Operation: Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, in my study on Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder I promised you a post on the beloved chocolate chip cookie. Here it is, folks, five batches later. I can’t say I covered all the bases, but I got pretty close to covering all the counters.
That was good enough for me! I’ve seen enough chocolate chip cookies to last me a while.
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For experimentation purposes, I started off using the Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips and baked the first three batches for nine minutes on 375 degrees.
Batch #1:
I was super curious as to what would happen if I omitted Baking Soda from the recipe all together and was surprised that it made so much difference. The cookie turned out rather rubbery. The edges were almost burnt, even though the rest of the cookie didn’t brown at all and the flavor was lacking.
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Batch #2:
Followed the Original Recipe, just to have something to compare to. It still didn’t make the perfect cookie, in my opinion. Where’s the soft, gooey interior and crunchy exterior?
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Batch #3:
Remember my questions that surfaced during the guy’s cookie baking escapade? Well, one of them was about melting the butter and another about using milk in cookies, both of which I though where “faux pas” in the cookie baking world. Turns out, I was mistaken. BUT… apparently, it has to be done properly, or it doesn’t work out well. This batch confirmed my belief yielding cakey cookies.
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Check out these comparisons…
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Batch #4:
I decided to cut some of the flour out of the recipe since the first three batches were drier than I like them. This resulted in a cookie not even worth photographing as they spread out and met together making  a mess on the pan. However, I went with an idea Josiah Jost had when they were making cookies and added some orange peel to this batch along with almond extract. The flavor was AMAZING!
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I was feeling pretty cookied out by this time, but wasn’t happy with any of the results. I did another cookie search for the BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER and, again, came across recipes that called for melting the butter, adding some milk AND refrigerating before baking. Hmmm…one of my commenters had said his best recipe called for that last step too.
With the following tips in tow, I had to try once more.
  • The darker the sugar you use the more chewy your cookie is going to be.
  • Egg whites dry out baked goods. Chewy cookies have to be moist so use 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, plus 1 oz. of milk
  • Melt butter for chewier cookies

Chef Talk and Cookie Baking 101 : Tips on spread –

  • High sugar content increases spread. coarse granulated sugar increases spread, while fine sugar or confectioners sugar reduces spread.
  • High baking soda content causes spread
  • The creaming together of fat and sugar contributes to leavening by incorperating air. Creaming a mixture until light increases spread. Blending fat and sugar just til a paste without creaming in alot of air reduces spread.
  • Low oven temperature increases spread. High temperature reduces spread, because the cookie has a chance to set up before it spreads too much
  • A high liquid content butter spreads more
  • Strong flour (bread and clear flours), or activation of gluten, decreases spread.
  • Cookie spread more on a heavily greased pan.

Livestrong

  • When using baking soda as a cookie ingredient, thoroughly sift or whisk it together with the flour before mixing it with wet ingredients. This ensures that your cookies have a uniform texture and are not filled with holes. Too much baking soda added to cookie batter can result in an undesirable taste and coarse texture, as well as discoloration.
  • Leaving the dough in the fridge for 24-36 hours allows the ingredients to fully soak up the liquid, and result in a firmer dough which bakes to a better consistency. A long hydration time is important because eggs, unlike, say, water, are gelatinous and slow-moving. And since butter coats the flour, it makes it difficult for the liquids to get through to the dry ingredients.

Batch #5:

I ditched the Toll House Recipe in disgust and tried Baker Bettie’s Thin and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie (click here for full recipe instructions) , a recipe very similar to Alton Brown’s The Chewy , with a couple variations of my own. You’ll see those in bold beside the ingredient.
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt (I used 1 t. because I wanted to sprinkle sea salt on top.)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar (omitted this since I wanted the chewiest cookie possible and the other cookies just tasted too sweet.)
  • 1½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 c. chopped, toasted walnuts (Chocolate Chip Cookies just NEED nuts! )

After forming into logs and refrigerating for a couple hours, I sliced off 1/2 inch rounds and baked. Now we’re talking! These are worthy of the title “Chocolate Chip Cookie”.

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My brother and a friend both rated this as an 8 out of 10 in the chocolate chip cookie world. I’d say the two of them are CCC connoisseurs, so it’s better than most. Add some orange zest and almond extract and I’d be happy. You know what I realized? Chocolate Chip Cookies aren’t my favorite. Crazy right? Yeah, I know.

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21 thoughts on “Operation: Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Have you tried making them with almond flour? Amy W made some while she was here and I thought the flavor was much better than flour CCC. I want to try hydrating the flour longer and refrigerating them. They spread too much in a batch I made and that might make the difference!

    • I haven’t, but I like that idea a lot! I really prefer heartier cookies than what white flour makes, so I usually go with about a cup and a half of whole wheat and 3 c of oats. The almond flour would go great with the orange as well. Hmmm…maybe I do need to try another batch. :D

  2. I think my family would be happy to try any of those cookies. The last batch does look VERY yummy. A friend shared with me the idea of freezing cookie dough. You can bake it frozen so it works great if you have company drop in. Place small scoops of cookie dough (or the rounds you made) on waxed paper on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they’re all frozen place in a baggie. Take out desired amount and bake as you usually would. I like the idea of refrigerating before baking and will definitely try that next time (although CCC are often a spontaneous baking project around here). I like to make almond flour CCC, too, but learning to bake with almond flour is much different than using regular flour.
    I really enjoy your blog and am a long time lurker. We recently had your Israeli Couscous recipe and occasionally will have the brussels sprouts and quinoa for breakfast. Really like them.
    Thanks for sharing your great experiments and recipes!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Janet! So glad to hear you are enjoying some of my recipes. :D
      I froze some ginger oatmeal cookie dough for the first time a couple months ago and it was great! I shaped it into logs and cut slices from it while still froze and it worked fabulously. So convenient too. Wish I had some more in there….

  3. The best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe we have found was from America’s Test Kitchen. It used melted, browned, and cooled butter, giving it a nutty flavor. Then the sugar, butter, egg mixture rests for 15 minutes and is whisked vigorously every couple minutes. They are fantastic. The problem is the recipe makes exactly 16 cookies (if I don’t eat any dough) so they don’t last long enough to cool in our home of 7 people. The recipe is in a couple of their cookbooks- I found a random link on the web that had it: http://theapronarchives.com/2011/05/08/americas-test-kitchen-perfect-chocolate-chip-cookies/
    And all of those cookies look perfect compared to some of my gluten free experiments. :)

  4. That last batch looks really delicious! Mine usually turn out looking like #1. ;) Have you ever tried activating the baking soda in a couple tbs of warm water?? My 11 year old sister has been making these super delicious extremely fluffy ccc and that is what the recipes says to do. They come out fluffy every time!

    • I haven’t tried adding soda to water, but that it really interesting! It seems like you can really make CCCs any way whatsoever and it works for someone. :D And maybe not for others? lol I wonder how much of it involves temperature, barometric pressure and humidity? Could you imagine writing a recipe with all those specifications?
      “When only 4 cumulus clouds are seen by the human eye on the northern horizon, cream together…” Oh my, that it so weird! :D

  5. As the other one that rated the cookies 8 out of 10…I will give you a little explanation of my rating… ;)

    1.) I prefer my salt all mixed in vs. some sprinkled on top.
    2.) I prefer a taller/thicker cookie.
    3.) I prefer a lighter cookie. Lighter as in more like batch #2 and #3 yet still chewy like batch #5.

    As for taste, the cookies were outstanding! I ate a sampling of all 5 batches I believe. The sample bag that was sent home, didn’t last a full 24 hours before being devoured.

    I have made a few thousand cookies in my life…and I have to say that the pursuit of the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie is a noble and large undertaking. I have destroyed a many a batch of cookies that were unsatisfactory. (okay so maybe I ate them to destroy them…) I have made everything from little chocolate laced bricks, to cookie dough puddles with little chocolate speed bumps, and every imaginable combination in-between. The Perfect cookie has, as of yet eluded me. Though I have had some close encounters of the cookie kind. :)

    As an aside…I believe in a pure and unified Chocolate Chip Cookie universe. I am extremely racist in my belief in the race of Cookies. No imposters should be excepted or tolerated. Secret agents from the Orange world and the Nut planet should be sought out and assassinated. There are two things that are essential to the Chocolate Chip Cookie race…Chocolate Chips…and Cookie. The effort of the Orange nation with their allies from the race of Nuts should not be allowed to even socialize with our precious morsels. This is the only way to maintain true and pure lines in the cookie universe. The cross mating of our pure bread cookies with low life’s such as the orange or any type of nut is unconscionable. Won’t you join me in support of a PURE and UNIFIED future for our beloved cookie nation?!?!?
    (This public service announcement is brought to you by Citizens for Pure and Undefiled Chocolate Chip Cookie Nation)

    Shane
    (And I approve this message) :)

    Bwahahahahahahahahahha! >:)

  6. oh Oh OH!!! I forgot a VERY important note about my best recipe ever…..

    Ready?…..

    You can’t use metal for mixing…at all…no metal bowl, no metal spoon, no no no metal. It makes a difference. That also means no mixing machine. :( It has to all be mixed by hand in a wooden or plastic bowl with a wooden spoon or plastic utensil. I don’t know why but the the soda and the metal react and you get cookies that are flat. Flat cookies are sad cookies.

    Give all cookies equal opportunity to rise above and beyond. Don’t keep the cookies down. Say no to metal. (This message brought to you by The ACCLU {american cookies civil liberty union})

    :) hahaha

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