The Great Chocolate Truffle Cookie Mystery

Cookie Stack

Cookie Stack

I am a detective….a cookie detective.  And, I have only one case to solve—replicating a one-of a kind cookie from one of my favorite places, the Northstar Café in Columbus, Ohio.  Several years ago I fell in love with their Chocolate Truffle Cookie.  This cookie is not for sissies.  It is a serious dose of deep, dark, rich chocolate.  And it is HUGE!!  I buy one or five every time I am at the Northstar.  I have asked the food section of our hometown newspaper for the official recipe, no luck.  I have been scouring the internet for a recipe that may come close to my beloved cookie, and have chased down false lead after false lead.  As each potential suspect is ID’d, I investigate only to be disappointed.

An actual Chocolate Truffle Cookie from Northstar Cafe, the object of my affection!

An actual Chocolate Truffle Cookie from Northstar Cafe, the object of my affection!

I have asked all the bakers in my life to help me to solve this mystery by finding or creating a substitute Chocolate Truffle Cookie recipe, and to no avail.  Some of the contenders have been too pillowy, some too crunchy, others not enough chocolate.  Although, I did find one that is close, a Triple Chocolate Cookie recipe at Bon Appetit.  It is delicious and easy to make, but it’s not exactly the cookie I have been searching.

Triple Chocolate Cookies & NY Times Best Cookie (Jacques Torres)

Triple Chocolate Cookies & NY Times Best Cookie (Jacques Torres)

In my search to find my elusive Chocolate Truffle Cookie recipe, I discovered a chocolate chip cookie that is touted as the NY Times’ Best Cookie.  It is nothing like the cookie of my dreams, but this cookie has its own internet following.  Originally developed by culinary legend Jacques Torres, it has been covered far and wide for its unique “waiting period.”  The interesting twist about these chocolate chip cookies is that they bake up tastier and more perfect if the dough is prepared at least 48 hours in advance.  I know, like the cookie dough would last 48 hours in my refrigerator!  But I tried it– I mean how can I pass up the NY Times BEST cookie?  I have to say the 48 hour “aged” cookie dough did yield excellent cookies.

This cookie detective work has been delicious…er…rough.  So many cookies, so little time.

My family helps out with the cookie mystery

My family helps out with the cookie mystery

I do accept anonymous tips about the Northstar Café’s Chocolate Truffle Cookie, so if you want to get anything off your chest, like a recipe for the ultimate chocolate cookie, message me.  I promise not to tell.  If you’d like to try the recipes I discussed above, here they are.  If you bake either of these up, make sure you come back here and let me know how you liked them.  Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Cookie

Triple Chocolate Cookie

Bon Appetit’s Triple Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients

10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

½ cup plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

3 large eggs

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
  2. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Stir chopped chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth; remove from over water. Cool melted chocolate 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.
  5. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in another medium bowl until crumbly.
  6. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until mixture is light, pale, and creamy, about      5 minutes.
  7. Add lukewarm melted chocolate and vanilla and beat just until blended.
  8. Fold in dry ingredients, then chocolate chips.
  9. Drop chocolate cookie batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
  10. Bake cookies, 1 baking sheet at a time, until tops are evenly cracked but cookies are not yet firm to touch, about 16 minutes.
  11. Cool cookies completely on baking sheets.

Found at http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2005/07/triple_chocolate_cookies

Cookies & Milk

Cookies & Milk

Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Jacques Torres via the New York Times

(edited)

Ingredients

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (60% Cacao) or equivalent bar chocolate, chopped

Sea salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.
  5. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them.
  6. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
  9. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie.
  10. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (optional) and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.
  11. Allow cookies to set up for a several minutes on the baking pan before moving them to wire rack to cool.
  12. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Original Recipe found at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html?_r=1&ref=dining

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7 thoughts on “The Great Chocolate Truffle Cookie Mystery

  1. I have been searching all day for a similar recipe to make for some friends. I haven’t tried either of these yet but I came across these two sites that had promising pictures and descriptions. I think I’m going to give the first one a spin this morning, but I figured I would share these with you anyway.

    http://www.lovefromtheoven.com/2011/02/15/double-chocolate-chip-cookies-inspired-by-levain-bakery/

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chocolate-Truffle-Cookies/Detail.aspx

    I’ll have word back later as to whether they hold up to Northstar! 🙂

  2. I was so excited when I Googled “Chocolate Cookies Northstar Cafe” and a page actually came up! I thought that, at last, I was going to find “The Recipe” only to be disappointed to find that I am on the same quest as you…. searching and searching for that perfect chocolate cookie that I can only get at Northstar. I am off to the kitchen to try a batch (of what recipe, I don’t know) and will let you know if I come anywhere close to the Northstar one.

  3. Like the last commenter, I was so excited to get a hit on Pinterest when I searched for the Northstar Cafe’s chocolate cookies. What a bummer that no one has hit on the real recipe yet. This recipe from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food is pretty close, I think: http://www.marthastewart.com/336847/brownie-cookies
    I have made this recipe twice, each time adding in half a bag of chocolate chips (not melted, just added in like you would to chocolate chip cookies). That definitely helps. These cookies have the crinkly, brownie-like surface like Northstar’s, but I’ve not tried making them as large as the Northstar cookies. So with the addition of the chocolate chips, it’s a little closer, but there’s still something lacking–I think the thickness, since I’ve just made these regular cookie size. I don’t know, but I’m glad there’s someone else out there trying to figure out the secret recipe!

  4. Here’s another idea. I just tried this recipe: http://chocolatechocolateandmore.com/dark-chocolate-truffle-cookies/ and it’s from some famous bakery called Dahlia Bakery. It’s the closest I’ve come to approximating Northstar’s cookie. I wonder if they just used this recipe and make them large. I’ve only tried it once, but after a couple of tries and after some tweaks I might get it pretty close! Have you had any discoveries since your post?

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