Saturday, December 19, 2009

Matt Ford's Cookie

After a chat with his mom Sue, I learned that her son Matt Ford is a chocolate chip kind of guy. Matt is a graphic artist and very talented musician who migrated to California with his new wife Halle years ago. Matt and Halle were married in October at a beach side wedding with immediate family only. The pictures are beautiful and really convey the special day as a sublime experience. Matt is a very funny guy. He is so intense about his passions and he lives life large. He loves to experience his life fully and jumps in to life with all of his being. Matt is a redhead and has that sparky personality to match. As a little guy, Matt took up fishing and at one point managed to cast himself off the dock in his enthusiasm. He also tormented his younger sister by putting his thumb through the bottom of a shoebox and putting ketchup on it and displaying it much to Becky's horror.

Several years ago he had the opportunity to take a trip with some colleagues near Baja to run cars in the desert over several days. Matt brought many pictures and regaled the family for over an hour with stories from the trip. He summoned the excitement he felt during the trip and we all could feel his excitement. Matt is exuberance and passion personified. He is a party in a person.

Matt's cookie according to his Mom would be a chocolate chip cookie. That notion of a cookie for him didn't sit well with me until I remembered an article in the NYT about chocolate chip cookies. Apparently someone whipped up a very fine batch of chocolate cookie dough and allowed it to sit in the fridge for several days before baking. The notion was that holding the dough in this way allows the texture and the taste of the cookie to be transformed into something even more rich and delicious. I can't imagine making Matt sit for three days to bring his passion to a higher level but I can see Matt experiencing this cookie in a new and different way that really ramps it up for him to a higher level of pleasure and excitement.

This is a recipe for the cookie adapted from the baker and chocolatier Jacques Torres

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 C minus 2 T cake flour
1 2/3 C bread flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
\1 1/4 C light brown sugar
1 C plus 2 T. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks (chips) at least 60 percent cacao
sea salt

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Using a mixer fixed with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5-10 seconds.
Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them.
Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or nonstick baking mat and set aside.

Scoop 6 3 1/2 ounce mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet making sure any chocolate pieces that pop up are horizontal. (makes a more attractive cookie) Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies to another wire rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen 5 inch cookies.

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