Stories / Recipes

Are These the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Maggie Borden

February 01, 2018


Photo: Scott Meola

The beauty of the chocolate chip cookie is in its pedestrian nature. We grow up surrounded by it—tucked in our cupboards in Famous Amos or Chip's Ahoy boxes, arrayed on the school bakesale table, or (maybe even best) snuck two or three at a time straight from the cooling rack on the kitchen counter. Perhaps it is precisely because of this ubiquity that when someone suggests a way to improve upon it, or even say, dares to assert that they have created the platonic ideal of the chocolate chip cookie, that the eating and baking public collectively pushes back. Take the uproar that occurred back in 2008, when JBF Award–winning cookbook author David Leite embarked on an investigation into the components of the perfect chocolate chipper, ultimately adapting a Jacques Torres recipe with the lessons gleaned from his research. Cue a blogosphere-wide peer review, as every blogger with a preheated oven jumped into the fray to test the recipe Leite had published in the New York Times

These days a simple Google search of "New York Times chocolate chip cookie" will yield dozens of results of independent bakers tackling the Leite recipe, but we urge you to go back to the source. An amalgam of the cookie's Tollhouse origins with Torres's thoughtful tweaks, this recipe calls for cake and bread flour for higher gluten and more chew, requires resting the dough to deepen flavors and reduce moisture, and swaps out the traditional semisweet chips for bittersweet disks that melt into rippling striations of cocoa. This may seem like a lot of steps for something you can grab from the local bodega, but a little extra fuss will transform your cookies from everyday to exemplary. Get the recipe.

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Maggie Borden is associate editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.