Monday, February 7, 2011

Dried Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Doug had these cookies at a party recently and came home raving about them.  He's right, they are phenomenal! Luckily he was able to convince the creator, his new friend Kersten to share the recipe.  The original recipe by Jacques Torres (Mr. Chocolate) was published in the New York Times and calls for Valrhona 60% Cacao feves (oval discs), and uses a mix of bread flour and cake flour and didn't include dried cherries (that was Kersten's genius idea). Here we have simplified the recipe to use just all purpose flour and Ghiradelli 60% cacao large chocolate chips (which are not only cheaper, but much easier to find) and I believe it is every bit as delicious as the original.

These cookies are extremely buttery and the chocolate and cherries are amazing together!  Using Kosher salt in the recipe seems to add a delicious salty granularity to the cookie.  The sea salt garnish doesn't hurt either!

This is not a terribly inventive recipe, it basically follows the original toll house recipe, but tweaks the amounts a bit.  The secret is in the technique (which Mr. chocolate failed to write into his recipe!).  First, the butter and eggs must be completely at room temperature.  Second, thoroughly creaming the butter and sugar together until fluffy and then slowly adding the eggs, helps the cookies to rise, yet remain chewy.

The original recipe instructed to make giant cookies, but I have never liked a GIANT cookie, I don't know why.  My mother, God rest her soul, considered them to be "vulgar".  So I make smaller cookies which you can eat in 2 or three bites.  That way you have more to go around and you can eat more of them without feeling so guilty!

Dried Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
makes 7-8 dozen 2-inch cookies

3 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp if using regular salt)
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla
23 oz. Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet baking chips (two 11.5 oz. bags)
2 cups dried cherries chopped
coarsely ground sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine flour, Baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.  In a separate bowl combine brown sugar, white sugar and softened butter, cream with electric mixer until very light and very fluffy, scraping sides once or twice (about 5 minutes).  Combine eggs and vanilla and whisk until blended.  With mixer running slowly add egg mixture to butter mixture until well-combined and fluffy.  Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined (about 30-45 seconds).  Add cherries and chocolate chips and mix in by hand.

Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a well greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle each cookie with a tiny pinch of sea salt. Bake for about 11 minutes until cookies are lightly golden and puffed.  Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes (cookies will deflate).  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack with a spatula.

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