Thomas Keller on Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo excerpted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012. Photographs by Deborah Jones.

No matter who you are, homemade chocolate chip cookies are the great equalizer. We spoke with chef Thomas Keller, arguably one of the most acclaimed and accomplished chefs in the world, to get his favorite recipe and find out what separates a good cookie from a great one. Because let’s be honest, we all know there’s no such thing as bad chocolate chip cookie.

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Photo excerpted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012. Photographs by Deborah Jones.

What is the secret to a great chocolate chip cookie?

Thomas Keller: Superior chocolate makes a chocolate chip cookie great. Buy the best quality ingredients you can afford – that is the first step to achieving your best cookie possible. 

What chocolate is best?

TK: At Bouchon Bakery, we use Guittard Chocolate Company’s 72% morsels and chunks for our Chocolate Chunk and Chip Cookie because it fits our style and achieves the flavor profile we want, all from a local purveyor. Their 72% has a high cacao content, so it’s more acidic and really showcases the flavor of the cacao amongst the rest of the ingredients. 

What flour do you prefer when baking cookies?

TK: We use Harvest King All-Purpose Flour at Bouchon Bakery because their product is consistent all year long at each of our locations—Yountville, Las Vegas, New York, and Beverly Hills. This is important because the climate in each of these markets is different, and humidity can affect the performance of your dry ingredients. For anyone with a gluten allergy, Cup4Cup gluten-free flour is a great substitute for all-purpose flour. 

What’s your trick for getting gooier or crispier cookies?

TK: You can play with the ratio of brown sugar. For a chewy cookie you want more molasses, which you get from a higher ratio of brown sugar. Crispier cookies are obtained with a lower ratio of brown sugar.

Chocolate chip cookies are best eaten ________________.

TK: 10-15 minutes out of the oven!

My favorite chocolate chip cookie from childhood was __________________.

TK: Classic Toll House.

Crunchy or gooey?

TK: I prefer a crunchy exterior with a soft and chewy center, just like we make them at our bakery.

Bite-sized or oversized?

TK: Oversized. One bite is not enough!

Favorite store-bought chocolate chip cookie?

TK: I don’t buy them. 

Best drink with a chocolate chip cookie?

TK: A glass of ice-cold milk.

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