The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment: Part 2

Last week, we began our very serious, very important, very scientific (ha!) quest for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.  I read in the New York Times that one of the secrets of a great chocolate chip cookie was to let the dough chill in the refridgerator for up to 36 (you read that correctly) hours.  I don’t know that I have ever had the patience to chill chocolate chip cookie dough before, so I gave it a go.  I made it about 30 hours and the second batch was really good.  I may be a convert. 

For a very amusing take on waiting to chill the dough read Joy the Baker’s post on the same article.  She contends that four hours is plenty.  It may be.  I went from zero hours to 30 so what do I know.

Last week, I used an old stand-by recipe and this week I tried the recipe from the Times.  It calls for a combination of cake and bread flours – which I have never used in chocolate chip cookies before – and chocolate disks instead of chips. 

 Zero hour cookies.  Don’t those big disks of chocolate look delish?

Verdict:  Good at zero hours and good at 30.  I really didn’t taste much difference.   We liked these a lot but we may have liked the recipe from last week better.  I guess the “ultimate” really is a matter of taste.  Frankly, I would eat either all day long…

 30 hour cookies.  A little darker.  Good.  Worth a 30 hour wait?  hmmmm

I want to try Alton Brown’s recipe with melted butter, but I may hold off for a couple of weeks.  My waistline is protesting…

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

(8 1/2 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 content (see note)

Sea salt.

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. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. 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.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

5 responses to “The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment: Part 2

  1. I absolutely LOVE Alton Brown’s recipe for The Chewy. It is made with melted butter and bread flour and chilled before baking. I dunno, it’s something about the texture that is very, very good to me. It’s been my go to recipe since I found it this past winter. But I must say, seeing everyones cookies from the “experiments” is making me want to try some others. Hope you enjoyed every bite!

  2. I’m interested in your opinion of Alton’s recipe. Also, have you tried the Cooks Illustrated Thick and Chewy recipe? It’s making some blog rounds right now.

    I tried a day-and-a-half wait with the Tollhouse recipe, and I definitely noticed a difference. I thought the butterscotch flavor was a lot stronger, and the texture seemed a little less finicky.

  3. Nice comparison shots!

  4. I tried the Times Ultimate when it came out a few weeks ago, too. I LOVED them. I’ve made them twice now. Once you get the bread and cake flour, it’s nice to have on hand. I will make these again, probably soon. I enjoyed testing the differences in chill times. It’s nice to know you can not bake a whole batch, but keep the dough in the fridge and it will just keep getting better (up to 72 hours).
    Your cookies look yummy. I do love the melted disks. What did you use for the chocolate?

  5. We’re doing the great CCC test also, inspired by the NYT article, but we haven’t made that recipe yet! We’ve done several others, but none have matched up to our old stand-by recipe (a very old one from Sunset). Love your blog – I found you through Tuesdays With Dorie. I laughed out loud at your story about the peanut and pumpkin costumes; it sounds like something I would have done. My girls are 20 and 22 now.

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