I may or may not have mentioned this before (leaning on the side of “may have”), but I’m always a little wary when a recipe is purported to be “the best”. For the obvious reasons. We have unique and subjective tastes; different people value different qualities in their treats, from chewiness to crispiness to fluffiness; tradition and nostalgia factor into the equation more than we like to think; etc. etc. What is a mind-blowingly delicious concoction for one man is a disgusting pile of shit for another. You know.
That philosophy of mine hasn’t changed: do not call your recipe the best, because it probably isn’t. And now I have learned that first hand.
In the midst of a cookbook-borrowing binge, I picked up a copy of Ovenly by Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga, another one of those bakery cookbooks drawn from a trendy Brooklyn-based (talk about redundant) bakery called—shockingly—Ovenly. The bakery apparently specializes in salty-sweet dessert accoutrements and has a fondness for giving classic recipes a modern twist. Nothing too mind-blowing there. Seems like most new-ish bakeries are all about those modern twists and grains of fleur de sel.
The cookbook, however, was impressive, quelling all my cynical little ideas about trendiness and NYC bakeries.
|Just look at that goddamn cake. LOOK AT IT. source|
But what surprised me the most, flipping through the book, was their recipe for what they claimed to be the best chocolate chip cookies ever. What made the biggest impression on me was the fact that this recipe was actually vegan, despite the bakery’s reliance on totally non-vegan ingredients like butter and eggs in so many other recipes. And yet, in this recipe for salted chocolate chip cookies, the authors write:
“We’re not talking the perfect vegan chocolate chip cookie. We’re talking the perfect chocolate chip cookie.”
That’s one bold assertion right there. But I was thrilled. If this cookie recipe could hold up against cookies like that of Cook’s Illustrated and the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook, those filled with browned butter and egg yolks and such non-vegan ingredients, then I would have found the Holy Grail. Maybe not the best ever (because, as we all know, everyone likes different kinds of chocolate chip cookies), but for a vegan cookie, being an award-winning bakery’s standby is pretty damn solid work.
So obviously I had to try a batch. Not without modifying them a teensy bit to add some sprinkles.
Unlike the wicked easy chocolate chip cookies I posted last year, these take more than 30 minutes from inception to consumption. Annoyingly, like so many “best ever” chocolate chip cookies (looking at you, New York Times), this recipe calls for letting the dough chill from 12 to 24 hours—presumably to let the gluten relax a little, or something? I haven’t seen a good, scientific explanation. Maybe it’s just the placebo affect making us all swoon over those overly-chilled cookies. ANYWAY. I dutifully followed that instruction and carried on with the recipe pretty much exactly, except for adding sprinkles, and even froze the balls of dough for 10 minutes before baking per the authors’ suggestion.
The result? As good as it gets.
|As far as I can tell.|
Scarfing these cookies down, I failed to identify any measure where these could be improved. Should they be a little chewier in the center? A little crispier on the exterior? A little more chocolaty, sprinkley, salty? Nope—all of the characteristic chocolate chip cookie elements were present in perfect harmony.
Or I don’t know. Maybe I should make another couple batches to make sure.
But how do they compare to the other, easier chocolate chip cookie recipe? Is the extra time worthwhile?
I would say yes. Lacking applesauce, the slight apple-y aftertaste is happily not present in these. The excessive chilling also adds a bit more softness and chewiness and allows the dough to hold its shape better in the oven.
Basically, if you have the time, make these and not the “wicked easy” ones. Save those for emergencies when you ABSOLUTELY NEED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES RIGHT NOW OR YOU’LL SCREAM.
Or...you could, you know...just make a shit ton of this cookie dough and stick it in the freezer for later...that might be a good idea, if a little dangerous.
Not that I’d ever do that. Here’s the recipe.
Vegan chocolate chip confetti cookies
Adapted from Ovenly by Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga
Makes about 16 to 18 cookies
272 grams • all-purpose flour • 2 cups
4 grams • baking powder • 1 teaspoon
3 grams • baking soda • ¾ teaspoon
3 grams • salt • ½ teaspoon
160 grams • chocolate chips • 1 cup
96 grams • rainbow sprinkles • ½ cup
100 grams • granulated sugar • ½ cup
110 grams • light brown sugar • ½ cup
118 grams • vegetable oil • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon
75 grams • water • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon
Fleur de sel, to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add chocolate chips and sprinkles; toss to coat.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, and water briskly until well-incorporated and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Do not over-mix.
Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 12 to 24 hours. I know, I know—but do NOT skip this step.
Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out balls of dough about 1.5 inches thick (from 1.5 to 1.75 ounces) and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Freeze balls for 10 minutes prior to baking.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to turn golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Eat.
|Aren't they just majestic?|
While you’re here, check out these other sprinkle-infused recipes.
Pink-frosted devil’s food cake. Not the best chocolate cake ever, I won’t say that—but it’s pretty damn good.
Confetti biscotti. A little unorthodox.
Momofuku-inspired confetti cookies. Another fabulous cookie recipe you ought to try.