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Do Jacque Torres chocolate chip cookies (nytimes recipe) really live up to their name?

Its raved about everywhere on the internet and I cant help but wonder how they would compare to Thomas Keller Ad Hoc at Home chocolate chip cookies. I probably will compare both recipes but are they really that good? The Jacque Torres ones will be made with Valrhona Guanaja 70% cacao fèves or i might take the subway over to his shop for the chocolate discs he makes for his cookies(72% cacao). The Thomas Keller ones will be a mix of chopped Valrhona Guanaja 70% cacao and chopped Valrhona Le Noir 61% cacao (I know the Keller ones need 55% cacao rather than 61% but there really isn't any high quality chocolate in that percentage that I know of) Im secretly hoping for the Jacque Torres ones to be better as I might find myself splurging on Amedei should Ad Hoc win. I would have splurged on Amedei for both but they dont make fèves or discs and I would like a fair fight between both cookies by using Valrhona. The Keller recipe, though, will be changed to include a light sprinkling of sea salt and have 36 hours refrigeration just like the Torres recipe.

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  1. Try them! But make sure you let the dough age a couple of days in the refrigerator. My search ended for a cc cookie after I tried these so I can't give you a comparison, let us know how they turn out for you.

    1. I'm one of the few who don't think the JT cookies live up to the hype. I've made them both with the Valrhona fèves and with discs I bought in his shop. I thought both the disks and the fèves were too big, as were the cookies themselves. One of my problems with the JT cookie is that it has to be large for it to have the right texture and I just don't care for that big a cookie. I found that people to whom I served them were breaking them in half and sharing them and I don't think a cookie should have to be shared.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JoanN

        According to my understanding the purpose of using discs was to provide layers of chocolate to with each bite of the cookie, so as to satisfy the cravings of a true chocoholic. After all, Jacques Torres is known as Mr. Chocolate.

        You used both the Valrhona feves and the Jacque Torres discs? Can I ask you a question? I understand the Jacques Torres chocolate discs were specifically manufactured as a couverture chocolate that melts beautifully. How do the Valrhona feves compare in terms of melting??? Did you value one over the other?

        1. re: Eric_Cartman

          Your understanding is the same as mine had been before I tried it, but in the baked cookie instead of layers of chocolate, there were just large sections of soft chocolate. Some bites had a lot of chocolate and very little cookie. What can I say? It wasn't what I wanted a CCC to be.

          Valrhona makes fèves from many different blends. I bought mine from Whole Foods and they had clearly been repackaged from a much larger quantity. I think the ones I bought were Guanaja 70%, but I can't swear to it. I just bought what it was that WF carried at the time. My recollection (I made these a couple of years ago and months apart) is that there was no memorable difference in how the two chocolates melted, but I did prefer the flavor of the Torres disks. The Torres disks were also significantly more expensive; at least half again as much.

          I'll be very curious to hear what you decide to do, and what you think of the results.

          1. re: JoanN

            Thanks Joan. It seems you tried to give the cookie another chance and still found the results less than favorable. I might stop by the Jacques Torres shop and check how the actual cookie should taste to get an idea of the results I should expect. Should it not agree with me like in your experience, I might abandon the cookie. Just called them and found out that they use 60% cacao and not 70% cacao in the cookies they sell but still sell discs in both those percentages. The 60% cacao is considerably less expensive than the 70% at Jacque Torres too. :) So I guess I'll be comparing the 60% Jacques Torres to the Valrhona Le Noir 61% cacao fèves.

            Will get back to you on the results.

      2. With some slight modifications, it is absolutely one of the very best chocolate chip cookies I've made, and when people try my JT cookies for the first time they are in agreement. I used ghiradelli disks, and I use a smaller ice cream scoop (2-inch diameter). I probably cook them the same time as specified for the larger cookies. I agree with JoanN that the JT cookies are too big, but using a smaller scoop gives me the kind of cookie I like, which is more crispy throughout rather than a chewy, cakey interior. But those are the only two changes I made and I'll probably not use another recipe again.

        5 Replies
        1. re: janniecooks

          Imho, David Leite's explanation of the recipe makes the best cc cookies I've had. People keep asking me to make them.

          1. re: petitgateau

            I looked for Leite's explanation but all I found on his site was the recipe. A side-by-side comparison of the recipe on Leite's Culinaria with the JT recipe shows no differences. Leite's recipe IS Torres' recipe. Am I missing your point?

          2. re: janniecooks

            Unlike you, I love the idea of a gradation of texture that comes with a larger cookie, one that features nice crisp edges and gives in to a chewy soft interior. Plus, nothing is more annoying than me trying to watch White Collar on tv only for me to miss some of what they're saying just because of all that crunching noise when I eat crispy cookies.

            1. re: janniecooks

              I haven't made the JT cookies yet, but I've bought them on occasion. While I like the idea of the flattened chocolate permeating the cookie in theory, in practice it throughs the cookie out of balance. Especially given that it's a high quality dark chocolate, a whole cookie is just TOO MUCH intense chocolate flavor. I would cut the actual amount of chocolate called for in the recipe in half.

              1. re: sbp

                I'm not sure how the Ghiradelli discs compare to the Valrhona in size, and perhaps they aren't discs at all, but they are definitely larger than chocolate chips. Maybe just big chocolate chips, a little flatter, and I used the same weight as specified in the recipe. I didn't feel that the chocolate was overwhelming, and wouldn't change a thing. But I might feel differently if I had access to better quality chocolate at my local markets!

            2. I LOVED the JT chocolate chip cookie. Such a perfect cookie (especially about 10 min after it comes out of the oven!)

              Now you have me curious to try Thomas Keller's to compare as well! :)

              1. I love the recipe, don't like the large discs/feves in them. I prefer to chop chocolate, various sizes--the small pieces melt into the dough and the larger ones remain for the chocolate-y goodness but still melts. I've tried Valrhona feves (not sure the percentage, whatever WF carried) and eGuittard chocolate chips which were high 72%. My favorite is chopping Trader Joe's big block of bittersweet chocolate. The texture of the cookies can't be beat, imo, as ccc go--crispy on the outside, nice chew on the inside, chocolate melts in your mouth. I think all ccc improve with long refrigeration of the dough. I like Keller's idea of mixing percent chocolate and will try that next time.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chowser

                  I also chop us TJ's bittersweet block when I make these cookies, and I also think they are fabulous. I make them small (probably just a tablespoon of dough and two large chunks of chocolate per cookie), and I still find the texture to be perfect. During a long period in which I could not find my kitchen scale, I measured the ingredients out by hand many, many times. The difference, after I found the scale and weighed the dry ingredients instead, was astonishing. They are great both ways, but in the future I will pack my scale when I intend to make these at someone else's house.

                2. Aren't those the discs that Torres sells on his web site for $59.50 per pound? That would be $75 worth of chocolate to make 36 cookies at about $2 each?

                  Compared to that the Valrhona seems like a bargain at $17.50 per pound or 60 cents per cookie.

                  Of course I would use Callebaut at about $6 per pound but that is just tightwad me.

                  Don't get me wrong. I could see somebody spending that kind of money just to see what all the hullabalu is all about. It's not like the fate of mankind is resting on this decision.

                  Ok, I guess I have talked myself out of trying to talk you out of it. Let us know how they turn out.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                    I know where you're coming from (though I think you read the price incorrectly of the Torres discs--they're $9.00 not $59). The eGuittard disks cost me $12 a lb--I thought that was a lot for a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Valrhona was a splurge (I didn't even look at the price). The Trader Joe's big blocks are Callebaut, repackaged, so much cheaper and make an amazing cookie. I still think chopping your own chocolate make the best cookies, over discs and chocolate chips, although Guittard chocolate chips and Trader Joe's chocolate chips are pretty good. I don't like Ghirardellli or Tollhouse nearly as much. If I were only making ccc once, maybe I'd splurge but I make them all the time. I'm with you on this.

                    1. re: chowser

                      According to Torres, discs are not to be confused with chocolate chips. They work differently as chocolate chips dont melt as well. The discs, being couverture chocolate, melt beautifully. And because they are flat rather than in chunks like chopped chocolate, they create layers of chocolate and cookie in every bite. Chunks do not achieve this:
                      Honestly, I think the discs are what truly differentiates between a regular chocolate chip cookie and a Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie. I love chopping chocolate as much as you but I think this calls for discs or fèves so you can really capture the experience of eating one of his cookies. Chunks just dont melt like that throughout a cookie. btw..just because i support the use of discs, it doesn't mean i support chocolate chips. Im going to take a wild guess that your attitude with chocolate discs and chips are the same as mine towards chocolate chips. You feel that its lazy and makes you feel less like your baking from scratch as you're not as involved through the whole process. I feel that way towards chips. But really...a disc is not to be compared with a chip. And yes you can use chopped chocolate but you wont get that beautiful layer effect of cookie then chocolate then cookie then chocolate then cookie. Honestly, these layers have become somewhat of a trademark for Jacques Torres. And if it doesn't have these long and thin layers, is it really a Jacques Torres cookie? If Jacques Torres chopped chocolate for his cookies instead would they be as famous? He is a chocolatier and im sure he still does his fair share of chopping chocolate. And im sure he has used chopped chocolate initially when developing this recipe. But it seems somewhere in his recipe development process, he realized that discs would achieve a better effect. But then again, you make chocolate chip cookies all the time so you know what you want. :) No recipe is set in stone and one should always adjust according to taste. And it seems you've used discs before and didn't like them as much as chopped chocolate anyways.

                      1. re: Eric_Cartman

                        On the other hand, Eric, those who adjusted the recipe (used chopped chocolate or chips; made the cookies smaller) seem to have more praise for it than someone like me who made the recipe as directed.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Have you tried the actual JT cookies, Joan? I wonder if it's a taste specific thing. This all goes to show there is no one "perfect" chocolate chip cookie.

                          1. re: chowser

                            No, I haven't. I bake cookies; I don't buy them. ;-)

                            But I will be having dinner this Sunday right next door to his Upper West Side shop. Maybe I'll try one. Problem is, it's been so long now since I made them (gone on to other recipes) that I doubt I'd recognize subtle differences of texture. You're right, though, that at least I'd know whether or not I care for the original.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              That's always been my feeling about cookies, too. I can't see buying them when I can make them. But, I'm such a Jacques Torres fan that if I were in NYC, I'd probably give them a try (and then whine about how much I paid for a cookie).

                              1. re: chowser

                                Well, I NEVER buy supermarket cookies, and rarely buy bakery cookies, likey for the same reason as you. I can do much better myself. But JT's are famous, and worth trying to get an idea of what he's trying to accomplish. As I noted in a prior post, my personal opinion is there is too much chocolate in the cookie. A single cookie is chocolate overload (and I love chocolate).

                                1. re: sbp

                                  Your review of the actual cookie is actually along the lines of my feelings of the recipe. The cookie itself is excellent but the discs overwhelm the cookie. I like cookie w/ chocolate in it, not chocolate w/ cookie around it. That's why I prefer chopped chocolate to the large discs. Now I really want to try the real thing!

                        2. re: Eric_Cartman

                          "You feel that its lazy and makes you feel less like your baking from scratch "

                          Trust me, I have no problems taking the lazy option if I think it has just as good results. :-) I think it's a personal thing but I don't like big pieces of chocolate in my ccc, which might be why I don't like the discs. Granted, I've never had the original JT cookies and might love them more but I have made them w/ the discs and thought the chocolate to cookie ratio was too high. When I chop the chocolate, I can control over the ratio, plus the chocolate also melts. I'd guess that if I were to chop the discs, that might give me my optimal results but I also believe in cost efficiency. I think JT's ccc recipe is excellent in the combination of the flours, plus the overnight rest, not because of the discs. I agree that changing the discs to chopped chocolate might not make them JT's cookies but in reality, he's a master and even if I were to follow the recipe exactly as he does, I would probably not get the same results. That said, I've never had a chocolate chip cookie I like better than that recipe w/ chopped chocolate (in addition, I don't use brown sugar--I use a combination of white sugar and molasses so I can control that better, too). I think one key to a good recipe/baker is that you can make the changes to get the results you want.

                          I do think there's a difference in discs and chocolate chips in that chocolate chips don't give you the same melt factor. Guittard and TJ's come closer but still not the same.

                      2. re: Hank Hanover

                        The JT are a wonderful bargain and you have the price wrong. I think they are 2 lbs for $14 and I try to buy some whenever I am in NYC.

                        1. re: joelaine

                          I made these cookies soon after the recipe was published in the NYTimes in 2008 and I know I paid a helluva lot more than $14 for 2 pounds of chocolate feves. In fact, I tried the cookies a few months apart with both Torres and Valrhona feves. At the time, I paid about $16/lb for the Valrhona, and the Torres were even more. I wonder if he's changed the product somewhat since he now calls them "pistoles" instead of "feves," which is what he called them back then, and they are now 60%. I could be remembering incorrectly, but when I bought them I think there was only one percentage available and it was at least 70%.

                      3. It's been about 2 years since my first attempt but I did them both [on the same day] and used my cookie freak son to be the taste tester.
                        Of course then I had to add my 2¢.
                        They didn't even look alike.
                        They weren't the same consistency.
                        Holding them side by side on a plain white plate, one looked like a chocolate chip cookie on steroids while the other looked one a chocolate chip cookie that we'd all seen and made.

                        I will say and I've said it before, if you don't follow the recipe verbatim with the Jacques Torres cookie, it won't be its best AT ALL.
                        Also as I recall, the JT cookies require more ingredients that aren't typical but the TK ones are normal ingredients for chocolate chip cookies.
                        I'll make the JT ones today. Since I have all needed for the recipe, then I'll take them to my Dr. apt and let them have their daily treats instead of me. < Because, they are irresistible.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: iL Divo

                          Awww...thats really sweet. <3333 My judges are actually a bunch of doctors and nurses aka my moms coworkers. Sending them off with my mom when she goes to work the night-shift at the hospital. Nice to see you made both of them. I assume you like the Jacques Torres one more.

                          1. re: Eric_Cartman

                            I am craving another batch of these but I am having trouble finding the right feves. The Valrhona Araguani that I want are sold out everywhere.

                            1. re: Becca Porter

                              Try using Belcolade chocolate discs. Jacques uses these in his cookies. The discs he sells in his shop are just Belcolade repackaged.

                              1. re: Eric_Cartman

                                Good to know! KA sells them, I believe... Thanks.

                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                  I ordered two precious packs of the Belcolade discs from the Baker's Catalog. I always cut back the chocolate to 1 lb because I hate breaking into another bag. The are so layered with chocolate I can't imagine more either. The Belcolade choc is soooo dark and perfect.

                                  The cookies texture is unlike any other I've had. I had forgotten how absolutely amazing these cookies are! Fleur de Sel on top of course. (Oh and I baked half of them at 24 hours, I can't wait to taste the 48 or 72.)

                                  1. re: Becca Porter

                                    I've baked a batch at 24 hours and then kept the rest in the refrigerator--pop them in the panini press or waffle maker for instant cookies in 2-3 mins. So good!

                            2. re: Eric_Cartman

                              I assume you like the Jacques Torres one more.

                              by far

                              1. re: Eric_Cartman

                                went to Dr. today but didn't do the cookies that I'll do next Thursday instead [next apt.].
                                needed to get mucho out of the kitchen and to GoodWillingness before I chickened out.
                                I took 4 ultra bags yesterday while it snowed [yikes] and 4 more gigundo bags today.
                                But filling them all took a bunch of time so no time to bake.
                                at Dr. though today they returned my container that last weeks cookies were in saying "he ate them all and didn't even give any to us." meaning his staff. guess those chocolate gingers were a hit.
                                they're gonna hit slick ice and slide when they taste the Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookies. must remember the night before to put the dough in the frig as I remember something about that in his recipe.

                              2. re: iL Divo

                                " if you don't follow the recipe verbatim with the Jacques Torres cookie, it won't be its best AT ALL."

                                So there's no accounting for personal preference? I've done both and prefer chopped chocolate. "Best" is in the eye of the beholder and hence, so many different types of ccc.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Let me add more heresy to my chopping my own chocolate and mixing my own brown sugar by adjusting molasses and say that my favorite way to make these cookies is to add another tablespoon of flour, substitute heath bits of brickle for some of the chocolate. I think THAT is the best.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    very true chows...........
                                    you find fill in the blank, beautiful, I find another person beautiful.
                                    you like Scott Conant's recipe for tomato sauce, I prefer xyz's.
                                    it's all in taste, you're right.

                                2. So if these discs are couverture chocolate which, by definition, is 32 - 39% cocoa butter, they must melt rapidly. I assume the big draw on them is that they mostly melt into the dough but some is left providing some bite.

                                  If you really wanted it evenly distributed you cou could finely chop half of the chocolate and leave the other half as discs. That would pretty much guarantee chocolate everywhere but then it would be a chocolate chocolate chip cookie.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                    My bad, Jannie, somehow the recipe made more sense to me when I saw it on Leites site, especially directions to make sure of the size of the dough balls. I made smaller ones the first time and did not think that they were special. About the disks, Hank, they do not melt into the dough, but rather hold their shape and what I have found is that there is a layering effect (kind of like limestone) where you have cookie and chocolate layered beautifully. I use Maldon sea salt (tried something else the first time which also did not taste as good).

                                    1. re: petitgateau

                                      If you chop the chocolate, some of the smaller slivers do melt and become imperceptible, except for taste, which I like but not enough to make it a chocolate cookie. Actually, it kind of reminds me of the old myth Mrs. Field's cookies where you grate chocolate into the dough. You can barely tell it's there but just enough to taste it's different.

                                  2. truth about this batch, I'm underwhelmed.
                                    not going to do the fridge thing next time, I don't
                                    like cutting from a log. < much prefer the ice cream
                                    scoop approach.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      I've never done a log w/ these. I scoop from the batch.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        I used a Momofuku approach and actually scooped them all before I refrigerated them. Way easier.

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          there may be a possibility that the first time I made this recipe, it was a different link and written just a bit differently. I'll be going to work tomorrow and want to take my coworkers some kind of treat but don't want to have this be less than perfect. I'll look around and see if there a few ways to make this cookie. I watched JT make them on the Chew and he didn't even make them like I remembered making them the very first time ;:+/

                                      2. I made these cookies recently, and they are great! I used Belcolade discs from KAF, which are very big and chocolatey (62% according to KAF, though they seemed darker to me). I used a pound, instead of the pound and a quarter called for in the recipe, b/c that's what I had--and these were so big I can't imagine fitting more in. In any case, yes, these cookies are totally worth the hype. I made more normal-sized cookies and got about 4 dozen, instead of the 16 listed in the recipe.

                                        And just as a side note, I decided later to order both the 60% and 70% discs from JT's site, just to see which I liked better. I ordered before noon, and my shipment arrived the next day (and that was with the $3.50 shipping option.) :)