Chocolate Chip Cookie Series #4: Jacques Torres
We have now tried three very different chocolate chip cookies in our quest to find the best chocolate chip cookie. Up next is Jacques Torres famous chocolate chip cookies!
My obsession with baking is clearly very evident if you look at my Pinterest boards. I have so many different desserts boards, it might be getting to a level of ridiculousness! I think I have a different board for each different type of dessert at this point. I have seen Jacques Torres’ recipe for chocolate chip cookies many, many times and have heard of the amazingness of his recipe. I have wanted to try the recipe, but never had a good excuse to try it until now!
Before getting to the recipe, here is some information about Jacques Torres and how his famous chocolates and chocolate chip cookies came to be.
About Jacques Torres
Commonly referred to as Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres is the kind of all chocolate confection. Torres was born in France where he started his culinary career and fell in love with all things chocolate. Although he had little previous training experience except for a three year apprenticeship, he was offered a position in 1980 at the Hotel Negresco with Jacques Maximin who is a Michelin two-star chef. This partnership lasted eight years and expanded Torres’ experience vastly and globally. His talents were later recognized in 1986 when he was awarded the M.O.F. medal in Pastry. He is the youngest pastry chef to receive such a high designation.
Pursing the American dream, in 1988, Torres became the Corporate Pastry Chef for the Ritz Carlton in the United States. Just one year later, he was invited by Sirio Maccioni to be the Executive Pastry Chef at New York City’s super famous restaurant, Le Cirque. Torres spent eleven years working at Le Cirque baking for celebrities, presidents, and kings. In that time, he also starred in his own public TV series called “Dessert Circus with Jacques Torres” that produced 52 episodes and hosted another TV series on the Food Network for three years called “Chocolate with Jacques Torres.” He also wrote two cookbooks, Dessert Circus: Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make At Home and Dessert Circus At Home. He later released a third cookbook in 2008, A Year in Chocolate.
Jacques opened his first chocolate factory in Brooklyn, New York naming it, Jacques Torres Chocolate. He was one of the very first artisan chocolatiers to make his very own chocolate from cocoa beans. Jacques’ chocolate quickly became a success across the country. Torres attributes his success to only using premium ingredients that are free of preservatives and artificial flavors to make his hand-crafted chocolates.
His first factory was so successful that he was able to open a second chocolate factory in downtown NYC that became his flagship store. Demand for his chocolate quickly grew faster than his supply. In total, Jacques has opened eight retails stores and two ice cream shops across Manhattan. Again, filled with success and constant demand, Torres moved his chocolate production to a 40,000 square foot chocolate manufacturing plant in Brooklyn in 2013. Most recently, Torres opened “Choco-Story New York, Chocolate Museum and Experience with Jacques Torres,” located at his flagship store, being the first ever chocolate museum!
Torres has received many awards over the years for his success and fame. Most notably, he received The James Beard Pastry Chef of the Year Award in 1994. In 2003, he was inducted into The James Beard Who’s Who of American Food & Beverage Award. Then in 2016, he was awarded the highest of honors in France receiving the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur and was inducted in the Chocolate Hall of Fame by Dessert Professional Magazine.
Jacques Torres’ chocolate chip cookies call for cake flour and bread flour instead of the typical all-purpose flour that we see in most chocolate chip cookie recipes. Jacques’ cookies are refrigerated for at least 24 hours, which allows time for the gluten in the flours to be broken down and loosened up to produce a cookie that is crispy, chewy, and tender without being hard and too crunchy. I use King Arthur’s flours in all of my recipes because I really love the quality of their products and think they produce a better quality cookie. You can find King Arthur in most grocery stores now, but definitely at Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods. I prefer buying my ingredients online. Here are links to Amazon for the cake flour and bread flour.
Also instead of using semisweet chocolate chips, this recipe calls for bittersweet (at least 60%) chocolate disks. These are flat like disks unlike the characteristic chip shape. The nice thing about discs is they can be arranged so you don’t get lumpy bumpy cookies from the chips, but nice smooth cookie surfaces. I like to use Guittard Chocolates for my baking. I think Guittard chocolates give a really nice, rich chocolate flavor that is very pure and actually tastes like chocolate is supposed to taste. Here is a link for Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate Disks that I like to use.
A final difference that makes Jacques Torres’ cookies unique is his use of sea salt sprinkling on the top. I’m a big believer in utilizing salt in baking. There is nothing sadder than biting into a delicious looking chocolate chip cookie that is overly sweet and not balanced with some salt. I actually have a post in The Basics section of my blog about the Importance of Salt In Baking and why it is so necessary for all baked goods. All delicious baked goods needs the right amount of salt!
2 cups minus 2 tbsp cake flour
1 2/3 cup bread flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/4 cup (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 1/4 lb. bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
Sea salt for sprinkling on top
Sift together cake and bread flour, baking soda and powder, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
Using paddle attachment on stand mixer, cream together softened butter and sugar. Beat for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add each egg, one at a time until evenly incorporated. Mix in vanilla bean paste.
Gradually incorporate dry ingredients into the wet. Do not overmix.
Remove bowl from stand mixer. Fold chocolate disks by hand with a spatula to prevent the discs from breaking until evenly spread throughout the dough.
Cover dough with plastic wrap in bowl making sure it is completely covered. Refrigerate dough for at least 24 hours, or as long as 72 hour.
When ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge and allow the dough to return to room temperature, usually 1-2 hours on the counter. Using a digital scale, weigh 3 1/2 ounces of dough each and place onto parchment lined baking sheets. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Turn any chocolate disc that are poking up horizontally or flat with the dough to create a more attractive cookie.
Sprinkle cookie dough lightly with sea salt. Bake for 18-20 for cookies.
Remove the cookies when they are lightly golden brown, do not overbake. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. These cookies are best served warm, but can be enjoyed at temperature! This recipe makes ~18 large cookies.
Notes: Do not skip the refrigeration step! Refrigeration allows the gluten in the dough to loosen and prevents the cookies from coming out hard as a rock. Chilling also keeps the dough from spreading while baking. If you look at the instructions on the original recipe, it doesn’t say to allow the cookie dough to return to room temp before scooping onto the cookie sheets. I found that the cookie dough was simply too hard to scoop out when I tried it directly out of the refrigerator. Allowing the dough to return to room temperature made for easy scooping and didn’t affect the spreading of the dough while baking at all.
Another way of refrigerating the dough without having to allow the dough to return to room temperature is by first scooping the dough onto the cookie sheet prior to putting it in the fridge. Put the dough that is already placed on your cookie sheets in the fridge so you can skip the room temperature step and go start from the fridge to the oven. It will still be important to place plastic wrap on the formed dough balls to prevent the other smells from the fridge from infiltrating into the dough so make sure not to skip that step.
These cookies can be left on the counter for several days in a sealed container. They can also be refrigerated for several weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
Overall, I really enjoyed Jacques Torres cookies! They truly are a unique chocolate chip cookie that is very different than other chocolate chip cookies I have had. These cookies have a nice crispy outside with a soft center and so tender! The refrigeration really does make a huge difference. Using the bittersweet chocolate gives a deeper, richer chocolate taste to the cookies that really enhances the taste of the dough. I am not a huge fan of bittersweet chocolate (my personal favorite is semisweet), but I really enjoyed how the sweetness of the dough contrasted with the slight bitterness of the chocolate. This combination produced a very balanced flavor profile for this chocolate chip cookie that wasn’t overly sweet or overly chocolate-y.
I am also a huge fan of the extra use of salt in this recipe. In the actual dough, Torres calls for 1 1/2 tsp of coarse salt, which is the exact amount this dough needs to balance the sweetness while bringing out all the other flavors in the cookie. The extra sprinkle of salt on top is like the icing on the cake! It gives that extra salty note, which is just so yummy.
Finally, I made these cookies twice because I wanted to test different refrigeration times. On the first batch, I removed the dough from the fridge at 72 hours and on the second batch, I removed it at 36 hours. If I had to choose, I liked the cookies most at the 36 hours mark, but found that there was not that much of a difference in taste and texture with the two different removal times. The refrigeration is so important because that time in the fridge gives the gluten in the flours time to break down to produce a tender not hard cookie. So basically, as long as the dough has enough time to rest in the refrigerator, it’s going to do the trick to give you the right texture.
I hope you enjoyed the fourth chocolate chip cookie in our Chocolate Chip Cookie Series! What did you think of the famous Jacques Torres’ cookies? Did you like using the disks? And did you think the bittersweet chocolate was the right choice or would you go with semisweet next time? Let me know your thoughts and comments! Finally, in addition to his fabulous cookies, Jacques is also known for his very delicious and unique hot chocolate. It has a strong, unique chocolate flavor that is rich, thick, and creamy. If you liked using the bittersweet chocolate, I highly recommend giving his hot chocolate a try as well! Check back next week to see the next chocolate chip cookie recipe I try. If you haven’t checked out the first three chocolate chip cookies in the series, click on the links below for each recipe. Happy Baking!