Cooking With Confidence
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Desserts, Stuffing Stuff, Vegetarian

Perfectly Good Chocolate Chunk Cookies

by Nick

Everything about The Bouchon Bakery cookbook is perfect. It’s the perfect size and weight. The paper choice is thick and easy to thumb through. The photography is mouthwatering. The recipes are frustratingly exact.

The book is simultaneously the most beautiful and intimidating cookbook I’ve ever read. I picked some of the easier recipes in the book for the poll last week and still those had very specific steps and ingredients that almost made me freeze.  Not only is every ingredient measured out to the gram, but they also call for very specific chocolates and cocoa powders. To be honest, it can be a bit much for a freakin’ cookie.

After sweating through the recipe once or twice and looking up every gourmet store in the Denver area, I remembered a common phrase that I try to live by in the kitchen: The perfect is the enemy of the good.  You can spend days of your life hunting down ingredients and mastering these cookies or you can just make them. As long as you get close, they will be delicious.

No doubt that the original is probably best, but I’m fine with just getting close as long as I’m getting close to perfection.

Yield
12 cookies
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Bouchon Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients

  • 190 grams (1 1/4 + 1 1/2 TBSP) all purpose flour
  • 48 grams (1/2 cup + 1 1/2 TBSP) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2.3 grams (1/2 teas) baking soda
  • 3 grams (1 teas) kosher salt
  • 134 grams (1/2 cup + 2 TBSP) dark brown sugar
  • 12 grams (1 3/4 teas) blackstrap molasses
  • 104 grams (1/2 cup + 1 teas) sugar
  • 107 grams (2/3 cup) 70%-72% Chocolate chunks
  • 107 grams (scant 1/2 cup) chocolate chips
  • 167 grams (5.9 ounces) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 60 grams (3 TBSP + 2.5 teas - about 1 extra large) eggs

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) Sift and whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl.

2) In a separate bowl stir together sugars and molasses. Try to stir out any chunks.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, add softened butter and cream until butter is very soft and holds peaks with the paddle attachment. It should almost be the consistency of a thick mayo.

4) Add in sugar mixture and cream together until smooth.

5) Add eggs and mix on low speed for 15-30 seconds. There is no need to completely mix in the eggs.

6) Add the flour ingredients in 2 batches, mixing slowly until just combined.

7) Add chocolate and pulse a few times on low speed to mix in without overmixing.

8) Let dough chill for 30 minutes and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

9) On baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a Silpat baking sheet, portion out cookies in large balls, 75 grams each. You should get six per sheet.

10) Bake cookies for 16-18 minutes until just set.

11) Let cool before serving. Once cool, you can store these at room temperature for a few days in an airtight container.

Recipe from Bouchon Bakery.

Perfect is the Enemy

Let’s go through the list of things I did NOT do correctly in this recipe:

  • I didn’t use the right kind of chocolate. The recipe calls for a very specific kinds: Guittard Cocoa Rouge for the cocoa powder and Valrhona Guanaja 70% for the chunks. I used Ghirardelli for both because it’s what I had and is still very good in my opinion.
  • I didn’t use as much chocolate. The original recipe called for a huge amount of chocolate chips and chunks which I would’ve been happy to use. I fell about 40 grams short though and wasn’t going to go out to the store for 40 grams of chocolate.
  • I used more butter. The original recipe calls for an annoying 5.9 ounces of butter. I doubled this to 11.8 ounces because I doubled the recipe in general. I just used 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) of butter because I didn’t want to save .2 ounces of butter.
  • I used light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar.
  • I didn’t get the eggs exactly right. Measuring eggs by the gram is freakin’ annoying.
The one thing I did do though was measure all my ingredients by weight with a digital scale. For recipes this exacting, it’s actually easier than doing it with measuring cups. Go ahead, try and measure out 3 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons of egg. I’ll wait.
wrong

Wrong wrong wrong!

For the chocolate, the recipe recommends both chunks and chips. It actually specifies 3/8” chunks, but I just roughly chopped up a chocolate bar.

weighed

I listened… sort of.

Step one for the recipe is to mix all your dry and wet stuff together. For the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt, just whisk everything together in a medium bowl. I followed the instructions and sifted in the cocoa powder which helps make sure there are no clumps.

In a separate bowl, stir together the sugars and molasses. There is a ton of sugar in these cookies. I double and triple checked the amounts because I thought it was a mistake. It’s pretty hard to stir in the molasses completely. Just do your best.

sugar

The real secret is a lot of sugar.

Starting the Dough

The instructions for these cookies recommends beating the butter with a stand mixer until it’s light and fluffy before adding any other ingredients to it. It should be the consistency of “mayonnaise” and hold peaks. I did this and I must say that it did seem to result in a much nicer final cookie dough.

butter

Like mayo?

Once your butter is light and fluffy, you can cream in the sugar mixture. Again, you are looking for a nice light consistency.

sugar

Really smooth.

I think it’s pretty hard to over-mix the ingredients to this point, but that all changes once you start adding the eggs and flour. Now you want to be very careful not to over-mix.

Add the eggs and stir them just enough to barely combine them. They don’t have to be completely mixed in. Chef Keller warms that over-mixing the eggs could cause the cookies to expand too much and then deflate. It’s possible that this happened to my cookies!

Add the flour ingredients in two batches, again being careful to not overmix them and then stir in the chocolate chips and chunks.

dough

Ready to chill.

The directions say to chill the dough for 30 minutes before making cookies which seems like a good idea. It makes the dough easier to work with and also helps make sure the flour is hydrated nicely. While the dough chills you can preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Making Big Cookies

Chef Keller makes some big cookies. Like… dinner plate sized. The original recipe says to make your cookies weigh 150 grams per cookie!  To put that in perspective, that means you would get just six cookies out of one batch of dough. It also means that you can only bake three cookies at a time on a baking sheet.

That’s just insane to me so I made them smaller by half (75 grams).  While I was weighing and shaping my cookies and hopefully getting 12 cookies per dough batch, I wondered if Chef Keller accounted for the two entire spoonfuls of dough I ate before making the cookies?  Probably not.

halfed

I cut the size in half…

I baked my cookies at 325 degrees on a silicon baking sheet for about 17-18 minutes.  I think they flattened a bit more then they were supposed to but they still smelled really good.

done

Big perfect cookies.

I let them cool for a few minutes before digging in.

thin

I loved the texture.

From the pictures in the book, I can tell that mine aren’t exactly the same as the bakery version. They are thinner for sure, but they tasted really good and I kind of liked the crispy edges.  They were definitely chocolate-packed which is always good when making chocolate cookies.

I can see why people might get frustrated with this cookbook but I think it’s important to know that it’s okay to adapt the recipes a bit. You might not end up with a perfect end product but it will most likely still be very tasty and better than if you exactly followed a mediocre recipe.

In other words, my cookies didn’t turn out perfect, but they did turn out perfectly good.

If you’ve tried anything out of this book, leave a comment!

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22 comments on “Perfectly Good Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  1. Since you’re baking, I’m curious if you did any type of altering the recipe for high altitude baking. I also live in the Denver area but am originally from Nebraska. I’ve found cookie- making to be so frustrating because they come out as flat as a pancak-problems I never had asking at lower elevations.

  2. Hope you are enjoying Denver! Marczyk’s, Savory Spice, and Tony’s Market often have those specialty items that I can’t find at Whole Foods. Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma also have some of those hard to find chocolates.

  3. I’ve stopped using my Silpat for cookies. The silicon is too slick and the cookies always flatten out too much. Went back to parchment and all is right in my cookie world…

  4. So…approximately how many eggs is 3 TBS + 2.5 tsp for those of us who also don’t want to weigh them? :)

    1. Haha, it’s really not a round number unfortunately. One egg usually weighs 45-50 grams so it’s one egg plus a little. I doubled the recipe and basically used three eggs which produced cookies.

      1. Hahah oh well…sounds like this recipe can withstand some minor inexactness, so I’ll probably just use one extra large egg and call it a day. Thanks!

  5. This post made me laugh. I recently checked the Bouchon cookbook out from the library. We read through it a few times, but just couldn’t get the nerve up to try any of the intimidating recipes! After almost a month, I finally took the plunge in the bread baking section of the book. I made their sourdough starter (levain) and then used it to bake sourdough bread, multigrain bread, and english muffins. I was very impressed with those recipes…but geeze, does the book have to be SO intimidating? I feel your frustration :-) (seriously, who measures their eggs by mass?)

  6. Nick, I know you’ve spent a little time in a restaurant’s kitchen. Do you suppose that these highfalutin chefs simply stock their pantries or prepare their mise en place differently from us civilians, such that “60 grams of eggs” makes sense? That is, would it make sense to go into Chef Keller’s kitchen and see a big vat of whisked eggs from which 60 grams could be scooped as needed?

    1. That’s very possible, or that they make enough huge amounts of dough and just when they were adapting recipes for the home kitchen, they are left with weird amounts. So the original might call for like 20 eggs or something, but when you adapt for the small batch it gets divided to a strange amount.

  7. So…if they are going to be that fussy about amounts, did they tell you whether you should beat the whole egg and measure from that, or what proportion of white to yolk to take out of the eggs to get the proper amount? :) Call me old school, but I don’t think cooking should be such a chore. Plus, that much tediousness doesn’t seem like it would translate to home cooking very well. Maybe it would translate better to bakeries where they are constantly baking and will use that .2 g of butter in the next recipe, but at home it can become quite wasteful. Our grandmother’s used the “add some of this and a pinch of that until it is ‘right'” method and produced wonderful results! I do measure much more carefully when I bake, but this book just seems over the top!

    1. Yea. You should scramble the egg together and then weigh it out if you want to be exact. A little extra butter never hurts in my experience. :)

  8. Yum! I had the same problem when I made the oatmeal cookie recipe from Bouchon – too flat/spread too much (although still tasty!). I will have to try mixing the eggs less. :)

  9. I love the Bouchon cookbook, so far all I’ve tried making is croissants (which were difficult but very, very worth it) and chocolate chip cookies. Once I can amass all the right tools I want to try the macarons sometime. The whole book is incredible though, definitely one of my favorites just for the heft and the detail and Keller’s wry sense of humor.

  10. Nick, I had lots of respect for you but you couldn’t get your chunks into 3/8 inches? Tut tut ;) Just kidding!!! I have this book and I roll it out for very special occasions where I know I have the time to make the recipe. It can be high maintenance but I think as you use it and cook from it, you know it’s a special time and the results will be very good…well worth it and amazing cookies!

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