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Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52—with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.
Today: Sure, this recipe is a little bit bossy, but the results—super thin, shatteringly crispy chocolate chip cookies—will make your attention to detail worthwhile.
Some cooks pride themselves on never following a recipe exactly and measuring casually or not at all. They look at a recipe as an idea or inspiration. All well and good, say I diplomatically. But what I am really thinking is that people who don’t ever follow the details of a good baking recipe don’t know what they're missing. Ignorance is bliss, I guess…
I love to riff on other people’s recipes, but when I make something from a chef or author who I admire, I follow the recipe religiously the first time because I want to learn something from the chef (and I want to see what she thinks is so darn good about her recipe).
Now, about these cookies. If you follow the recipe as written (no eye rolling at the details please), you will get something special. Otherwise, I’m sure the cookies will be pretty good, but you’ll be missing a peak experience.
The cookies are theatrically large and very thin. They shatter dramatically and noisily when you bite them, releasing loads of caramel brown sugar flavor and bursts of bittersweet chocolate. The entire experience is about flavor and texture and you won’t get that experience if the cookies are not thin enough or baked long enough. (If you want a smaller cookie, cut them in half when they come out the oven: The half moons look great and you won’t have compromised any of the baking dynamics.)
Mind the details please: Just because you think you can get 6 cookies on a sheet instead of 5, don't try—the cookies will stick together. If you don’t pat the dough out to the right size (using your kitchen ruler), the cookies won’t be thin enough. And if you don’t let the dough rest, if you use parchment instead of foil, or if you skimp on the baking time, you’ll miss out. And hey, use your scale for measuring.
What more can I say? I’m bossy, but I mean well. Give the cookies (and me) a chance.
Adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies (Artisan 2010)
Makes fifteen 5-inch cookies
1 1/3 cups (170 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons (140 grams/5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (42 grams) quick rolled oats
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (55 grams) light corn syrup
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet (I use a 70%) or any dark chocolate, chopped into chunks (or 1 generous cup purchased chocolate chips or chunks if you must)
Pick up a copy of Alice's James Beard Award-winning book Flavor Flours, which includes nearly 125 recipes—from Double Oatmeal Cookies to Buckwheat Gingerbread—made with wheat flour alternatives like rice flour, oat flour, corn flour, sorghum flour, and teff (not only because they're gluten-free, but for an extra dimension of flavor, too).
Photos by Mark Weinberg