What on earth was I doing eating chocolate chip cookies in Paris? I get to spend such limited time there these days. This familiar city used to be only a short flight or train ride away, accessible for frequent and impromptu weekends of gluttony and carefree fun armed with only an overnight bag, a list of new restaurants and a whim. But now I live a 10 hr flight away and my must-eat lists are long and seldom satisfied. So I’d never have picked these cookies out myself during our Christmas visit, but Mr V returned from a snowy morning pastry run with one and I’ve been craving their salty-chewy-sweetness ever since.
Alas there are no Eric Kayser outposts in Seattle (although he does run BREADBAR in LA), so I’m making these from memory and some notes I took at the time. They taste pretty close to the real thing as I remember it, and this recipe is all about the details. The very finely chopped nuts are critical to create the uniformly chewy bite, and make sure you add all of the salt. Chocolate chips or baking chunks are designed to hold their shape during baking, so I used couverture chocolate wafers (Guittard Brand 61% Cacao) quite intentionally so they would melt into cratered pools of chocolate throughout the cookies. I know chocolate-chip cookies are a very personal thing, so I’ll spare you the superlatives and simple say that this recipe is now my personal favorite.
Maison Eric Kayser has locations all over Paris and runs BREADBAR in LA. Fellow salty-sweet lovers, be sure to check out Kayser’s new book: Mes petits: biscuits sucrés et salés. Unfortunately available in French only, but it’s good practice for those of us who are a little rusty or you can use Google Translate to help you out!
Adapted from Mes petits biscuits: sucrés et salés by Eric Kayser (Available in French only) and David Lebovitz | Makes 12 large or 24 small cookies
4oz (115g) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (110g) dark brown sugar, packed if using cups
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup (180g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/3 cups (200g) coarsely chopped semisweet couverture chocolate wafers
1 cup (100g) finely chopped walnuts or pecans (Kayser uses pecans)
Place butter and both kinds of sugar in medium bowl. Using a mixer or by hand, cream together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into sugar and butter mixture until just combined. Stir in nuts and chocolate until evenly distributed, do not overmix.
Cover mixture and place in fridge to chill overnight (thorough chilling prevents too much spread and allows a more deep flavor to develop).
Preheat oven to 350F. Place spoonfulls onto silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until barely browned.
Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Eat the same day or store in an airtight container until the next (I think they taste better the day after they’re made).