2 1/2 dozen cookies
20 minutes, plus chill time prep, 12 minutes cooking, 32 minutes total
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fleur de Sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-size bits

1. Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together and keep close at hand. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy. (Alternatively, you can do this and all subsequent steps by hand working with a sturdy rubber spatula.) Add the brown and granulated sugars, the salt and the vanilla extract and beat for another minute or two. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated - the dough will look crumbly and that's just right. For the best texture, you want to work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

2. Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface, divide it in half and, working with one half at a time, shape the dough into a log that is 1 1/2 inches (4-cm) in diameter. (Cookie-dough logs have a way of ending up with hollow centers, so as you're shaping a log, flatten it once or twice and roll it up from one long side to the other, just to make certain you haven't got an air channel.) Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill them for at least 1 hour. (Wrapped airtight, the logs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)

3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and keep them close at hand.

4. Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice rounds that are 1/2 - inch (1-cm) thick. (Don't be upset when the cookies break, just squeeze the broken-off bit back onto the cookie.) Place the cookies on the parchment-lined sheets leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of spread space between each cookie. Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time and bake each sheet for 12 minutes. The cookies will not look done, nor will they be firm, but that's just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest, on the baking sheet, until they are only just warm or until they reach room temperature—it's your call. Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.

Keeping: The dough can be made ahead and either chilled or frozen. In fact, if you've frozen the dough, you needn't defrost it before baking—just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer. Packed airtight, baked cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 1 month.

An American in Paris: In moments of over-the-topness, I've added chopped toasted pecans, plumped currants and a pinch of cinnamon to the dough and loved it. And, of course, as an American, I've been known to cheat a bit on the chocolate bits. On the sad (but fortunately seldom) occasions when my cupboard is bare of Valhrona Guanaja (Pierre's choice for these cookies and one of my favorite chocolates), I've been known to chop up ready-made chocolate chips, specifically Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Chocolate Chips.

From Paris Sweets: Great Desserts from the City's Best Pastry Shops by Dorie Greenspan (Broadway Books, 2002).