Recipe Trend: Are 36-Hour Chocolate Chip Cookies Worth the Wait?

36-hour chocolate chip cookies

Yes. Yes they are.

Recipe #7 on Saveur’s recipe trends list, 36-hour chocolate chip cookies, is an exercise in patience. But since good things come to those who wait and all that, these cookies reward you for your willpower.

Remember when I said that whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies might be the answer to my quest for the perfect cookie? Yep, I was wrong. I don’t think the most perfect bakery specimen could top 36-hour chocolate chip cookies.

The cookies are called “36 hour” because that’s how long you’re supposed to rest the dough in your fridge after mixing it. The long rest period allows the flour to fully absorb the moisture in the eggs and butter, but it also helps concentrate all the flavors in the dough. The butter is richer. The brown sugar tastes deeper. The vanilla tastes vanillaier.

Even with the promise of those tempting flavor notes, patience is still a challenge, because who really wants to wait that long for cookies? I had to hide the dough in the back of my fridge in hopes that out of sight was truly out of mind, but to no avail. Thirty-six hours could not pass quickly enough.

This perfect recipe originated from Jacques Torres, a world-renowned chocolatier, so you know it’s going to be good before you even make it. You may notice that it calls for two lesser-used flours: cake and bread. I actually happened to have both in my kitchen, so I used them as instructed, but I wouldn’t sweat it too much if you wanted to substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour. In fact, when I run out of cake flour next time, I’ll use the all-purpose and provide an update here about whether I notice a difference. I would try to use the bread flour, though, because of the extra gluten, which adds a bit of welcomed chewiness.

Just before baking, the recipe instructs you to lightly dust the tops of the cookies with sea salt, which adds an interesting contrast. To my utter dismay, however, after all of my cookies were baked, cooled, and put away (Who am I kidding? Half were eaten before they could be put away.) and I went to write about the recipe, I realized that I forgot to add the sea salt before baking. I guess in 36 hours, the recipe you thought you could easily scoop and bake from memory isn’t as fresh in your mind as you thought it would be. Oh, well—I guess that just means I’ll have to make them again. Soon.

36-Hour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from The New York Times, who got it from Jacques Torres

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 pound 60% cacao chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
Sea salt

Whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In your biggest mixing bowl or your stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients and carefully mix until just barely combined. Gently mix in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate dough for 36 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown but still soft. Let cookies cool on pan for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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7 responses to “Recipe Trend: Are 36-Hour Chocolate Chip Cookies Worth the Wait?

  1. Beautiful photo! I’ve never heard of a cookie like this but I’m intrigued. I usually rest my dough overnight at most.

  2. These look amazing and I can totally see the benefits from letting the dough rest… but I’m a very impatient man. Anything more than a 36 minute cookie and I break down in an emotional heap on the floor…

  3. I am with frugal! I was going to make these, but i didn’t have cake flour and I did not have the internal fortitude to wait 36 hours when I wanted my chocolate chip cookies in about 20 minutes. I ended up with a good chocolate chip cookies that were soft and chewy. (http://daisyt13.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/soft-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies/) I did have the Jacques Torres cookies last week whilst in NYC. They were delish!

    • Your chocolate chip cookies are beautiful, Daisy! And how interesting to use cornstarch. I’ve never seen that before, but now I know what I’ll try next. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

      • Thanks, Elisa! I will still try your recipe, once I get more cake flour. Maybe, I’ll do a side-by-side comparison by baking a batch with AP flour and a batch with the combination flour so see if it makes a big difference. I wanted to reach out and grab a couple of your cookies off that plate!

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