Rise and shine to the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. My Saturday morning and afternoon was spent rolling out batch after batch of melt-in-your-mouth decadence. A short stack of chocolate chip cookies!
I dedicate this post to a couple who really helped out a clueless freshman back in my days at Parsons. They kept me company, helped me set up Time Warner internet in my new place and took me around whenever our cousins came by to visit. To top it all off, as fine food lovers, they were the ones who introduced me to New York’s finest restaurants, cafes and chocolatiers. They gave my tongue a culinary tour through Patsy’s pizzeria to Zoe in Soho for french toast, to foie gras in the Lower East Side to Zaiya for lunch at Bryant Park for a few bucks which became a Tuesday ritual with my other friends. We discovered Balthazar’s banana tart together one afternoon wandering and ended up getting two for tea because it was just that good. I don’t think I really understood great food until they took me on it and in essence they taught me how to eat. And this couple not only shares a love of food but a love and fondness for one another. And it is to my delight that that couple, after six years of dating, is getting married this weekend (finally!) here in Hong Kong and I am to be their photographer this Sunday. Presenting the couple to be when they took me out for pizza at Isola last week!
A couple of wedding photos from today!
One particular place they introduced to me to which became a perennial favourite, was Jacques Torres. They have several stores but the one I go to is on 350 Hudson Street. It’s a bit in the middle of nowhere but I’d go there to buy chocolate souvenirs whenever I made a trip to Toronto. I’ll do a post on that in the future but all the photos of the place are on my external after my move to a Macbook Pro (thanks dion for your help!). My recommendations? CHAMPAGNE TRUFFLES. They’re about two bucks a piece but seriously one of the best truffles I’ve ever had. Jackson purchased my parents a small box and we could not stop popping them into our mouths. As my mom said, it’s hard to go back to normal chocolate after you’ve experienced New York boutique chocolate.
Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies
I stumbled upon this recipe surfing on the internet and thought it would be a lovely surprise to give to my cousin, Michelle, as a present since she’s mentioned how much she’s missed Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookies. Alas by coincidence, she too found the recipe the same week as I did so it wasn’t much of a surprise. They’re not the grandma, cutesy, Girl Scout kind. They’re unapologetically rich and sophisticated- requiring one to eat with a large napkin because with every touch, chocolate fingerprints are left everywhere. At the store they have the cookies on a hot plate so for a few dollars you can devour one perched on a stool in front of their hot chocolate bar.
What sets this cookie apart are the ingredients. This diva cookie requires 72% dark chocolate, preferably from Varlhona (that set me back about $120 HKD for the required amount) and the sinful amounts of butter that is whipped into clouds to make them irresistibly melt-in-your-mouth. The lovely addition to this recipe is a sprinkling of sea salt to the top of each cookie prior to being whisked into the oven for the salt contrasts with the sweetness of the chocolate. For my cookies I used 72% Varlhona feves (chocolate disks), organic butter from the US and sea salt from Okinawa, Japan. Classy!
The end product is more like a chocolate swirl than it is a chocolate chip. Here are a few tips I can offer after I completed several batches:
1. Depending on your oven, I baked them for about 15 minutes rather than 20.
2. Bake less for each batch. The cookie dough balls melt and spread out as soon as they reach the oven which is why they are so round and flat
3. You don’t need to purchase chocolate chips that are round and small. Mine look like oversized cacao beans. Don’t worry, they melt and blend in with the dough once in the oven so it’s actually better when you go bigger.
4. The recipe says it makes about one and a half dozen. I got 28 cookies.
5. ALWAYS EAT THEM WARM.
6. Have a lot of napkins ready. I was constantly washing my hands every time I touched them.
7. Buy the best chocolate you can afford. It makes a difference.
8. Serve with ice cream.
I just came back from the wedding and I got my cousin and her husband’s seal of approval! We stuck several of them in the toaster oven and they said they taste exactly like the ones from Jacques Torres and better than any other cookie sold in Hong Kong. Success!
Above, packaged cookies with handwritten note on a lace doily.
I took a ridiculous amount of pictures for this post. Not a surprise of course, to up the anti, the couple generously bought me a lens of my choice as a graduation present and ‘compensation’ and thanks to another cousin (Edwin!) who recommended me to get the Sigma 10-20mm F3.5…. which is why you now see some awesome Alice in Wonderland distortion!
** One picture ain’t showing up on my laptop right now- hopefully WordPress will fix itself. My internet keeps crashing on me -_-