When Edouard Bobin, the co-owner of one of the sweetest small bistros in Paris, Le Pantruche, said he would give me the recipe for his favorite hazelnut cookie, I knew the minute I read the one-word title, Cookies, that chocolate chips would be involved. See the word “cookies” (or the words “les cookies“) in France, as you do nowadays in glossy magazines, modern bakeshops, and trendy cafés, and it’s a pretty risk-free bet that the sweet will turn out to be a chipper. If there are nuts, they may be hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, or macadamias; there may even be a few M&M’s-type candies pressed into the dough; and the chocolate can be any kind; but the basic cookie is always a play on the American chocolate chip.
And so it was with Edouard’s cookies. In fact, as I looked at the recipe, I thought it was the standard back-of-the-bag recipe. It had the American mix of baking powder and baking soda (the French mostly use packets with the two leavening agents already combined), the same amount of chocolate chips as you get in a U.S. bag and the same number of eggs as in the classic American recipe. I’d hoped for something new, and I didn’t think this was going to be it.
But I hadn’t noticed a couple of important differences: Edouard called for almost half as much flour (by weight) as our classic recipe, and the nuts were ground not chopped, acting like even more flour. The cookies were chubby and chewy and just a little soft at the center—altogether great. If this is what the French think of as American cookies, we Americans can be proud.
Text excerpted from Baking Chez Moi, © 2014 by Dorie Greenspan. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.