Has everyone’s surreptitious chocolate chip consumption gone way up since we’ve all had to stay at home? Or is this phenomenon limited to my particular kitchen? And is it also why, no matter how often I replenish the stock, there’s never quite enough left in the bag whenever I try to bake cookies?
Luckily, chocolate chip cookies are about as adaptable as cookies get. You don’t even need chocolate chips. A chopped chocolate bar or two — bittersweet, milk chocolate with almonds, white chocolate with mint — will work quite well. And that’s what I used this week when I baked a batch, augmented by some toasted coconut I found in the back of the pantry, leftover from making macaroons.
My standard recipe is a cross between the one printed on the back of the chip bag, and the divine, if fussy, one from the pastry chef Jacques Torres, which David Leite published in The New York Times some time ago. His calls for bread flour in addition to all-purpose flour, and a 24- to 36-hour chilling, and those were some of the things I nixed. But I did keep the flaky sea salt topping, which in my mind is now a chocolate chip cookie essential.
For about 2 dozen cookies, with an electric mixer beat 10 tablespoons/145 grams softened butter with ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar, ½ cup/110 grams light brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar. You’re looking for a total of 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons/245 grams sugar, so use any combination and don’t worry too much.
Beat in 1 egg, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, ¾ teaspoon each kosher salt and baking powder, and ½ teaspoon baking powder. When everything is smooth and well mixed, beat in 2 cups/255 grams all-purpose flour. Finally, fold in 1 ½ to 2 cups/260 to 345 grams chocolate chips or whatever you’ve got. Toasted nuts and dried fruit — pecans and dried cherries, or chopped apricots and almonds — are nice here as well. I used a combination of bittersweet chocolate chips, the chopped-up end of a fancy candy bar (made from caramelized white chocolate) and some toasted unsweetened coconut. It was excellent.
If you want to chill the dough for 24 to 36 hours, you can. This never works well in my house, with the dough mound mysteriously shrinking in the fridge.
When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Drop tablespoon-size globs onto greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake until the edges are browned and the tops are just set, anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven.
Eat some warm. Then eat the rest at room temperature. Like the chips themselves, they won’t hang around very long.
This is part of a series in which Melissa Clark teaches you how to cook with pantry staples. See more.