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What’s best WARM? …. and why… TOLL HOUSE.

From father to both daughters, myself and sister, and to my daughter directly passed on…. CHOCOHOLICs.  My mother wasn't and my husband isn't but both get a kick out of us. I remember hearing a wierd noise in the kitchen last fall when my daughter was home from college.There she is up on knees in cupboards…Wails! MOM there is NO CHOCOLATE in this house!  

Well for her birthday last year he made her (us my birthday 2 days later) a  cake called DEATH by CHOCOLATE.  She ate it for breakfast before leaving for work at 6AM for 3 days till gone! No she is skinny as a rail darn it!

Here is this years 'present' to us. Guess we have to make ourselves.


Perfection? Hint: It’s Warm and Has a Secret


TOO bad sainthood is not generally conferred on bakers, for there is one who is a possible candidate for canonization. She fulfills most of the requirements: (1) She’s dead. (2) She demonstrated heroic virtue. (3) Cults have been formed around her work. (4) Her invention is considered by many to be a miracle. The woman: Ruth Graves Wakefield. Her contribution to the world: the chocolate chip cookie.

And by Ruth Wakefield, it turns out. “At Toll House, we chill this dough overnight,” she wrote in her “Toll House Cook Book” (Little, Brown, 1953). This crucial bit of information is left out of the version of her recipe that Nestlé printed on the back of its baking bars and, since in 1939, on bags of its chocolate morsels.

So the author and his cohorts did 3 batch tests at 12, 24 and 36 hours.

Going the full distance seemed to have the greatest impact. At 36 hours, the dough was significantly drier than the 12-hour batch; it crumbled a bit when poked but held together well when shaped. These cookies baked up the most evenly and were a deeper shade of brown than their predecessors. Surprisingly, they had an even richer, more sophisticated taste, with stronger toffee hints and a definite brown sugar presence. At an informal tasting, made up of a panel of self-described chipper fanatics, these mature cookies won, hands down.

The second insight Mr. Rubin offered had to do with size. His cookies are six-inch affairs because he believes that their larger size allows for three distinct textures. “First there’s the crunchy outside inch or so,” he said. A nibble revealed a crackle to the bite and a distinct flavor of butter and caramel. “Then there’s the center, which is soft.” A bull’s-eye the size of a half-dollar yielded easily.

And what would a chocolate chip cookie be without the wallop of good chocolate? According to most of the bakers, only chocolate with at least 60 percent cacao content has the brio to transform the dough into the Hulk Hogan of cookies. Some, like Mr. Rubin and Mr. Torres, have their chocolate made exclusively for them. Others, including the Mercer sisters, use high-quality imported brands, like Callebaut or Valrhona, and shoot for a ratio of chocolate to dough of no less than 40 to 60.

“You can’t underestimate the importance of salt in sweet baked goods,” she said. Salt, in the dough and sprinkled on top, adds dimension that can lift even a plebian cookie. To make the point, she referred to her recipe for Sablés Korova, a chocolate chocolate-chip cookie with a hefty pinch of fleur de sel, from her book “Paris Sweets” (Broadway Books, 2002). Five years ago, sea salt as a must-have ingredient and garnish for sweets wouldn’t have registered on the radar of many home bakers, but now it has become almost commonplace, in part because of Ms. Greenspan’s unwavering belief in its virtue.

This creation, the offspring of some of baking’s top talent, truly bests Mrs. Wakefield’s. Doubt it? There’s only one way to find out.

So here it is folks…. enjoy.

July 9, 2008


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Jacques Torres

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)

Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

EAT WARM, WITH A BIG NAPKIN! (and a glass of cold milk)

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Hope this isn’t too much plagiarizing Pam, but I couldn’t leave any out!

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