Where There's Smoke, Salt Inspires: Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, and Smoked Sea Salt Cookies

My former boss once told me that his favorite thing about my baking is that I'm not afraid to use a lot of salt. I do in fact make a lot of baked goods where salt is a prominent flavor -- I like salt on my brownies, on my chocolate chip cookies, and in my caramel. And so I had to try Joy Wilson's recipe for Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, and Smoked Sea Salt Cookies.

It's an easy recipe. You cream butter with sugar and light brown sugar; add an egg and vanilla; incorporate the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt); and stir in dark chocolate chips and pistachios. The recipe instructs you to scoop and bake the cookies right away, but I decided to chill the dough for a few hours first. The photo in the cookbook showed wrinkly cookies, and I thought that chilling would help improve both the flavor and texture.

After chilling, I used a #24 scoop to portion out the dough -- getting 19 cookies from a batch -- and sprinkled them with smoked sea salt before baking. I used Maldon smoked salt, which comes in very large flakes -- so I lightly crushed the salt between my fingertips to break it into smaller pieces first. I baked the cookies at 350 degrees for twelve minutes and they came out beautifully fat and round and golden.
These were very good chocolate chip cookies, with nice heft, a chewy texture, and a well-developed caramel-y flavor. I used Ghiradelli bittersweet (60%) chips and whole salted pistachios, so the chocolate and pistachio flavors were prominent. But I was disappointed that the cookies had surprisingly little smoky flavor, even though I had used a generous amount of smoked salt; perhaps I should have used the large flakes of salt without crushing them. Or perhaps I just should have used more salt.

I definitely enjoyed these cookies and would make them again -- but they can't beat my favorite chocolate chip cookie from Jacques Torres.

Recipe: "Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, and Smoked Sea Salt Cookies" from Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson, recipe available here at joythebaker.com (the only difference between the version of the recipe in the cookbook and the version on the website is that the former instructs you to bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees, but the latter specifies 18 minutes at 300 degrees).


Louise said…
I think that all chocolate chip cookie recipes are inferior to the Jacques Torres recipe. But that doesn't stop me from occasionally trying others. After reading your write-up yesterday, I came across this http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/10/a-chocolate-chi/ It uses mesquite flour, which I'm not familiar with, but certainly sounds good. And oats, which are in an old favorite recipe from Frog Commissary. It sounds like something I need to try.
I'm with you on the Jacques Torres recipe -- I have yet to find one that's better, but I still feel compelled to try other chocolate chip cookies from time to time!