Thomas Keller’s beautiful cookbooks are often through of being coffee table books more than actually cookbooks. This could be attributed to the fact that the photography in the books, whether The French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon or Ad Hoc at Home, is stunning, but it can also be attributed to the fact that the recipes tend to be very detailed and often time consuming. This is for good reason, as that attention to detail in the recipes is what guarantees a great result, but it can put otherwise busy home cooks off of trying the recipes.
Fortunately, even a busy cook has time to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and I’m using Thomas Keller’s Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Ad Hoc cookbook to illustrate this fact. The cookies have an ingredient list that looks similar to that of your average chocolate chip cookie, with a few small exceptions. First, the cookies use muscovado sugar, a very dark brown sugar with a strong molasses flavor, to add both flavor and moisture to the cookies. Second, the cookies use cold butter rather than softened butter, which gives them an extra a hint of tenderness. Finally, the cookies use two kinds of chocolate chunks in them rather than chocolate chips – and they use a lot of chocolate to ensure that there is enough delivered in every bite. I made them as directed, but couldn’t resist throwing in a little vanilla extract to the mix, too.
The cookbook promises that these cookies will be crisp on the outside and chewy in the center, with a lot of chocolate in every bite. They live up to expectations. When the cookies are still a bit warm from being in the oven, they have a great contrast of crisp exterior and chewy interior. After the cookies have been stored for a day or so in an airtight container, they loose a little of that crispiness and take on a nice chewy texture overall. Crisp or chewy, they still have lots of chocolate, butter and brown sugar in every bite which makes for one very good chocolate chip cookie.
Ad Hoc Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Ad Hoc at Home
2 1/3 cups plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 cup packed muscovado (or dark brown) sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup chopped 55% chocolate (semisweet)
1 1/4 cup chopped 70-72% chocolate (dark/bittersweet)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Stir in salt.
In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until softened. Add in muscovado sugar and regular sugar and cream together. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Beat in remaining butter on medium-high speed until well incorporated.
With the mixer on low speed, blend in flour mixture.
Sift chopped chocolate chunks to remove any very fine chocolate “dust”, then stir in chocolate chunks.
Drop dough by 1 1/2-inch balls (two rounded tablespoons) onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until cookies are set and not wet looking on top.
Cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.