Chocolatier Jacques Torres has been famous for his chocolate creations loooong before his turn as a judge on the hit Netflix show Nailed It!. The French chef produces some of the most sought-after gourmet chocolates in the world, so we had to know his version of an American classic: the chocolate chip cookie.

When we interviewed him at one of his New York chocolate shops, he told us he had quite the story behind this recipe. “I tried to make French pastries — things that are a bit more complicated — but when I talked to my customers, the word ‘cookies’ came back a lot. But I’m French. I didn’t grow up with [American-style] cookies. I grew up with shortbread.”

That didn’t stop him from investigating how he could deliver for his customers. “I didn’t know how to make chocolate chip cookies, so I went to a grocery store not too far from here and I bought the Toll House Morsels. I opened the bag — and put all the chocolate in the garbage. It’s a true story!” What he wanted, after all, wasn’t the chocolate: it was the classic recipe for chocolate chip cookies on the back. “I took that recipe and translated it into grams and rebalanced it the way I think the recipe should be. Of course, I [used] the chocolate I use for bonbons [because] it has more cocoa butter,” he added.

The success of his cookies escalated quickly. “We arrived at a point where we could not scoop the cookies fast enough, so we bought a machine that cuts the dough. It now extrudes 80 cookies a minute. We sell thousands every week!” You can buy the world-famous chocolate chip cookies on his website for $19 (for six cookies) OR you can whip up a homemade batch with the recipe provided. Just don’t forget his tips for what makes his cookies extra-special. Torres says, “Baking is simple. What’s not simple is to find the best ingredients possible.” Luckily, he shared many *key* ingredients below.

1. Use a Better Butter: Find a butter that has more fat than others. Plugrá is Torres’ go-to and what gets used in his shop. It’s a French-style butter that’s made in America, so it’s much cheaper than the imported kind, and its rich flavor really shines in the cookie.

2. Get a Good Flour:King Arthur Flour is what Torres swears by.

3. Age the Dough: “We let the dough age for 24 hours so the flavor becomes stronger,” Torres tells us. The New York Times explains that this technique of letting the dough rest allows the liquids to fully absorb into the flour, resulting in a cookie with more even caramelization plus richer molasses-y notes.

4. Invest in the Chocolate: Torres is skeptical of chocolates that don’t melt — like chips, for instance. His advice? Find a high-quality chocolate with lots of cocoa butter, so that the chocolate melts and oozes as it bakes. For this recipe, Torres recommends his baking disks, which are sold online. If you’re in a pinch, Valrhona fèves, or oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at available at Whole Foods. That’s what we used for this recipe. Torres also says that what makes his cookie so good is that “there’s more chocolate than dough,” so remember: Pour those disks in liberally!

5. Salt It: Though it’s optional in the recipe, we’re all about going hard on the salty sprinkle on top. It helps accentuate the flavors and balance the sweetness.

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Makes 18 5-inch cookies)

Cook Time: 45 minutes, plus at least 24 hours of chilling

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 ½ 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
  • 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao
  • 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. Stir in the vanilla.

4. 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°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

8. Scoop 6 (3 1/2-ounce) mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn any chocolate pieces that are poking up back horizontally; it will make for a more attractive cookie.

9. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (optional).

10. Bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.

11. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more.

12. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

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(Recipe via Jacques Torres; photos via Brittany Griffin/Brit + Co)