Aka: the only chocolate chip cookie I need ever again.
Every food blogger has their contribution to the heavily saturated chocolate chip cookie world; I'm proud for this to be mine. In my opinion, they are absolutely perfect, exactly what I want out of a chocolate chip cookie. The rye adds a little heft, as well as a slightly nutty/toasty quality. It's almost a savoriness, although there is still plenty of brown sugar to get those familiar caramel notes and reassurance that you are indeed eating a dessert. The dark chocolate fèves actually melt into the dough (unlike chocolate chips that hold their shape), leaving puddles, pools, and ribbons of chocolate throughout the entire cookie. The smokey salt rounds out the whole thing and keeps you coming back for more.
When my husband and I were on our last trip back to America to renew our visas and visit friends (translation: shop Amazon Prime and eat tacos), we spent the last 3 days before flying out in LA and I had a whole list of new restaurants to try. One of them was Sqirl, a popular "new California cooking" spot with a lunch line of millennials that starts to form at 11am and wraps around the building until mid afternoon. Determined to finally get my own moment with the highly instagrammable sorrel pesto rice bowl with kale & preserved lemons, I was prepared to wait it out but when we finally got to the counter we were famished. We ordered with our eyes undoubtably too much food plus coffee, and then in the pastry case off to the right, a salted rye chocolate chip cookie caught my eye. I ordered it, saying it was “for later” which we all knew was a lie, because I was hangry and definitely planning on eating it before the food arrived. I had never tried rye in a cookie before, but since I love it in bread and I’m a sucker for any salted cookie, I was certainly willing to give it a shot. It was fantastic, of course, as was everything we ate there, so I really have to thank Sqirl LA for the inspiration to recreate a version for myself when I returned home.
I love using large dark chocolate fèves, or disks, from Valrhona for these, ever since I let Jacques Torres and the NY Times convince me that doing anything else was futility. I brought back two pounds with me to Thailand in my luggage because that's my level of dedication to good cookies. For these I used the Caraïbe 66%; I think it's such a well balanced and smooth chocolate. You can get them on Valrhona’s website of course, off Amazon, or I have also seen them in Whole Foods in the bulk chocolate section. They aren’t cheap, but they are so worth it. I also used Jacobsen Salt Co smoked salt because its amazing and I wanted to add a slightly smokey touch, but they have other infused salts like chocolate or whisky salt that would be equally amazing. And of course, if you aren’t ready to go down the French gourmet chocolate and infused salt rabbit hole at this time, any good quality dark chocolate and flaky sea salt will do.
This recipe was my first time trying Sarah Keiffer’s insta-famous method to get awesome rippled, crisp edges accompanied by soft centers called bang-on-a-pan that is exactly what it sounds like. Not only did I like the results in my cookies, it's oddly satisfying to bang pans intentionally and watch the cookies rise and fall. Although her method calls for slamming the cookie sheets down against the rack inside the oven, I don’t feel the need to give myself more opportunities to burn my forearms than I already do, so I removed the pan from the oven and used the stovetop for my slamming. If you can't be bothered and want to skip this method, you can just bake your cookies the old fashioned, more quiet way; they will still taste amazing.
One more note of advice: If you’re like me and don’t need 20+ baked cookies around the house for personal consumption, once you portion out your dough, freeze some of it! That way when the cravings are strong or you have last minute guests show up, you have dough on hand to make these cookies appear, fresh and hot, within the hour.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
1 cup butter (225 grams), softened at room temp
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg, room temp
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup dark rye flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp kosher salt
1.5 cups (roughly 250 grams) dark chocolate fèves*
smoked flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
*I use Valhrona chocolate fèves, which are like large, flat oval disks of chocolate so you get wider portions of the cookies with chocolate that actually melts and puddles in the cookie (unlike a chocolate chip).
If you don’t want to invest in these, just use the biggest and highest quality chips, chunks, or disks you can. I like to use at least 65% cacao for a nice bittersweet chocolate flavor. Dark chocolate bars cut into large chunks would also work well.
WHAT YOU'LL DO
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy and lightened in color, about 3 mins. Scrape down the sides. Add in the vanilla and egg, and beat again, another 2 mins.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk your dry ingredients: both flours, baking soda and powder, and kosher salt.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until just combined but some patches of flour are still there. Scrape down the sides of your bowl again, then add in your chocolate pieces, finishing incorporating them with a spatula by hand.
Refrigerate your dough for 30-60 mins, so the flour can hydrate and the flavors meld. You want it chilled but still malleable.
Preheat your oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Using a large cookie scoop or spoon, measure your cookies out into roughly 20-24 portions. (I personally get 22 cookies out of this recipe with the cookie scoop I have). If you have a kitchen scale, you want each cookie dough portion to weigh between 52-55 grams. If not using a cookie scoop, shape into a round ball by hand. Place the on a parchment lined or nonstick baking sheet at least 2 inches apart from each other.
Top each cookie dough ball with a pinch of flaky smoked salt.
Bake for 13-14 mins total, but stay close by.
Just over halfway through baking, (at about the 7 to 8 min mark) when the cookies are puffing up and spreading, remove the cookie sheet from the oven, and hover it over the top of the stove or heat safe counter by a few inches. With a little force, bang the entire cookie sheet down and you will see the cookies deflate and the edges spread. This will give you those crisp, rippled edges and pools of chocolate you want on the surface of your cookie.
Return your pan quickly to the oven, rotating it as you do. Repeat this process two minutes later, when the cookies have inflated again and return to the oven to finish the baking process.
Remove and let the cookies cool on their baking sheet for at least 5 mins before moving to a cooling rack.
These are incredible served warm but just as delightful at any temperature. Though the baked cookies freeze perfectly well, I prefer to freeze my dough portions and bake them as I need them, one or two at a time when I have a craving or when I have last minute guests. This IS the cookie dough you always want to have on hand, trust me on this one.