Food on Friday: A chunk of bakin’ love

By Julia Westhoff

I wasn’t planning on posting a chocolate chip cookie recipe this week, I really wasn’t. It seems so boring and cliched; everybody already has their own favorite recipe. But when I found myself baking these cookies for the third time in two weeks, I thought it was time to share.

Not share the cookies, mind you – I’ve eaten almost all of them myself and I’m guarding the rest under lock and key. But share this recipe, which I’ve been searching for for years and years.

You see, back in St. Paul, where I grew up, there is a bakery called Bread and Chocolate. They make the most exquisite chocolate chip cookie there – crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, buttery and just amazing. I’d never found a cookie that quite lived up to those ones. They were all either too dry, too dense, or too thick.
But we had David Lebovitz’s cookbook a few weeks ago (from which we made like 10 kinds of ice cream. We’re usually healthier than this, I swear) and he had a recipe for chocolate chunk cookies that looked pretty darn good. He said that chocolate chunks were preferable to chocolate chips, because they melt better. He also suggested letting the dough rest for up to 24 hours before baking. I decided to go ahead and give it a try.
Fast forward to today. As I type this, I am eating the aforementioned cookies (with this batch I’ve replaced the chocolate chunks with M&Ms). I’ve got one batch of dough in the freezer, ready to be baked at a moment’s notice, and I’ve hidden one bag of cookies to ensure they’re not all gone by tonight.

He adds nuts to his cookies, but I usually leave them out. Either way, follow this recipe and you’re in for the best chocolate chip cookies of your life. You heard it here first, folks.

Recipe’s after the jump.

David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, or macadamia nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
14 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed just until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, then stir in the flour mixture followed by the nuts and chocolate chunks.

3. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into quarters. Shape each quarter into a log about 9 inches long. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, preferably for 24 hours.

4. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

5. Slice the logs into disks 3/4 inch thick and place the disks 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. If the nuts or chips crumble out, simply push them back in.

6. Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking, until the cookies are very lightly browned in the centers, about 10 minutes.

7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.