, and they were still underdone. The center of my cookies were soggy to the point that they'd fall apart when I transferred them to my baking rack. I did refrigerate my cookies for a few hours, so that wasn't the culprit of my soggy cookie saga.

Even though I ran into some baking challenges, the cookies themselves were soft and fluffy as promised. The ultimate chocolate chip cookie test for me is to see how they taste the next day. Most cookies dry out and become hard and brittle, but not these. My skating friend declared these as the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and I can see why she made that statement.

Yes, these chocolate chip cookies are good, but the New York Times recipe still reigns supreme for me. What can I say - it's hard to top a recipe created by the chef known as Mr. Chocolate.

Soft and fluffy chocolate chip and chunk cookies
  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour (can substitute with all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or dark baking chocolate, chopped into bite-sized chunks (I used my grocery store's bittersweet chocolate chunks; if you don't have any chocolate chunks, you can simply replace with an additional 3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Directions
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the light brown and white sugars and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is uniform and creamy, about 3 minutes. 

Turn the mixer off, use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer back on at medium-high speed and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 

Turn the mixture down to low and slowly add the flour(s), corn starch, baking soda and salt. Stop the mixture to scrape down the sides as needed. Beat the mixture until it is just combined - do not over mix.

Turn off the mixture and fold in the chocolate chips and chunks by hand.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 5 days.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

Line your baking sheets a silicone baking mat, parchment paper or liberally spray the surface with baking spray. 

Using a medium sized cookie scoop, drop the cookie dough onto the baking sheets and ensure that there is at least a 2-inch space between each cookie. I baked about 8 cookies per cookie sheet. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are slightly golden. The tops will not be browned and the centers may seem slightly underbaked. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.  If your cookies still appear raw, bake in the oven for 1 additional minute at a time. Remember, the tops should not look golden or else the cookies will end up being too hard.

Baked cookies can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough can remain in the refrigerator (in an airtight container) for up to 5 days.

Yield: I used a medium cookie scoop and got 39 cookies

Source: Averie Cooks; originally adapted from Kelsey's Apple a Day; original source: Anna Olson of Food Network Canada

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