These thousand-layer chocolate chip cookies are made from just about the same ingredients as their compatriots. The difference, though, (and it’s a significant one) is portions of dough are stacked on top of each other to create layers of flavor and texture. The tops are then sprinkled with fleur de sel. The resulting treats are flat, crispy, and chewy.
Imagine the countertop of your favorite bakery piled high with generous stacks of crunchy cookies marbled with sheets of chocolate. Now imagine that in your very own kitchen. These beauties are worth the extra effort you put into them. The layered chocolate provides unparalleled texture, flavor, and a bakery-style finish that will make you very proud to call these your chocolate chip cookies.–Renee Schettler
Thousand-Layer Chocolate Chip Cookie
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (stashed in the freezer for ease of chopping)
- 1 large egg lightly beaten, for brushing (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set it aside and forget about it for a moment.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, 2 at a time, followed by the vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined. Stop and scrape down the bowl to make sure all the butter is evenly incorporated, then give the dough a final stir.
- Divide the dough into 3 portions. Place each portion on a large piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and pat it into a 4-by-6-inch rectangle. Wrap and refrigerate until chilled through, about 30 minutes. (This helps to set the butter and to make the dough easier to work with. Chilling the cookie dough also helps the cookies retain their shape during baking. Now you know the secret of many a bakery!)
- Meanwhile, chop the chocolate into thin shards using a serrated knife.
- Unwrap 1 portion of chilled dough and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle half the chocolate evenly over the dough and top with another unwrapped portion of dough. Repeat with the remaining chocolate and dough to create a sort of towering triple stack of dough and chocolate. If any chocolate spills out the side of the slabs of dough, just poke the chunks back in place. Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly and evenly with flour and gently roll it with a rolling pin into a 9-by-6-inch rectangle about 1 1/2 inches thick, again tucking any wayward chocolate chunks back into place.
- Using a 2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter or a thin-rimmed glass, cut out 10 rounds of dough. Gently gather the scraps together, pat them lightly, and cut out as many cookies as you can.
- Divide the cookies between the 2 prepared baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. If desired, brush the top of each cookie with the beaten egg. Sprinkle each cookie with a few grains fleur de sel using a very light hand.
- Bake until the cookies are set, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet, about 3 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely or just slide the parchment paper and the cookies directly onto the cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
*What is fleur de sel?Traditionally (but not exclusively) from the French coast of Brittany, fleur de sel is collected from the salt that rises to the surface of shallow pools of seawater. It's expensive, yes. Because it's harvested by hand skimming and only forms under very specific weather conditions, it's unlike most other salts available. You can, however, find flake salts from other parts of the world that will be similar. The appearance and flavor of fleur de sel (and the price) means that it's mostly used as a garnish or finishing salt for recipes like these cookies. A little goes a long way.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is not your traditional chocolate chip cookie. This is a very special cookie. At first, the thought of rolling out chocolate chip cookie dough seemed a bit unnatural. But it rolled out well. When it was time to layer the dough and chocolate shards, it occurred to me there is a lot of chocolate in 9 ounces worth of bars! The chocolate shards spilled out the sides of the rectangle dough towers. So I just picked up the shards and placed them back in between the layers. I obediently glazed the top of each cookie and sprinkled it with salt.
These cookies baked up to a good size, approximately 4 inches in diameter and 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. They are beautiful with the glaze and the flavor is fantastic. They have a great texture—a good crispness on the outside and chewy (but not raw) on the inside. The amount of chocolate is just right for a cookie with great depth of flavor and a good balance between cookie dough and chocolate. The sprinkle of salt was a great addition—don't skip that step!
Perhaps not a thousand layers, but a lot of layers nonetheless. These cookies come together quickly. The only tricky part is rolling the dough and keeping the yummy bits of chocolate from rolling out from between the layers. Also, because the dough is quite thick (about 1 1/2 inches) it’s a little difficult to get the bottom layer to roll to the same size as the other two layers. One has to push down with the rolling pin while being careful not to squash down the top layer.
I opted to skip the egg wash and fleur de del sprinkle. I got perfectly even, thickly layered cookies with bits of chocolate studded throughout. Great taste, great crunch. This recipe does take more time than your average chocolate chip cookies. Chilling the dough combined with cutting out the cookies led to perfectly sized and shaped cookies with great taste and texture. Is it worth the work? Give it a try and be the judge. My tasters thought so.
Even though this recipe takes a bit more work than most chocolate chip cookie recipes, it’s worth the extra effort. I actually enjoy the chewy chocolate chip cookies that my daughter makes better, but these crisp ones are still fantastic and a close second to hers, and I especially loved the bittersweet chocolate in these. My daughter helped me with the rolling and stacking. When we were making them, we wondered how all that chocolate was going to fit between those layers, but it worked out great.
The baking time was right on the mark at 12 minutes for a perfectly done cookie. I ended up with 29 cookies instead of 20, but no problem there, more to eat and share. I used a Silpat with great success. Be sure to leave the suggested 3 inches between cookies when baking as they do spread. I made part of the batch with the salt and egg wash, part with just the salt, and part plain. My daughter and I enjoyed the salted ones best, with or without the egg wash. These are great with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. A recipe we’ll be sure to add to our files.
These are terrific cookies, although they can be a little messy to make. No matter how messy they seem before baking, though, they turn out beautifully. I love them with a bit of salt, and the egg wash makes for a pretty cookie. I love that they’re rolled and cut into circles instead of dropped onto the cookie sheet. The result is round, picture-perfect cookies with generous flecks of chocolate throughout the cookie.
Does the world really need another chocolate chip cookie recipe? While this isn’t the quickest cookie recipe—there’s chopping, rolling, and cutting involved—it certainly ranks right up there among the greats. These cookies are thin and soft and the chocolate shard vs. chip method really allows for every bite to be filled with chocolate. Don’t pass on the fleur de sel at the end. It really gilds the lily. I think that I’d omit the egg wash next time because it didn’t add much to the taste and gave the cookies a funny sheen.
Originally published February 1, 2013