Friday, May 21, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies 5/22

This weekend is Erin's Husband's Birthday. He LOVES chocolate chip cookies. When preparing for the wedding there was a brief discussion about wedding cake then it was decided that there would be no cake, Tim only wanted chocolate chip cookies. 
This week, we decided to figure out the best chocolate chip cookie. Most of the research has already been done in that since Tim loves these cookies so much we've made quite a few. A basic, tried and true stand-by is the Good Ol' Nestle Toll House recipe. Its hard to find something wrong with this recipe, to make an improvement, but people try, well respected people like Martha Stewart, Cooks Illustrated, Ok, so it's back to Sesame Street and "one of these things is not like the others" but I digress.
We've made the "Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe from Cook's Illustrated before. The dough is quite flavorful but when Tim is looking for a cookie, he wants it all chewy, not crunchy (the Cook's recipe is a combo). He also is not big fan of the fancier chocolates that Cook's recommends. He says he still votes for the Toll House recipe.  He prefers the sweetness we guess so we modified (simplified) the Cook's recipe to find Tim's favorite cookie. We made 2 different recipes; the favored toll house and ours.
We started with the Toll House recipe. We made it as instructed. It's supposed to yield 5 dozen cookies! I don't think we've ever ended up with 60 cookies but we followed it as directed at least for the first batch. It calls for 1 rounded tablespoon of dough. 

Now, that's not very much and we wanted bigger chewier cookies. We about doubled the size of the dough balls and were happy with that. Anyone who's made cookies before knows the risk in this practice; siamese cookies. Luckily, we happen to be excellent cookie surgeons or tearer-aparters... 

Our recipe follows the Cook's recipe except for when it comes to complicating the cookie. We browned 10 tablespoons of butter and mixed in the rest to add some flavor to the dough.
 Cook's adds a step here to make the cookie crunchier and add a toffee flavor. We wanted a chewy cookie so we skipped it. There's also a 60% Dark Brown sugar to 40% White granulated sugar ratio instead of equal parts like the Toll House recipe. Again, this adds flavor. Instead of Ghirardelli, which we've used in the past, we went with the same Toll House morsels. Tim just likes the taste better. We can't help what he likes. He does eat a wide range of delicious and fancy to generic foods, from Filet Mignon to Hot Dogs. This just happens to be more on the Hot Dog end of the scale.
These cookies are bigger. 3 tablespoons instead of 1.

We think that they look prettier too.
In a side by side comparison, we like our modified Cook's Cookie better. The dough was nuttier and more flavorful. The bite was more appealing than the thin Toll House cookie. We also liked that the chocolate chip to dough ratio was higher.
In the end though it was up to Tim. Which cookie did he like best? The Nestle Toll House one.  Grr!

Lessons learned: Make them more often. Tim will be happy with any homemade chocolate chip cookie. Literally, he is happy when he has one.  Happy Birthday Tim!

The Toll House recipe is easy to find but here it is:
2 1/4 Cups All purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12 oz pkg) Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
We skipped the cup of chopped nuts.

Preheat oven to 375
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt
Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla till creamy then add eggs
Slowly add flour mixture till just combined, then add the morsels
Drop rounded tablespoon (or in our case, closer to 2 tablespoons) on baking sheets
Bake for 9-11 minutes.

We're sorry to report that the other recipe is property of Cook's Illustrated though we adapted it a little. We assume that posting it here would be in violation of their Use poilcy. We can say that their online service is incredibly thorough and helpful in learning to cook or bake and is great for coming up with ideas. They offer a 14 day Free trial and their service is $34.95/year. Their recipe is called "The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie" and has loads of info about why they chose each ingredient, quantity, and process. There's no limit to what one can learn from them. We should point out that they are the same people who make the America's Test Kitchen TV show and cookbook that we LOVE.


  1. Where can we get the recipes please?

  2. It's late and these cookies look verrrrry yummy to me right now. Crunch!

  3. Both types of cookies are yummy. I got actual samples! One thing I would like to mention is that the thicker cookies travel better. One of the samples I was given was both types of cookies in one storage bag. After less than twenty four hours in my jacket pocket, the thin style was nothing more than cookie dust. (Of course the big cookie might have been partially responsible for crushing the thin cookie.) Still, if you're planning to travel and need chocolate chip cookies for the trip I'd advocate baking the thicker version.