Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Love of a Good Cookie

Sometimes, life can surprise you.

Also, chocolate chip cookies.

I love making chocolate chip cookies, but I've never had any kind of secret recipe; I use the recipe on the back of the Tollhouse Chocolate Chips, and I'm proud of it. Of all the recipes I make, its the one I've probably changed the least. Because really, what can you change about chocolate chip cookies? How could they really get better (while of course, still being decidedly chocolate chip cookies)?

Of course, I have an answer to that question. It's Cook's Illustrated. I've mentioned before how Cook's Illustrated has rarely led me astray---their recipes are always good, and all their improvements on old standards in the past have always been impressive (their green bean casserole is AMAZING). The only rub tends to be, are all of these improvements and recipe machinations worth it? The green bean casserole, for instance, though fabulous, is usually a two day affair to prepare (rather than the 5 minute prep to the Campbell's recipe standard).

Their chocolate chip cookie recipe, though delicious and a definitely improvement, of course involved more steps. So you tell me---do these extra steps sound worth it?

Extra Step One: Brown the Butter
This give the cookies a slightly more complex, nutty, toffee flavor. Also makes the batter even more delicious to eat right out of the bowl. If you've ever browned butter though, you know know that its really easy to go past that perfect point into something disgusting. So be careful!

Extra Step Two: Rest the Batter
After you mix the wet ingredients, you going through a process of whipping for 30 seconds, then resting for 3 minutes. You do this over and over, about three times, until the batter becomes smooth and shiny. This seemed to make the batter a much more uniform consistency with nice lift.

Extra Step Three: Weigh the Flour
I know that lots of serious baking recipes tell you to weigh the flour; I usually choose to ignore this. But, in principle, for something as finicky as cookies, I understand the principle--and I did happen to have a food
scale. So I gave it a try.

I don't know if my proportions were more accurate, or if it was the batter resting , but the cookies turned out perfect. They didn't over spread, and they didn't turn out too cakey or dry; they were just the right amount if crispness and chewiness.

I suppose to really tell if its the recipe and not just luck (which is an important factor in baking) I'll have to try these again. But assuming it works. what do you think? Are these steps worth a reliable, toffee-rich chocolate chip cookie?

1 comment:

  1. I would have to try them to find out. I think my answer would be "sometimes." Sometimes I want cookies (or cookie dough) and I want it now, darn it. When that happens, I don't think I would have the patience for the other steps. The resting step is interesting. I've never seen that before. I think that's the step that would be the hardest for me to wait for. Unless I was making "vodka cookies". Then three minutes between whippings might be jut the right amount.