Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Salted Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

You've heard the saying, perfection doesn't exist. As much as oftentimes we can have our own idea of what a perfect version of any particular thing is, we know that that idea of perfection is likely to be different from the person next to us. We all have a different perception of what perfection is. For example, while I felt that Beyoncé's Lemonade was a perfect album (even though I skip 'Sandcastles' every time it comes on), the Grammy judges felt that Adele's 25 was closer to excellence. I think it's crazy, but hey, we all have our own opinion of what's perfect. This is especially true when it comes to food, and most specifically, the beloved chocolate chip cookie.
Image by Chatelaine
Over the past year I've kept seeing charts breaking down "cookie logic," otherwise known as the "lite" science behind what makes a perfect chocolate chip cookie. From looking at these charts, I discovered that my idea of a perfect chocolate chip cookie is very different from say, Chatelaine Magazine's. In Chatelaine's chart (shown above) they believe that the perfect chocolate chip cookie is represented in the bottom right cookie. While I certainly wouldn't turn down a bite of that cookie, I felt the top left or right cookies were both closer to my idea of perfection. Using the search terms "perfect chocolate chip cookies" on some of my favourite food websites, I found an array of all sorts of different cookies that respected foodies deemed "perfect." It really puts in perspective how delusional the idea of universal perfection truly is.

For myself, my ultimate "perfect" chocolate chip cookie is a thin cookie with both semi-sweet and/or dark chocolate chips and pieces, with slightly crisp edges, a soft interior/centre, and some salt to combat the sweetness. I remember seeing an image of what I would have considered to be "perfect" chocolate chip cookies in an old William's Sonoma Cookies cookbook that I adored. They were those same thin cookies that I just described, and to me they looked like heaven. I never even made them, more swayed by the assortment of other interesting cookies that were unfamiliar to me, and have now misplaced my cookbook, but in my head those thin chocolate chip cookies will always be my idea of a perfect classic.
With the urge to make the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies on the last day of this past beautiful long weekend, I turned to William's Sonoma once again, searching for their idea of a perfect cookie. Though their perfect cookies looked very different from the ones that I drooled over in my old book, I figured it would be a good start in terms of recipe development. To make the cookies a little bit more of my own and closer to my idea of perfection, I chose to swap some of the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the recipe for shards of chopped 90% Lindt Chocolate, as well as subbing part of the vanilla extract for bourbon, and topped them all off with one of my favourite ingredients, Maldon Salt.

Though I truly thought it would take me a few tries to get to achieve my perfect cookie, I am so happy to say that this recipe is it! I know I'm often prone to hyperbole, but the fates of the world were kind enough to deliver perfection to me. With crisp, slightly caramelized edges, chips of chocolate to bite into, with little bits of dark chocolate throughout, a soft interior that doesn't crumble when you bite in, and, of course, that crunchy, clean-salty taste from the Maldon Salt, these thin wonders are my idea of perfection. What's your idea of a perfect chocolate chip cookie? Try mine and let me know what you think! Tweet me your thoughts: @thisgingerrose.
Note: I like to use a quick-release cookie scoop for dropping my balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet to keep my hands clean and create uniform cookies. 

Adapted from Williams Sonoma 
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 Tbsp. white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 tsp bourbon
1 heaping cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup 90% Lint Chocolate, chopped into small shards
Maldon Salt for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and kosher salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter with brown and white sugar on medium-high speed for 2-minutes.
  4. Add egg, vanilla extract, and bourbon and mix at medium-low-speed until well blended. 
  5. At low speed, add the flour in three-additions, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl before each new addition, and mix until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and Lindt shards. 
  6. Drop 1-Tbsp-sized pieces of dough onto prepared baking sheet, leaving 2-inches of space between each (see note). Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven, sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of Maldon Salt immediately, and allow to cool slightly while on baking sheet (about 2-3 minutes), and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough. 

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