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Chocolate chip cookies from 'Ad Hoc at Home'

November 5, 2009 |  3:32 pm

Adhoc It may take up to three days to make Thomas Keller's Catalan beef stew, a recipe from his newly published cookbook "Ad Hoc at Home: Family-Style Recipes," written with Ad Hoc chef de cuisine Dave Cruz. But not all recipes require a five-hour confit of onions and tomatoes.

Some are in fact really easy. There are a few that I've already made more than once, such as the chocolate chip cookies (see below for the recipe).

This cookie is slightly thicker than my Platonic ideal of a chocolate chip cookie (crisp and thin with a still-chewy center, made partly with whole-grain flour and lots of really dark chocolate, and at the outer edge it should have wrinkles that form what sort of look like concentric circles ... ), but I digress. Let's just say this one grew on me.

I think part of the reason is that these are perfect cookies for ice cream sandwiches. That's how I've been eating them, inspired by photos of ice cream sandwiches in the dessert chapter of the book. They're crisp on the outside, and chewy and slightly dense on the inside so that they don't crumble or collapse when you bite into the ice cream sandwich. 

I like the chef-y touches in this recipe. It calls for two different types of chocolate, one slightly sweeter and the other darker and more complex. First you chop the chocolate into chip-sized pieces and then you sift the pieces to get rid of any "dust." The butter is creamed in two steps. And molasses sugar is recommended. You can use dark brown sugar, but the molasses sugar really does help add another dimension.   

-- Betty Hallock

Chocolate chip cookies

Note: From "Ad Hoc at Home: Family-Style Recipes" by Thomas Keller with Dave Cruz. This recipe has not been tested by The Times' Test Kitchen.

Servings: Makes 3 dozen (3-inch) cookies

2 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

5 ounces 55% chocolate, cut into chip-sized pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)

5 ounces 70% to 72% chocolate, cut into chip-sized pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup packed dark brown sugar, preferably molasses sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1. Position the oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

2. Sift the flour and baking soda into a medium bowl. Stir in the salt.

3. Put the chips in a fine-mesh basket strainer and shake to remove any chocolate "dust" (small fragments).

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat half the butter on medium speed until fairly smooth. Add both sugars and the remaining butter, and beat until well combined, then beat for a few minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding the next and scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed to combine. Mix in the chocolate.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the dough with a spatula to be sure that the chocolate is evenly incorporated. The dough or shaped cookies can be refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Freeze shaped cookies on the baking sheets until firm, then transfer to freezer containers. (Defrost frozen cookies overnight in the refrigerator before baking.)

6. Using about 2 level tablespoons per cookie, shape the dough into balls. Arrange 8 cookies on each pan, leaving about 2 inches between them, because the dough will spread. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny, switching the position and rotating the pans halfway through the baking.

7. Cool the cookies on the pans on cooling racks for about 2 minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to the racks to cool completely. Repeat to bake the remaining cookies. (The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

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