I was looking for a cookie recipe to make at a Sunday afternoon college care package party.
My friend was gathering five moms to bake cookies and other goodies to send to our freshman daughters, all friends who had chosen colleges in Des Moines; Chicago; Tempe, Ariz.; Fort Hayes; and Lawrence, Kan.
What to make? What to make?
Then, in one of those moments when you’re sure the internet gods can see into your brain, a headline rolled by on my Twitter feed that would solve all my indecision: “An Internet-Famous Cookie Worth Making in Real Life”.
I opened the link and read the baking directions. They made me laugh out loud: “Lift the baking sheet and let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and inside falls back down. (This will feel wrong, but trust me.) Bang it down, if necessary to make the center fall.”
I didn’t know if the recipe would work (always dicey when you’re contributing to a group effort), but I decided to take the gamble. (Who am I kidding! I’m forever testing new recipes even when the situation calls for the tried-and-true.)
The giant cookie sounded so good. And I was curious but worried that once again I might be lured into making an internet recipe I considered a flop. (Cloud eggs, anyone?)
The unorthodox method used to make The New York Times’ Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies encapsulates some kitchen science lessons, but for the baker who is less concerned with why than how, the method creates gigantic crinkled chocolate chip cookies — crunchy-on-the-outside rings and soft and chewy in the center.
The recipe calls for a stand mixer. My friend only had a hand-held so I prepped two batches of dough before the party.
The actual baking took much longer — huge 3 1/2-ounce dough balls are placed on a cookie tray and left in the freezer for 15 minutes. (Side-by-side refrigerator/freezers are generally not wide enough to handle chilling cookie sheets, but I resorted to a chest freezer in friend’s garage.)
The chilled dough is placed in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Every 3 minutes after that, the baker is instructed to reach in with an oven mitt and lift and drop the cookie sheet on the oven rack a few times. The puffed dough in the center deflates and pushes out in rings, creating a monster cookie.
We had to sacrifice one that I mangled with the spatula. But all the moms agreed it was, indeed, if not the best, at least one of the best they had ever had.
So girls, if you’re reading this before your care package arrives, I hope the cookies make it through the mail in one piece. I know you will love them. Sorry I couldn’t figure out a way to send a quart of milk.
Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies
From The New York Times.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 60 percent cacao solids), chopped into coarse pieces, bits and shards
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil, parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and 2 tablespoons water, and mix on low to combine. Add the flour mixture, and mix on low until combined. Add the chocolate and mix on low into the batter. (At this point, the dough can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight.)
Form the dough into 3 1/2-ounce balls (a heaping 1/3 cup each). Place 4 balls an equal distance apart on a prepared pan, and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. After you put the first baking sheet in the oven, put the second one in the freezer.
Place the chilled baking sheet in the oven and bake 10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed slightly in the center. Lift the baking sheet and let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the inside falls back down. (This will feel wrong, but trust me.) Bang it down, if necessary, to make the center fall.
After the cookies puff up again, 2 to 3 minutes later, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times, every 3 minutes, to create ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake 16 to 18 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out, and the edges are golden brown, but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked.
Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack; cool cookies before removing from the pan.
Repeat with remaining cookies, using the first sheet pan for the third batch.
Yield: 10 cookies.