Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie?

I don't think you can ever have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes. I've made so many different ones I can't even recall them all, but some have been totally wicked and some have been OK, but in the end, I've never met a chocolate chip cookie I've never liked. In fact, I've never met any chocolate chip cookie dough I haven't liked either.

So, in July the food blogosphere was abuzz with a lot of hoopla around this New York Times article and accompanying chocolate chip cookie recipe, touting this particular cookie to be "perfect." The secret: chilling the cookie dough overnight, or for at least 24 hours. The article tells why: this resting time allows "the dough and other ingredients to fully soak up the liquid — in this case, the eggs — in order to get a drier and firmer dough, which bakes to a better consistency.” Furthermore, "A long hydration time is important because eggs, unlike, say, water, are gelatinous and slow-moving... Making matters worse, the butter coats the flour, acting...'like border patrol guards,' preventing the liquid from getting through to the dry ingredients. The extra time in the fridge dispatches that problem."

Before reading this article, I theorized that the chilling time a) allowed the gluten sufficient rest after mixing and b) allowed the sugar to develop flavour, as it would in bread dough risen in the fridge. But, the article explains the science behind this method far better than I ever could.

So, of course, after hearing all the buzz, I had to try this recipe myself. I remained faithful to the recipe apart from a few things. First, I don't see the point in using both cake flour and bread flour. Not every home baker is going to have a variety of flours on hand like I do, and I don't even have cake flour around because I don't use it often enough, and what's the point of combining a low-gluten flour with a high-gluten flour when all purpose flour is a perfectly decent mid-gluten flour? Second, I did not put the sea salt on top of the cookies before they baked. I just plain forgot. 24 hours will do that to you. I also didn't turn my chocolate chips upside down so their flat sides were up; I thought that was ridiculous! Additionally, I made my cookies far smaller than the generous golf-ball size stipulated by the recipe.

If the dough was anything to go by, these were going to be outrageously good cookies. And sample the dough I did...and did, and did...

While I was not as adventurous with this recipe as my good blogpal Cakespy was, I was totally happy with the results. When they came out of the oven, my cookies were beautifully pale golden brown and were the perfect combination of crisp and chewy.

Will I chill again? Probably. Though I tend to be more of an instant gratification kind of baker, I think the waiting was worth it. But then again, I'm sure this cookie would be just dandy baked off immediately rather than sticking it in the freezer overnight. Or, I could just as happily eat the dough right out of the bowl, couldn't I?


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those cookies look great and scrumptious! I believe everybody's got their own favorite/best recipe...



Meg said...

I am definitely going to have to try these! It sounds like the extra steps are worth it!

Milla said...

Whoo00-la-la this comes in perfect timing for my week-end! Wodnerful.
Thank you C!

Cakespy said...

No, maybe you didn't have the same adventure we did...but yours sure sound like they taste better! :-) Love 'em!


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