A Happy Peach

Things that make my heart smile…

The Science of Chocolate Chip Cookies…

5 Comments

It must be said that I love cooking. I love trying new recipes and experimenting, I always had. Some turn out good, and some don’t fare as well. And it really bothers me when they don’t go so well. But that’s another topic. Today I turn my focus to the glorious Chocolate Chip Cookie. Now baking is a science, there is a precision to your measured ingredients. Too much butter and your cookies will be greasy and not puff up, too much flour it’s dry and crumbly and so on and so forth.

The first key point is measure your ingredients properly, a digital scale is preferred, there is a certain tolerance (the amount you can go over or under) but that is small.  The weight is especially important for your dry ingredients, and mostly for your flour, since eyeballing it in your container can lead to disaster. It’s sifted flour versus unsifted flour, one cup of sifted flour may read 3/4 cup of sifted flour, and that difference can ruin your recipe. So best to get a scale of some sort.

Many moons ago when I was in high school, I tinkered with the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe till I understood what each ingredients did and came up the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Unfortunately I did it by instinct and didn’t have the sense to write it down, which means that recipe is lost. Last year,when I had a yen to bake those bad boys again I wasn’t sure what recipe to use. I ended up using the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Here is a copy and paste version of it:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)
    2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
    3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.
    4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.
    Yield: 2 dozen cookies

    With this recipe I decided to test a concept I found by way of Chez Pim which linked to this NY Times Article. I know it’s getting long, but stick with me. The gist of the article is that you should let your cookie dough rest 36 hours.  My plan to test this concept was to make the dough, divide the batter into three and bake. And here are my results:

    1. Baked immediately. This batch tasted nice, but you could taste the ingredients, almost like I taste butter and sugar.
    2. I baked it the next day and it tasted better. Like the ingredients had started to meld together.
    3. I baked it on the second day, wow what a difference, it had a new taste, almost like a richer maple flavor.

    Now this was a year ago and the most memorable thing I can recall is the flavor, it was deeper and richer. The texture was chewy, but the longer you wait the drier it is. On a more practical note you can also freeze your cookies so you have something to bake for later and it allows you to bake the quantity you want. Cookies are easier to make than cakes they are quick, easy and convenient. So if you are a novice baker, I would go with this. If you are an experienced baker why not go back to the basics? There is nothing more simple and luxurious than a good Chocolate Chip Cookie fresh from the oven, at least in my opinion. Enjoy 🙂

    Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)
    2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
    3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.
    4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.
    Yield: 2 dozen cookies
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    5 thoughts on “The Science of Chocolate Chip Cookies…

    1. Thanks for the science! I have never tried making cookies before, only cakes. Now that you mentioned that cookies are quicker and easier, I want to try it out too!

    2. Oh you should Tien, they’re so yummy and easy to make. When you let it rest, it sort of emulsifies and gets this yummy rich flavor. Let me know how it turns out.

    3. I’m loving the idea of adding coffee to a classic! What a cool twist!!
      xo
      Mindy

    4. Pingback: Christmas Has Me Confused… « A Happy Peach

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