Baking Recipes, Cookies, Experiments & experiences, Timeless Treats

The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie [Non] Debate

Finding the “best” chocolate chip recipe out there is quite a bit like finding a needle in the haystack. In fact, I don’t think I will even bother looking for it. I don’t think there’s one best recipe anyway, because it’s a subjective matter: To some people the best would be a chewy cookie, to some a crunchy cookie. But as far as the cookie is concerned, it would just sit there happily speckled with chocolate chunks all over. However, I don’t think people would argue that there are only a handful of recipes out there that really stand out from the rest, chewy or crispy alike.

Choco Chip Cookie- which is you favourite?

This post is not about trying to determine which type of cookie has the edge over the other. It’s not about me trying to convert you into liking just one type of cookie. It’s not about trying to champion one kind of cookie and discrediting the other. Plain and simply, this post is all about indulging the inner food scientist in me. It’s about attempting to study just what actually makes a crunchy cookie crunchy and a chewy cookie chewy. It’s about trying to discover and understand the differences between the DNA of each cookie better.

Don’t worry, I won’t go all mad scientist on you. I promise.

Personally, my preference for chocolate chip cookies lies heavily on my mood. Although I tend to go for the chewy ones more often, I also like to bite into the crunchier kind every so often. It’s not difficult to have the best of both worlds either– as in a crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside cookies. Yum! Probably the only kind of chocolate chip cookies I don’t like is the thick crumbly kind (READ: Store-bought), but I very rarely buy those anyway.

There just is no point in buying choco chip cookies from the store when making them at home is so easy! I would go so far as saying that if there’s one thing every person needs to know how to bake, it’s chocolate chip cookies. It’s the classic of all classics! The challenging part is picking out your favourite recipe, but whoever said you can’t bake them all?

Now let’s get down to the business at hand. I’ve made this little diagram of the cookie-making process. See if you can spot the difference:

Spot the difference

If you would notice, there is more brown sugar involved in the process that creates chewy cookies compared to the crisp ones. Because brown sugar absorbs more moisture after baking, greater amounts of it help in creating a softer, chewier cookie texture. Switching the white to brown sugar ratios will immediately change the texture of your cookies. You can easily convert the recipe of your favourite chewy cookies into crisp cookies by increasing the amount of white sugar in relation to the amount of the brown sugar. More white sugar makes a crunchier cookie. A little more butter also helps in creating chewy cookies, thus the dough balls for my chewy cookies look slightly oilier than its opposite photo.

Who knew it was sugar that would create such an impact right? It’s also involved in my favourite part of making chocolate chip cookies, which is mixing the butter and sugar to get the “caramel” component. So pretty!

Screen Shot 2013 09 11 at 11.19.40 PM - The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie [Non] Debate
Thick & Chewy Choco Chip Cookies
Screen Shot 2013 09 11 at 11.19.40 PM - The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie [Non] Debate
Yields 18
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled until just warm
  5. 1 packed cup brown sugar
  6. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 1 large egg yolk
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
Instructions
  1. 1. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. 2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. 3. Using an electric mixer, or using a wooden spoon, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.
  4. 4. Add dry ingredients and beat or mix at low-speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. 5. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.
  6. shaping
  7. 6. Bake approximately 11 to 14 minutes, switching cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking; until cookies are light golden brown and the outer edges start to harden, yet centers are still soft and puffy. Do not overbake.
  8. 7. Cool cookies on sheets until cookies can be lifted without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. 6966693719 60be568891 b - The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie [Non] Debate
Notes
  1. * This method will produce really nice, uneven cookie tops. However you can also roll the dough into balls or use a cookie scoop, making sure to set them a couple of inches apart so they do not stick together when they spread.
Adapted from Baking Illustrated
The Tummy Train http://thetummytrain.com/
To make life a little easier for you, here is the Baking Illustrated Thin & Crispy counterpart. Just by looking at the source, needless to say both recipes produce excellent chocolate chip cookies. You can close your eyes and randomly pick out a recipe and I really believe it will be a hit no matter which one you end up making. Or better yet, make half a recipe of both! That’s what I did.

Admittedly, the recipe for this supposed crispy cookie isn’t like most recipes. There is the presence of milk which adds a little bit of moisture into the cookie; and instead of egg whites that would have helped dry them out for a firmer texture, they used egg yolks instead. This is probably why the cookies weren’t particularly crispy, and even became very chewy in the centre after a day or two in the cookie jar. Still, they were a wee bit firmer around the edges compared to the other version, which makes them a wonder to nibble on because of the contrast from outer to inner cookie.

score

I hope you don’t mistake that as complaining, because this jar went empty faster than the other. I solicited the votes of everyone in the house, and after much difficulty and indecision, I got the results. Apparently there were only two of us who liked the Thick and Chewy version better (my baby brother and I).

The only problem I have with repeating the Thin & Crispy recipe is that I don’t normally go for corn syrup in my baked goods unless it is absolutely essential, like as a binding agent for this Chocolate Pecan Pie. And even here I have doubts whether I would make this scrumptious pie again. Corn syrup just gives me the heebie-jeebies, along with shortening. But oh well, every once in a while won’t hurt I guess.

Seriously though, these are gorgeous cookies!

Screen Shot 2013 09 11 at 11.19.21 PM - The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie [Non] Debate
Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Screen Shot 2013 09 11 at 11.19.21 PM - The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie [Non] Debate
Yields 30
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  5. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1/3 packed cup light brown sugar
  7. 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  8. 1 large egg yolk
  9. 2 tablespoons milk
  10. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  11. 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray generously with cooking spray.
  2. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. 3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a wooden spoon, mix the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and corn syrup together on medium speed for about 1 minute.
  4. 4. Add the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla, mixing well until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  5. 5. Reduce the mixer speed to low (if using), then slowly add the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
  6. 6. Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough about two inches apart to allow room for spreading.
  7. 7. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking process. Once the edges begin to the brown and the cookies are firm, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
  8. Crispy
Adapted from Baking Illustrated
The Tummy Train http://thetummytrain.com/
My cookie jar is just adorable isn’t it? I always make it a point to bake a different kind of cookie every week just so I can fill the jar up and keep it atop the kitchen table. I’m certain Mr. Moo was very happy to have had these cookies grace his cookie bowl too!

4 Comments on “The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie [Non] Debate

  1. Hi Clarisse! I’ve tried your recipe (thick and chewy choco chip cookies), but my cookies spread out and they weren’t thick at all. I don’t know what am I doing wrong since I’ve followed all the instructions. Please help.

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