There are a whole heap of “ultimate” chocolate chip cookies floating around on Pinterest. I don’t know what these people’s view of ultimate is, but my take on the word has not been apparent in any of the recipes I’ve made so far. So last September I undertook my own research… Research which led to the Ultimate Ultimate chocolate chip cookie. However, it’s fair to say that I have been a bit coy with the results, so coy that today, to find out what I’d actually come up with, I had to resort to sifting back through my Blipfoto account to find the entry in which I thought I’d made some salient remarks about the recipe (which I had otherwise totally forgotten to record).
You see today I went for a pre breakfast (but post latté) surf, and it turns out that with different exercise comes different cravings. A couple of weeks ago, when I’d been zigzagging up and down the stairs in my high rise office building, it was Indian. Today, it’s chocolate chip cookies. Maybe legs need cumin and shoulders need cacao.
Anyway, I was a bit taken aback that my own ultimate ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe wasn’t on Cakeophilia already, so here I am, waiting for my craved cookies to bake and my muscles to make more glycogen, finally recording this most important recipe.
There are two secrets. Chocolate and texture. Of course my views on good chocolate are well documented. As I’m at a bach on Omaha Beach in New Zealand right now, the chocolate is appropriately “batch roasted” Whittakers Dark Ghana which is a 72% cocoa chocolate, but any good chocolate will do, from bittersweet to milk to white, or a combination, if you find it hard to make decisions. Some people find the 70% ish chocolate too strong – if you are in this crowd, go for 60% cocoa.
On texture, my problem with all the Pinterest chocolate chip cookies is that they are generally too soft and cakey. These recipes generally have one fault in common. Whole egg. Whole egg means cakey, unless the sugar content is off the scale. And while I am quite fond of a good American-style chewy cookie, but I think that the best chocolate chip cookies have a little something else. A little crispy. A little crumbly. A whole lot of buttery. I guess I have been influenced by the Danish butter cookie school of chocolate chip cookies, and that’s exactly what my recipe replicates. And if you’ll pardon the sight (read: major) blurring of European borders right now, it’s French sablé dough to the rescue.
I pinched the sablé recipe from a chef called Graham who used to work in a restaurant called Moa in Queenstown. It was quite a long time ago now, like 20 years, which makes me feel old, and which also justifies how tired I am after this morning’s surf action! Graeme used his sablé recipe to make a biscuit base for his amazing Black Forest gateau, the likes of which I have never tasted anywhere (other than my kitchen) again. I say “other than my kitchen” because naturally, I pinched the recipe for that as well!
My method of mixing isn’t exactly Cordon Bleu, but it certainly does the trick for these cookies. You can you save their processor, or otherwise just rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips, and mix in the yolks and chips with a wooden spoon. Just be careful not to overwork the dough, as too much mixing will make your cookies tough… while it might be good to be a tough cookie in say, business… or in the surf… tough cookies aren’t so much fun to eat.
The recipe also makes amazing dough for pastry cases for lemon tart – of course made without the chocolate. You can omit the chocolate and use other flavourings for plain butter cookies as well. The recipe makes about 40 cookies, but please yourself on the size! I think they are quite dinky when made as little button cookies that sit on a teaspoon next to a cup of coffee. They also make super cookies for ice cream sandwiches!
Sablé Chocolate Chip Cookies
200g soft unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
200g 72% cocoa chocolate, chopped
Combine icing sugar, butter, flour and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms fine crumbs. Add yolks and process until mixture just comes together. Remove the blade and gently stir through the chocolate. Do not over-work the dough.
Take level tablespoon sized lumps of dough and roll into balls. Press down lightly with your palm or a floured fork.
Bake at 175 degrees Celsius until golden – about 8 minutes. Try not to eat them all while they are still warm. I’ve had four now, and feel much better.