Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TWD: Chocolate Chip Cookies

When people hear I'm a pastry chef, they often ask similar questions, like "What's your favorite thing to make?" and "What's your favorite dessert to eat?" I never know how to answer the first question because, seriously, it's work. I enjoy it, but it's still a job, it's not like I waltz into the kitchen every morning and make whatever the spirit inspires me to make. (This is not the usual answer I give, because I want people to think I'm nice. Suckers.)

The second question is equally tricky. While I'd love to dazzle people with my well-refined pastry palate, the truth is that I'm really a cookie and brownie girl at heart. If I'm going to bake for myself, it's probably going to be some variation of soft, gooey, chocolatey cookies or bars. That's why this week's recipe, for Dorie's "Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies," was made several weeks ago...any excuse for a chocolate chip cookie!

But before we get to the good stuff, we must discuss the not-so-good stuff; that is, how these cookies originally turned out. Any cookie called "Best-Ever"deserves some respect, so I followed the recipe to the letter, even going so far as to time the beating of the butter and sugar to make sure I got the right results. And what I got was this:

Flat, crispy cookie frisbees with some chocolate chunks. Now I know there are some heathens out there who insist on crunchy chocolate chip cookies, but I've never tolerated them OR their brittle pucks (apologies if this applies to you--change your mind and we can be friends again), so you can imagine my dismay when I realized I'd produced a batch of the offending cookies in my very own oven. The culprit was obvious: too much butter and too much beating time produced cookies that spread far too much.

Instead of scrapping the rest of the dough, I put it back in the mixer, added more flour (I think about 1/2 cup more) and a touch of baking powder, and baked off another test batch. MUCH better! (Original batch on the right, extra-flour batch on left.)

Now THIS is a cookie I can believe might be someone's "best." Crisp around the edges, but still very soft--almost a touch underbaked--in the middle. I didn't go too crazy with the flavors, because I tend to be a traditionalist...just added some toasted pecans to half the dough to give it a little crunch.

I think I might laminate this picture and keep it in my wallet, so that next time someone asks my favorite dessert, I can brandish it proudly and declare, "the humble chocolate chip cookie!" And then wipe off their drool.

20 comments:

  1. And I am drooling! You solved the thin, crunchy aspect that made me not love these. I might even try them again.

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  2. wow. just. plain. wow.

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  3. I've left you an award on my blog

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  4. That second cookie is amazing! Mine were like your first batch. I wish I had added more flour. Nice.

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  5. Wow! Nice going Liz... great save on those! The end product looks amazing!

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  6. i musrt agree. your 'best' looks much better than the original. I did a creamsicle version.

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  7. OH! Your tweeked ones look heavenly! I wasn't a fan of these, either. Flat is not my ideal. I'll have a couple of your other ones, though..

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  8. Can I print a copy of that picture for my wall? They look divine! It's funny you saying "too much beating" because I was thinking that is why mine spread. But, I doubted myself because I am not a published pastry chef baker person. :D

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  9. Awesomeness - I do love a good choc chip cookie! Glad to see we can still be friends cos I'm a soft and gooey gal myself :)

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  10. Beautiful cookies. Your changes made some very nice looking cookies. My mouth is watering.

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  11. You nailed it, Liz. Your cookies look like the photo in the book. Great job. I'm writing those adjustments in the recipe. Any tips on chunking chocolate?

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  12. Uh, oh...my guys are heathens. They love the crispy crunchy parts of cookies. Seriously, they love crisp and crunch in anything. I think it is the potato chip factor: crispy, crunchy, salty goodness that they indulge in every single weekend. I think the cookies reminded them of that. Probably a guy thing, right? At any rate, they were a big hit at our house. I think both your versions of the cookies look delightful. Carrying that photo around sounds like a fine idea!

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  13. I definitely belong to the thicker category, so I think your changes were perfect.

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  14. Your cookies look OUTRAGEOUSLY good! I also had to add 1/2 cup to the dough... at first, I thought I only added half of the flour because I couldn't understand why the dough was so thin! Wow, I can't get over how good your cookies look!

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  15. Oooooh...the cookies in the last two photos are calling my name. Really GORGEOUS cookies!!!!

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  16. wow, i love that last shot with the cookies broken open. that's heaven.

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  17. The second batch looks PERFECT. And who are these people with their crunchy chocolate chip cookies? Just wrong wrong wrong. Good tip on the flour and beating time.

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  18. Definitely fabulous photos there at the end!
    Amazing how your simple addition of more flour makes them look and taste so much better, even the chocolate comes out more.

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  19. Those look fabulous! It's great that you were able to rescue the rest of the dough. Mine were thin and I was extremely concerned, but somehow they were chewy.

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  20. Yep, chewy not flat and crisp are the better cookie. When make again will add the extras. Thanks.

    both, however, look delicious.

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