Once upon a time, I had a week off from work, so I went adventuring in Brooklyn. The destination of one particular afternoon was the Mast Brothers factory of chocolate in Williamsburg. Maybe you’ve seen their chocolate bars around? Or maybe you’ve heard accusations and admittance of chocolate fraud. No matter their previous or current strategies, the Mast Brothers have crazy, inventive chocolate flavors like goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, olive oil, and vanilla & smoke. And their packaging could easily be turned into wall decoration. But I was not in town for this chocolate, no. I was in town for their chocolate chip cookies (go figure). In my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, substantial research of existing artworks is imperative. I walked into the storefront, took a brief gander around the bags of cocoa beans and podiums of chocolate bars.
After taking a peek through the window showing the factory, convincing you to pay for the $10 tour, I circled back to the front and asked for one of the chocolate chip cookies sitting on the counter. I decided to pay for this over the tour, this time, because guess how much it was….a round $4. It was worth it though, this cookie was about the size of my face, or three normal cookies.
There were no seats or tables inside, so I had to leave the premises and find a bench on the side of the street instead. To my surprise, this took about 90 seconds. The chocolate pros figured out that crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-chewy-on-the-inside refinement, and the sea salt flakes on the top served as both decoration and general flavor enhancement. The top was the perfectly beautiful cracked texture that you see in the cookbooks. It was so delicious, and I managed to save some for later. I decided that I needed to track down the recipe for these cookies to see if any processes, techniques, or secret ingredients were applicable to my own recipe.
Turns out, the Mast Brothers chocolate chip cookie recipe was no great shakes. There were no alternative mixing approaches or corn starch additions. In fact, their recipe didn’t even call for vanilla.
Even so, I was confident that my cookies would turn out great, and excited to compare previous recipes. What resulted was a batch of perfectly smooth, large cookies that were less exciting than my current chocolate chip recipe.
Perhaps it was the fact that I did not use Mast Brothers chocolate, but probably not. There are always some variables that are unaccounted for, like evenness in your oven’s heat, oven heat in general, type of butter, and mixiness.
Moral of the story: You should always feel free to tweak the recipe to your own taste. Things won’t necessarily come out how you think they will/like in the restaurant.
Mast Brothers Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
⅔ cup white sugar
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
15 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
fleur de sel, for topping
In a large mixing bowl, cream softened butter with both sugars until fluffy. Blend in eggs one at a time. Add flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate and combine.
Spoon out cookie dough on baking sheets using tablespoons. Sprinkle sea salt to your preference. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
Have any perfected chocolate chip cookie techniques? Spill!