Food nom nom
If there’s one cookie that gets New York’s heart racing, it’s the chocolate chip. You could say that about a lot of places, but the sheer number of iterations here, the cult followings they attract, and the outrageous quantities sold daily, well, it takes the cookie.
There’s also the taste – Gotham’s are the best (and I consider myself an authority on this as I’ve consumed a fair few in my lifetime). Highlights include Maman’s, loaded with three nuts, Almondine Bakery’s discs with milk and dark chocolate, and Levain Bakery’s – perhaps the city’s most loved version – in all its insane tennis-ball-size, gooey-interior glory.
I don’t want to call favourites, and I’m not, but this recipe takes inspiration from Levain’s unique approach to size, weighing in at over 120 g (41/2 oz), making it a meal-slash-cookie. Instead of creaming, I’ve browned the butter, giving a wonderfully nutty edge. Make sure you eat them 10–15 minutes after they come out of the oven, when they’re just set and perfect.
125 g (41/2 oz) unsalted butter, chopped
375 g (13 oz/21/2 cups) plain (all‑purpose) flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon fine salt
165 g (6 oz/3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
165 g (6 oz/3/4 cup firmly packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids), cut into 1 cm (1/2 in) pieces
100 g (31/2 oz/1 cup) walnuts, toasted, halved
Place the butter in a saucepan over low–medium heat until melted and starting to foam. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 12–15 minutes or until the butter is browned and has a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the burnt butter and sugars in a large bowl for 1 minute or until well combined (it will look like wet sand). Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined, then stir in the chocolate and walnuts.
Line two baking trays with baking paper. Divide the dough into ten even portions and shape into balls, then place, 5 cm (2 in) apart, on the prepared trays and refrigerate for 2 hours or until very firm.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Bake the cookies, one tray at a time, for 18 minutes or until just golden around the edges (the dough will be slightly gooey on the inside). Remove from the oven and cool slightly on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for a further 10 minutes. Serve immediately.