My favorite place to get chocolate chip cookies in New York City is City Bakery... hands down. I know Levain Bakery has their partisans, and they do make a nice cookie, but I prefer the crisp edges and chewy center of the flat brown sugar wheels at City Bakery than the doughy mounds at Levain.
Recently I happened upon a recipe for City Bakery style chocolate chip cookies on Chowhound, so I had to try them out. The verdict? They're not precisely City Bakery, but they are damned good: my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.
There's nothing that revolutionary in the ingredients. All the usual cookie suspects are there. I had everything in my pantry already. The key is to refrigerate the dough (I've heard the longer you refrigerate, the more flavor develops) and to underbake the cookies, then let them set as they cool.
Give this a try. They're quite easy... and addictive.
City Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
¼ pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ cup sugar
¾ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ t. vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2 inch chunks [Or you could use half a 12-oz bag of bittersweet Ghiardelli chocolate chips, or semisweet if you prefer]
1) Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
2) Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars on low speed until it is smooth and lump free, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
3) Add the vanilla and egg and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or until fully incorporated. Do not overbeat. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
4) On low speed, add the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate chunks and mix until they are just incorporated. If using a hand mixer, use a wooden spoon to stir them in. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour.
5) Preheat oven to 350. Adjust racks to lower and upper thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Spoon the dough using a 2-inch cookie scooper 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. (makes about 23 3-inch round cookies)
6) Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown around the edges, turning the sheets front to back and switching racks halfway through.
7) Remove the sheet from the oven and carefully slide the parchment or Silpats directly onto a work surface. When cookies are set, remove them to a cooling rack. Wait at least 5 minutes before serving or 20 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.