Back to school + lunch = cookies

All summer the internet has been abuzz about the NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie secret. According to this much-read and discussed article written by David Leite, resting the dough is the key to making THE BEST COOKIE ever. One person he interviewed explained that as the dough rests, the moisture from the eggs has time to penetrate the butter-coated flour and create a superior texture.

As you know, I’m not a food scientist but a chef-trained food writer. That’s why I’m somewhat proud of the fact that my own signature chocolate chip recipe has always been make-ahead. In my 2002 book Pantry Raid (now sadly out of print), I had half a chapter of freezer dough cookies and chocolate chip was the basic recipe from which many of the other recipes were derived.

While I haven’t tried the NY Times recipe that bloggers like Hélène are raving about, I did make a batch of my own recipe this weekend to fill Oliver’s lunch box as he heads back to school (grade 7!).

Here’s my recipe. Feel free to try it and let me know how it compares to the NY Times version. Who knows, you might encourage me to try something new. Or not. I make no promises.

Dana’s Make-Ahead Chocolate Chunk Cookies (adapted from Pantry Raid)

1 cup (250 mL) softened butter
1 cup (250 mL) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups (675 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
2 cups (500 mL) chopped bittersweet chocolate

Cream butter in a large bowl. Beat in brown sugar and granulated sugar until very smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until well combined. Add chocolate chips and mix until combined.

Use a tiny (1 oz/28 mL) ice cream scoop or a melon baller to scoop balls of cookie dough. If necessary, roll between lightly floured hands to make evenly shaped balls (if you leave jagged edges the cookies will bake unevenly). Place on a wax paper-lined tray and set in the freezer for 15 minutes or until firm. Transfer to a zip-top plastic bag or other airtight container and reserve in freezer until ready to bake. (Alternatively, roll dough into long cylinders about 2 inches (5 cm) wide then slice thickly before baking, at 350oF (180oC) for 10 minutes. The final cookies won’t look as pretty as the scooped version but if scooping makes your hand tired, this is a still tasty alternative.)

To bake: Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Spread cookie nuggets out on a lightly greased baking sheet at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Thaw for 30 minutes and flatten gently with the heel of your hand (to resemble the dough in the picture above) for thinner, crisper cookies; or, bake from frozen for thicker cookies. In either case, bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are crisp and bottoms are golden brown. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.


10 Responses to Back to school + lunch = cookies

  1. Beth says:

    Cookies and milk are such an iconic back to school pairing! I wonder how many other people made cookies yesterday? I made reverse chocolate chip and my friend made biscotti….it’s so hot here but still it seems like oven season can’t be stopped once Labour Day arrives!

  2. Cheryl says:

    I’ve never met a chocolate chip cookie I didn’t like. I cut out David Leite’s NYT article weeks ago and have been meaning to try the accompanying recipe (by Jacques Torres, I believe) but now that I have yours I may need to do a bake-off and try them both. My kids are unlikely to complain.

  3. danamccauley says:

    Make sure you report back on how my cookies do in such esteemed competition!

  4. Hélène says:

    Thanks a lot for linking to my blog. I will try your recipe & will ask my tasters (teenage boys) to comment. I’ll be reporting back. School only starts officially on Thursday, here in the Comox Valley, and I will try this batch tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Charmaine Broughton says:

    The chocolate chip recipe in Pantry Raid is by far the best (so is the pudding recipe)…….it is the ONLY ccc recipe I make……I add a few tbsp’s of ground flax seed as I have a child that is a painful eater so I try to add “healthy” stuff wherever I can….even in cookies!

  6. danamccauley says:

    Thanks for the endorsement Miss B! Coming from you it’s a meaningful one. Hope your little dudes made it to school without any casts, bandages or other rough and ready accessories.

  7. Fascinating. My mother always said to make the cookies IMMEDIATELY otherwise the baking powder would lose its ability to react.

    Who cares about the science, bring on the chocolate chip cookies!

  8. danamccauley says:

    I think that for cookies that you want to rise a bit and have a cakey texture that your mom is totally right, Charmian. That’s why this recipe has soda only.

  9. Rosa says:

    I love chocolate chips! A very useful recipe! I’m bookmarking it, thanks!

    Here, in Switzerland, our butter gets soft very fast, so generally, I refrigerate my dough before I bake it…



  10. danamccauley says:

    Interesting about Swiss butter. I wonder what the difference is between ours and yours? Does Swiss butter have more air or water content? I’m fascinated.

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