Friday, July 11, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'll admit it---I have a sweet tooth. I love desserts of all sorts, ranging from western desserts like Prolific Oven's divine Swedish Princess Cake to Ben and Jerry's ice-cream to Indian desserts like rasmalai and gulab jamun. But above them all is the humble chocolate chip cookie, served warm with soft melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chips! It's a dessert I have a very hard time resisting.

So you can imagine that I was quite thrilled to read this recent article in the NY Times entitled Perfection? Hint: It's Warm and Has a Secret. It's all about baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie, complete with a recipe. The author talks to a number of bakers to get the recipe. But why talk to bakers when:

... almost everybody say[s] they prefer homemade to bakery bought?

Mr. Rubin smiled, having already figured out the answer. “It’s the Warm Rule,” he said. “Even a bad cookie straight from the oven has its appeal.”

I certainly subscribe to this view. But there's more to it than serving it warm. Mr. Rubin provides two secrets to baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie:

First, he said, he lets the dough rest for 36 hours before baking.

It seems this allows

... the dough and other ingredients to fully soak up the liquid ... which bakes to a better consistency.

The second secret is apparently to bake large cookies. The reasons for this are more complex and worth reading, at least for a laugh; not unlike the description of a fine wine (that claims to have hints of things that I can never sense), it involves phrases such as "flavor similar to penuche fudge" (what the hell is penuche fudge any way?!).

Nonetheless, it all sounds very exciting. I'm going to try the recipe one of these days and I'll report back on whether it lived up to the billing. (And maybe I'll figure out what penuche fudge is like!)

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