Chocolate Chunk Cookies — That Even Opposites Can Agree Upon
It’s a good thing that opposites attract.
We often joke that my husband is the Nasdaq to my “flatline.” His personality tends to be more volatile than mine, which is fairly even-keeled.
And when it comes to cookies, he favors a soft, cakey texture to my fondness for crisp and chewy.
So, when Harvard-educated pastry chef Joanne Chang of Boston’s Flour Bakery & Cafe came out with a recipe last year for chocolate chip cookies that promised to be chewy with the addition of bread flour in the dough, I was intrigued whether it would somehow satisfy both my husband’s likes, as well as my own.
The recipe, “Chocolate Chunk Cookies” is from Chang’s cookbook, “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery & Cafe” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook includes more than 100 recipes from her bakery, where 1,500 customers come to get their sweet tooth fix every day.
The dough calls for both milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate. I used a sample of Taza Semi-Sweet Baking Squares that I had recently received. Unlike other chocolates, Taza’s products are processed minimally and made from stone-ground beans. The result is chocolate with a much rougher texture, but deep flavor. The baking squares are earthy, with a noticeable acidity and slight bitterness. An 8-ounce container is $10.50.
The dough is a mix of all-purpose and bread flour, along with both granulated and light brown sugars, and plenty of butter. Chang recommends letting the dough firm up in the refrigerator for at least a day before baking the cookies to let the ingredients meld, which is what I did.
The cookies bake up brown on the edges and golden in their thick centers. They’re super chocolatey, too.
I wouldn’t call these chewy by any means. They’re really the epitome of a big softie. They have a very tender texture.
Of course, the hubby loved these cakey cookies. My “flat-liner”-self liked them just fine, too.
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(Makes about 24 cookies)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer or a wooden spoon), cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until mixture is light and fluffy. (This step will take 10 minutes if using a handheld mixer or a spoon.) Stop the mixer a few times and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle to release any clinging butter or sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. Scrape the bowl and the paddle again to make sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, baking soda, and salt until well mixed. Add semisweet and milk chocolates and toss to combine. On low speed (or with the wooden spoon), slowly add flour-chocolate mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and then mix just until flour mixture is totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed.
For the best results, scrape dough into an airtight container and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 3 to 4 hours) before baking. When you are ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Drop the dough in 1/4-cup balls onto a baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and slightly soft in the center. Don’t let them get brown through and through. Part of their appeal is the chewiness of the slightly underbaked centers. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer cookies to the rack to cool completely.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. The unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
From “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery & Cafe” by Joanne Chang