Dear SOS: On a recent trip to London, I was quite taken with the chocolate chip cookies I ate at Gail's restaurant and bakery [341 Fulham Road in Chelsea]. I would be very greatful if you could obtain the recipe.
Dear Jonathon: Crunchy around the edges but oh-so ooey-gooey tender in the center – and with no shortage of chocolate to boot – these are a chocolate chip cookie lover's dream come true. The recipe makes enough for a dozen generously sized cookies, but I'd recommend doubling it. Trust me on this one.
Gail's Artisan Bakery chocolate chip cookies
1 hour, plus chilling time for the dough. Makes 1 dozen cookies
2 3/4 cups (11.5 ounces, or 325 grams) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2½ tablespoons (9.2 ounces, or 260 grams) butter
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces, or 170 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (4.4 ounces, or 125 grams) light muscovado sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean
11 ounces (300 grams) coarsely chopped chocolate, preferably Valrhona caraibe 66%
1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Whisk in the salt.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in another large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 mintues. Beat in the powdered and muscovado sugars. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
3. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and beat in with the butter mix. Add the dry ingredients and slowly beat until a soft dough forms. Stir in the chocolate, careful not to overmix.
4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to scoop, at least 20 minutes, up to a day in advance (the cookies can also be divided and frozen on sheets before baking). Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. Shape the dough into 12 balls. Place the balls, 6 to a sheet, on parchment-lined baking sheets, flattening them slightly. Bake the trays, one at a time, until the cookies are set on the outside but still soft in the center (the cookies may look a bit underdone, but they will set up as they sit), 15 to 20 minutes. Rotate the cookies halfway through baking. Cool the cookies on the tray for 10 minutes, then carefully remove to a rack to cool completely.