The Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie? The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie? The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie? Really?
They can’t all be “the best”, “the perfect” or the “ultimate”, but it’s hard to find a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that doesn’t include a superlative. Obviously “the best” depends on lots of factors which speak to each individual’s preferences……chewy or crunchy, a little chocolate or a lot of chocolate, nuts or no nuts, salty or not, etc.
I have been researching how to adapt my family’s all time favorite chocolate chip cookies to vegan and/or gluten free. Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies are, in my opinion, the absolute best chocolate chip cookies on earth. They are not vegan. They require a few slightly unusual ingredients including a bread and cake flour combination, and they take a bit longer than the average chocolate chip cookie because they need to rest in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours.
Never mind that!
Believe me, it’s all worth it. You can find the recipe for Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies here.
My family demands chocolate chip cookies at Christmastime. I have tried to entice them with buttermilk and chocolate fudge, Mexican wedding cookies and other more traditional holiday sweets to no avail. They always insist on chocolate chip cookies. What’s a girl to do……I give them chocolate chip cookies. And always we have Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies.
This year, I’ll put a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies to the Scheier family taste test and see how it goes. After a little poking around, I found a recipe for vegan salted chocolate chip cookies. Let the testing begin.
For Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies, you’ll need:
- Cake flour
- Bread flour
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Coarse salt
- Unsalted butter
- Light brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Dark chocolate baking discs(I used dark chocolate chips here)
- Sea salt, I prefer Maldon
The vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe ingredients were all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, fine salt, vegan dark chocolate chips, granulated sugar, brown sugar, neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed, water and sea salt.
For Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip cookies, you’ll need a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, a whisk, a spatula, a large bowl, a wooden spoon and a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. The recipe lists the ingredients by weight. I always use the weighted ingredients because my experience is that measuring with cups and measuring spoons is often fairly inaccurate and with baking, accuracy is important. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you might consider purchasing one.
The recipe states to “sift” the flours, baking soda, baking power and salt together, however with ingredients that are already smooth and clump free, whisking them together should be fine. I don’t own a sifter and when sifting is required, I use a fine mesh strainer.
Cut the butter into chunks and cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until the mixture is very light. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. This process should take about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each egg is added. Stir in the vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated.
Place the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix until just combined. This should only take 5-10 seconds. Overmixing can affect the structure of your cookies, so be careful not to do so. Here’s an article explaining why. Again, you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
Add the chocolate pieces and stir them into the batter carefully with a wooden spoon. This is a thick batter and requires some effort being careful not to break the chocolate pieces as you mix.
Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hours.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop cookie mounds onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. The recipe states that it makes 18 cookies. These are some very big cookies! If you prefer a smaller cookie which we do, scoop out a rounded tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown but still soft. Transfer the sheet pan to a cooling rack and cool for 10-15 minutes.
Because I like smaller cookies, I will often freeze some of the dough for baking later. Spoon the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough together with your hand, wrap it in the plastic wrap and form into a log with the diameter of the cookie size that you prefer. Place the wrapped cookie dough in a freezer safe bag or wrap tightly again in aluminum foil and freeze.
When ready to bake the cookies, remove them from the freezer, allow to thaw slightly, slice into rounds and place the rounds on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. The cookie dough may crumble a bit, but just press the dough together lightly with your hand. Slicing the frozen cookies will break up some of the chocolate pieces, so they won’t be as pretty as the unfrozen batch, but they’ll still be just as delicious. Bake as before.
I sometimes also bake all of the dough and freeze the finished cookies for later. My family loves frozen cookies too.
Result: My all time favorite chocolate chip cookie which I doubt any other recipe can come close to, but here we go.
One of the main reasons that I chose the vegan salted chocolate chip cookie for comparison was because of the sea salt sprinkle which is a key component of “the absolute best chocolate chip cookie on earth”. The sweet and salty chocolate gooeyness of my favorite cookie is in my judgment what makes it the absolute best. The addition of the sea salt to the vegan cookie was a good start for comparison purposes.
The Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies have more ingredients and require two kinds of flour, neither of which is all-purpose.
The recipe for Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies makes quite a bit more dough than the vegan salted chocolate chip cookie recipe yet both state that they yield 18 cookies. My preference is to make smaller cookies with the Jacques Torres’ dough and freeze any dough that I don’t use. You can bake the cookies and freeze them after baking as well.
The vegan dough is much softer than the Jacques Torres’ dough so it is a bit easier to work with. The preparation and baking times are shorter than for the Jacques Torres’ cookies and a mixer is not required. For vegan cookies, you will need to make sure that your chocolate chips contain no dairy.
And the prize for The Scheier Family Absolute Best Chocolate Chip Cookie On Earth goes to……..
Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies
It wasn’t close, but Mark did like the vegan cookies better, so they will be eaten and enjoyed. He described the cookies as “substantive, chewy and satisfying.” Everyone else in my small sample of testers quickly picked the Jacques Torres’ cookies. I would describe the vegan cookies as cakey, and I prefer a crisper texture to my cookies.
I’m still on the hunt for a great recipe for vegan and/or gluten free chocolate chip cookies. If you have a recipe that you’d like me to put to the test, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail. I didn’t post the recipe for the vegan cookies because they were clearly not my family’s favorite, and I only like to spread good news!
You may also love these Dark Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bites. They are vegan!