The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie [breakdown]

objective:
to make cookies that…
taste like cookie dough
that are not doughy in the center
are nearly perfectly round with thick borders
not overly cakey
salty enough
aromatic
the standard recipe -Toll House

2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1 c butter
3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
3/4 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 c chocolate chips

result: These seem a little overly gooey to me. I’m not crazy about the texture. I want to make a cookie that’s different from Toll House, if not better.

recipe 1 – the Ambrosia Chocolate Chips bag recipe

2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 c butter
3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c sugar

2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 c chocolate chips

result:
These were Steve’s favorite. I didn’t like the flavor or texture. They were flat and crispy, which I don’t like in a cookie. The flavor was rich and butter-heavy. The main differences in this recipe versus the “standard” are: 1/2 tsp less salt, 1/4 c less sugar, 1 tsp more vanilla and 1 egg instead of two.

recipe 2 – Experimental based on AB
my own experiment after watching Alton Brown’s cookie episode

2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

1 c butter-flavored shortening
1 c light brown sugar, packed
1/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 c chocolate chips

result:
Not sweet enough. Less pleasant smell, probably from the shortening. Slightly too heavy/dense. Texture wasn’t great (resembled shortbread). The difference in this recipe: baking powder instead of baking soda, butter-flavored shorting instead of butter, 1/4 c extra brown sugar, 1/2 c less white sugar, 2 egg yolks instead of 2 whole eggs and 1/2 tsp more vanilla.

recipe 3 – Otis Spunkmeyer recipe
started as my own experiment, ended up resembling the Otis Spunkmeyer recipe, which led to me choosing to just follow the OS recipe.

2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1/2 c butter-flavored shortening
1/2 c butter
1 c light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c sugar

1 tbs vanilla
2 eggs
2 c chocolate chips
*fats were melted; eggs, fats and sugars were whipped until light and creamy

result:
This was the best tasting dough so far. The consistancy of the dough was really nice. The cookie slightly resembled the texture of homemade play dough – in a good way. It was moist without being gooey. Edges are great. I would like to try it with just one egg.

The problems are: 1. The flavor. Without the butter, the flavor lacks depth. maybe change to 3/4 c butter + 1/4 c shortening.

Possible improvements: Re-mix dough quickly before scooping the dough onto the pan; the butter tends to separate and sink during baking, which leads to crispy, jagged, flat edges. For a better cookie dough flavor, try using 1 1/4 c dark brown sugar + 1 c sugar.

Differences vs. the Standard: 1/2 c more flour, 2 tsp baking powder, half butter and half shortening, more brown sugar than white sugar, 3 x the vanilla.

recipe 4 – browned butter recipe

2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder

1/2 c butter, browned with salt
1 tsp salt
1/4 c coconut oil
1 c dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 c sugar
1 egg, blended before adding
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbs water
scant 2 c milk chocolate chips

*Butter browned with salt; fats were melted before sugars were added. Eggs, fats and sugars were whipped until light and creamy. Baked at 350 degrees.

result:
This cookie looked perfect. When they’re fresh, the strong, butter-scotch type flavor is nice, however, after a day the flavor tastes more like rancid butter… Milk chocolate chips were a nice variation, however the chocolate chip cookie flavor is lost. More chips are needed; increase by 50%. The texture was nice, although slightly on the dense side.

Differences vs. the Standard: 1/2 c more flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 c less total fat, butter was browned first, coconut oil for 1/3 of the fat, same amount of sugar with more brown sugar than white, egg blended before adding, 1 more tsp vanilla, milk chocolate chips

recipe #5 – Like #4 without the browned butter

2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder

1/2 c butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 c coconut oil
1 c dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 c sugar
1 egg, blended before adding
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbs water
360 g milk chocolate chips

350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (11 mins for 20 g scoops, 12 mins for 30 g scoops)

result:
These were good. The flavor was very close. Maybe needs more sugar; they taste slightly bland. Semi chocolate chips should be used to get that real chocolate chip cookie flavor. (It’s possible it could work with 1/2 milk + 1/2 semi sweet, but the few samples I made with this weren’t as good as I had hoped.) The texture of these was great as long as they were baked exactly the right amount. Since this cookie doesn’t brown like the traditional cookies, it’s difficult to gauge when they’re done. Too short of a bake time makes them overly gooey and oily and too long makes them hard and chewy (bad chewy – like taffy or caramel). These were flatter than what I wanted, which was due to the (accidental) increase in coconut oil. These were prepared with the traditional cream method, starting with the butter at 65 degrees, although I couldn’t tell a difference… (likely because of the extra coconut oil). Chocolate chips didn’t melt.

Possible Improvements: Use SS chips, the correct amount of coconut oil (1/4 c), try increasing chips to 400 g, increase vanilla to 1 tbs, increase white sugar to 3/4 c, try baking at 400 degrees to melt chips.

recipe #6 – Like #5 with minor adjustments

2 3/4 c [400 g] flour
2 tsp [8 g] baking powder

1/2 c [120 g] butter
1 tsp [6 g] salt
1/4 c [60 g] coconut oil
1 c [200 g] dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 c [120 g] sugar
1 egg, blended before adding
2 tsp [10 ml] vanilla
2 tbs [30 ml] water
[400 g] ss chocolate chips

tools:
scale
stand mixer
sifter (or food processor)
scraper spatula
spatula
2 half sheet pans
parchment paper
2 tbs cookie scooper (or 1 metal tablespoon)

preheat: 400 degrees

method:

  1. Preheat oven (400 degrees) and line pans with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and coconut oil in stand mixer. (This brings the temperature of the butter up, which is better for creaming.)
  3. Add sugars and mix at medium speed until color has lightened and volume has increased by about 50%, about 2 minutes. (This aerates the butter, which will give the baking powder room to create tiny air bubbles.)
  4. Meanwhile, sift together the flour and baking powder. (Pulsing in a food processor is my method of choice for sifting.)
  5. Add egg to a small container and use a fork to blend (about 15 seconds). Add to butter mixture. Mix again at medium speed until mixture is smooth and fluffy (about 1 minute).
  6. Add the flour mixture and the water to the butter mixture in batches; 1/3 of the flour at a time, followed by some of the water, and mixing until blended before adding another batch. Try to finish with the water. (This allows the wet ingredients time to fully absorb the flour.)
  7. Remove bowl from mixer and blend in the chocolate chips by hand. (The mixer can break/smash chocolate chips.)
  8. Using a 30 ml [1 oz /2 tbs] scoop (stainless steel works best), measure out 8 level scoops onto the pan. Lightly roll scoops into a ball and place in rows on the pan (3 in the top row and bottom row; 2 in the middle row.) Smash down slightly with your hand. (The diameter shouldn’t be much larger than the diameter of the balls; they just need to resemble a disc shape rather than a sphere. This helps them bake into the perfect cookie shape without being thicker at the center – which can lead to uneven baking.)
  9. Bake on the middle to upper middle oven rack (although all ovens are different). Keep the oven light on to monitor browning/flattening. If the bottoms are browning too quickly, or they appear to be flattening too much, place them on a higher rack. Likewise, if the tops are browning up setting too quickly. More often than not, the pan will need to be rotated half way through cooking time to ensure each cookie is heated on pace with the others. As they heat, they will slowly lose their wet appearance. Remove them from the oven before they look completely dry. The edges should look slightly darker than the rest of the cookie, but the cookie itself will not darken until it is overdone. They will still look slightly wet and slightly undercooked. They will finish cooking on the counter. I usually note the exact bake time of the first batch and hold off on putting in the second batch until I’m able to decide if I baked them for the appropriate amount of time. They will harden within the next two hours, so they can be soft as they cool. But, they should not have any parts around the center that appear slightly transparent (gooey), as those will not harden enough during cooling. Allow the hot pans to rest on the counter still in the pan for about 2 minutes, then slide the parchment paper off onto the counter. After about 5 minutes, use a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack. If sliding them off the hot pan causes them to lose their shape, then note that the next batches should be left on the the pan longer. If placing them onto the cooling rack causes them to sink and take the shape of the rack, they should be left on the parchment paper longer. However, if left too long they will the will have soggy bottoms. A cooling rack is important.
  10. Store in an airtight container. My favorite cookie jars:

recipe #7

1/2 c unsalted butter [120g/4oz]
2 tbs vegetable oil [30ml/1oz]
1 c [200 g] dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 c sugar [120g]

2 3/4 c flour [400g/14oz]
2 tsp baking powder – aluminum free [8g]

1 large egg, blended before adding
1 tbs vanilla [15ml]
1/4 c milk [60ml]
1 tsp salt [6g]

[400g] ss chocolate chips

tools:
scale
stand mixer
sifter (or food processor)
scraper spatula
spatula
2 half sheet pans
parchment paper
2 tbs cookie scooper (or 1 metal tablespoon)

preheat: 400 degrees

method:

  1. Preheat oven (475 degrees) and line pans with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and coconut oil in stand mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. (This brings the temperature of the butter up, which is better for creaming.)
  3. Add sugars and mix at medium speed until color has lightened and volume has increased by about 50%, about 2 minutes. (This aerates the butter, which will give the baking powder room to create tiny air bubbles.)
  4. Meanwhile, sift together the flour and baking powder. (Pulsing in a food processor is my method of choice for sifting.)
  5. Add egg to a small container and use a fork to blend (about 15 seconds). Add to butter mixture. Mix again at medium speed until mixture is smooth and fluffy (about 1 minute).
  6. Add the flour mixture and the water to the butter mixture in batches; 1/3 of the flour at a time, followed by some of the water, and mixing until blended before adding another batch. Try to finish with the water. (This allows the wet ingredients time to fully absorb the flour.)
  7. With mixer off, add chocolate chips.  Lower bowl half way (or lift top, depending on your mixer) and blend on low speed. (The mixer can break/smash chocolate chips.)
  8. Using a 30 ml [1 oz /2 tbs] scoop (stainless steel works best), measure out 8 level scoops onto the pan. Lightly roll scoops into a ball and place in rows on the pan (3 in the top row and bottom row; 2 in the middle row.) Smash down slightly with your hand. (The diameter shouldn’t be much larger than the diameter of the balls; they just need to resemble a disc shape rather than a sphere. This helps them bake into the perfect cookie shape without being thicker at the center – which can lead to uneven baking.)  Place a few chips on top of each cookie by hand for presentation.
  9. Bake on the middle to upper middle oven rack (although all ovens are different). Set the timer for 8 minutes (they should be ready to come out after 10).  Keep the oven light on to monitor browning/flattening. If the bottoms are browning too quickly, or they appear to be flattening too much, place them on a higher rack. Likewise, if the tops are browning up setting too quickly. More often than not, the pan will need to be rotated half way through cooking time to ensure each cookie is heated on pace with the others. As they heat, they will slowly lose their wet appearance. Remove them from the oven before they look completely dry. The edges should look slightly darker than the rest of the cookie, but the cookie itself will not darken until it is overdone. They will still look slightly wet and slightly undercooked. They will finish cooking on the counter. I usually note the exact bake time of the first batch and hold off on putting in the second batch until I’m able to decide if I baked them for the appropriate amount of time. They will harden within the next two hours, so they can be soft as they cool. But, they should not have any parts around the center that appear slightly transparent (gooey), as those will not harden enough during cooling. Allow the hot pans to rest on the counter still in the pan for about 2 minutes, then slide the parchment paper off onto the counter. After about 5 minutes, use a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack. If sliding them off the hot pan causes them to lose their shape, then note that the next batches should be left on the the pan longer. If placing them onto the cooling rack causes them to sink and take the shape of the rack, they should be left on the parchment paper longer. However, if left too long they will the will have soggy bottoms. A cooling rack is important.

NOTES

  1. water can be used in place of milk.
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