More than one way to make Chocolate Chip Cookies

Several years ago, I started bringing chocolate chip cookies to the office once or twice a month. I initially started with the Tollhouse Cookie recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag.
It’s a start. The cookies don’t stay chewy very long after they’ve cooled.

Tollhouse cookies — from the back of a bag of Nestle chocolate chips

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

  1. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  4. Stir in morsels and nuts.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  6. Bake in preheated 375-degree°F oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

I started fiddling with different ingredients. Over the course of the nine years,
I tried a lot of variations: adding oatmeal, adding
nuts,
using less flour,
using whole wheat flour,
furiously whipping the butter and sugar together first, whipping the eggs
and butter first, using all brown sugar, using all white sugar with some molasses,
adding a banana, substituting baking powder for baking soda, adding another egg.
Some were over-crisp, others were too cakelike. Still, they were being eaten.

Last March, I found
that Cooks’ Illustrated had worked this out. There were several tricks.
The first was to ensure the butter and eggs were both at room temperature, as
this affected water distribution. I think I had done this a few times, but
purely by accident. Typically I’d take the butter out of the fridge and
let my KitchenAid beat it into submission.

The second trick was to use a small amount of Crisco. I’m not too crazy about
adding trans-fats, but it is a small amount.
Their third trick was to mix everything by hand. My kids like this concept…
until I add the flour and it takes two arms to stir the bowl. The dough has
lumpiness that smoothes itself out when it’s cooked. It reminds me of pancake
or brownies — each is stirred by hand, lumps are okay.

Chocolate Chip Cookies — Source: The Dessert Bible

8 T (one stick) butter
1/4 C Crisco
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
2 T vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg white
2 C + 2 T flour flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 bag of Ghiradelli or Guittard chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mash the butter and Crisco with a wooden spoon until mostly smooth. Add the brown and white sugar and stir until blended.
  3. Add the egg, egg white, and vanilla and stir until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl (or a large measuring cup), whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir this into the batter until smooth.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon tablespoon sized globs about 1 1/2″ apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Cook for 6 minutes, then rotate the pans. Cook another six minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.
  7. Slide the parchment paper onto a wire rack and cool.

It’s interesting to compare this with Alton Brown’s recipe. He uses 100% butter,
baking soda instead of baking powder, and an additional egg yolk instead of
egg white. On top of that, he uses more salt and adds some milk.
The butter is pre-melted in a pan, though I think this is a similar idea to getting it to room temperature to free up the water molecules.

The other major difference is he chills the dough before putting it on the pan.
It thus cooks a few minutes longer.

Alton Brown’s recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

6 thoughts on “More than one way to make Chocolate Chip Cookies”

  1. IIRC, they now have a 0% trans fat crisco. No idea how much “better” it is for you but…

    And I like the crispy version of AB’s cookies, myself.

    (Have you ever visited the Good Eats Fan Page message board? I post under lunanoir…http://goodeats.dyns.net

    You might find some like minded people there…)

    – jen

  2. xheavenxsenx

    I love Alton Brown’s Chewie recipe, I think Alton is my cooking idol or something…lol. You’ve seen the episode “Three Chips for Sister Marsha” right? The way he varies ingredients for different results (Thin, Fluffly, any Chewy) is marvelous. The only thing I do differently from him is that I don’t scoop giant #20-disher-sized scoops on to the pan, I still drop them with a spoon. They’re still the best of any recipe I’ve had yet.

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