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Chocolate Chip Cookies -- Bake-Off III

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#61 paulraphael

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 02:55 PM

Curious that Jacques mixes almost equal amounts pastry and bread flower. Isn't that a bit like making all purpose flower? Thoughts from the pastry geniuses?

#62 miladyinsanity

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:48 AM

Curious that Jacques mixes almost equal amounts pastry and bread flower. Isn't that a bit like making all purpose flower? Thoughts from the pastry geniuses?

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I'm not a pastry genius, but I think equal amounts of pastry and bread flour would get you a flour with a slightly higher protein content than most all-purpose flours.

Sugar Plum, would you please PM me Dorie's recipe?

I made the Unbelievably Good Chocolate Chunk Cookies again, and whilst I achieved the right texture this time minus the greasiness of my first attempt, I think they are horrifyingly sweet.

Any ideas on how to fix this?

PS My little brother wants me to make the cookies again minus the chocolate. :blink:
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#63 merstar

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 01:20 PM

I agree - the sugar is way too high in proportion to the other ingredients. How about just reducing each sugar by about 2 Tbsp?

Here's a really good recipe if you're looking to try another:
http://64.233.169.10...clnk&cd=2&gl=us
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

#64 miladyinsanity

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 01:46 PM

I agree - the sugar is way too high in proportion to the other ingredients. How about just reducing each sugar by about 2 Tbsp?

Here's a really good recipe if you're looking to try another:
http://64.233.169.10...clnk&cd=2&gl=us

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Thanks, Merstar! I'll try this recipe next.

Sugar Plum, I bet you'd be interested in this recipe. It's just half cup butter to 2.25 cups flour.
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#65 merstar

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 03:23 PM

I agree - the sugar is way too high in proportion to the other ingredients. How about just reducing each sugar by about 2 Tbsp?

Here's a really good recipe if you're looking to try another:
http://64.233.169.10...clnk&cd=2&gl=us

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Thanks, Merstar! I'll try this recipe next.

Sugar Plum, I bet you'd be interested in this recipe. It's just half cup butter to 2.25 cups flour.

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You're welcome! Oh, and here's one I tried recently. It's the best chocolate based chocolate chip cookie recipe I've tried so far - totally decadent!
Chocolate Espresso Chews:
http://www.finerkitc...akin_incredible

Edited by merstar, 23 July 2007 - 03:24 PM.

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#66 Patrick S

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 04:01 PM

Curious that Jacques mixes almost equal amounts pastry and bread flower. Isn't that a bit like making all purpose flower?

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It would seem so. Wikipedia gives the following values for flour protein content:

9-10% Pastry Flour
10-11.5% All-Purpose Flour
11-13% Bread Flour

If those values are correct, then a 50/50 mixture of pastry and bread flour would have between 10 and 11.5% protein, exactly the range given for AP flour. Since pastry flour is made from soft wheat, bread flour from hard wheat, and AP flour from a mixture of both, mixing pastry and bread flour is just like making AP flour.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#67 paulraphael

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 05:10 PM

Maybe Jacques just doesn't keep AP flower in the pantry?

#68 sugar plum

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 05:54 PM

Thanks, Merstar! I'll try this recipe next.

Sugar Plum, I bet you'd be interested in this recipe. It's just half cup butter to 2.25 cups flour.

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Yes, I noticed that right away...only a 1/2 cup of fat in the whole recipe. Wonder if that's why they are called chewy?? I'd like to say I'd try them but right now up up to me eyeballs in chocolate chip cookie recipes!

Onto the Alton Brown bread flour debate, I found this on the internet:

http://www.goodeatsf...eTranscript.htm

I didn't realize he had such a following. Anways, if you scroll down you'll see this explanation for the bread flour as well as other ingredients that add to his cookie's chewiness:

"...The water from the melted butter will combine during agitation with the higher protein of the bread flour therefore producing gluten ... which is chewy. Also, since bread flour can absorb much more liquid than all purpose flour, more moisture will stay in the cookie."

and

"...Add the now melted butter to the mixing bowl and add a quarter cup of white sugar and a quarter cup of brown sugar plus a whole cup of brown sugar. And I should mention that, the darker the sugar you use the chewier the cookies are going to be. Why?...Brown sugar is coated in molasses....Molasses loves moisture. By increasing the amount of brown sugar the finished cookies are guaranteed to attract H2O from the air keeping them moist and chewy!"

finally

"...It's got to do with egg whites. You see, egg whites dry out baked goods. That's kind of what they do. And a chewy cookie has got to be moist. So not only are we going to get rid of one egg white, we're actually going to add an ounce, two tablespoons, of milk and of course our teaspoon and a half of vanilla. As soon as that is integrated, we can go with the dry stuff."

I'm baking his cookie dough tonight. I've read in this thread that others have found it greasy. I'm hoping I don't have the same result. Greasy is not what I'm looking for in an ultimate chocolate chip cookie!

#69 merstar

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:06 PM

Thanks, Merstar! I'll try this recipe next.

Sugar Plum, I bet you'd be interested in this recipe. It's just half cup butter to 2.25 cups flour.

View Post


Yes, I noticed that right away...only a 1/2 cup of fat in the whole recipe. Wonder if that's why they are called chewy??


Yes, the lower amount of fat is definitely the main reason they're chewy. They're crispy on the edges and chewy in the centers. Also, the 375 F temperature helps keep them chewy in the centers, as opposed to some recipes that call for a lower temperature.

Edited by merstar, 23 July 2007 - 07:11 PM.

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#70 shaloop

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:10 PM

I've found that simply omitting an egg from the basic Nestle Tollhouse recipe makes a very good, chewy cookie. I also use 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white instead of 3/4 cup of each.
OR
THIS is an excellent recipe that I found on the back of a bag of Gold Medal Flour. I had previously combined the Alton Brown recipe with the Cook's Illustrated recipe and settled on something very similar to this as my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie. It had one more egg. (1 egg + 1 yolk = 3 eggs when doubled with no wasted egg whites--I know it's not really the same but the results were still good.) However, recently I started getting cakier cookies from this recipe and one day realised that my usual brand of large eggs were much larger than another brand's large eggs. I dropped one egg and voila!! Perfect cookies again. Then I found this recipe on my bag of flour and low-and-behold, it was exactly the same except that I use more brown sugar than white and less chocolate chips.

Edited by shaloop, 23 July 2007 - 08:15 PM.


#71 miladyinsanity

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:11 PM

I've found that simply omitting an egg from the basic Nestle Tollhouse recipe makes a very good, chewy cookie.  I also use 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white instead of 3/4 cup of each.           

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Interesting.

I always thought that more eggs--or at least more egg whites--gets you a chewier cookie, and that less eggs would get you a crumblier one--like shortbread.
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#72 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 11:00 PM

Curious that Jacques mixes almost equal amounts pastry and bread flower. Isn't that a bit like making all purpose flower?

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It would seem so. Wikipedia gives the following values for flour protein content:

9-10% Pastry Flour
10-11.5% All-Purpose Flour
11-13% Bread Flour

If those values are correct, then a 50/50 mixture of pastry and bread flour would have between 10 and 11.5% protein, exactly the range given for AP flour. Since pastry flour is made from soft wheat, bread flour from hard wheat, and AP flour from a mixture of both, mixing pastry and bread flour is just like making AP flour.

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Protein content is also different depending on which country you're in. Canada's flours usually have a higher protein content than US flours and I think Europe is different again.
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#73 sugar plum

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 08:02 PM

My first two recipes in this bake-off were the Neiman Marcus vs. Alton Brown's “Chewy” chocolate chip cookies.

The Neiman Marcus:
Posted Image

…and Alton’s “Chewy”:
Posted Image

In my opinion the Alton Brown recipe wasn't as greasy as others have said; however, they also weren’t as chewy as he claims. I feel that the Neiman Marcus had an unfair advantage with the extra grated chocolate in its recipe. The blended oats did give it that chewiness that Alton's bread flour did not. I didn't like the extra "puffiness" that the Neiman Marcus cookie had (thanks be to the baking powder). If I had to pick between these two cookie recipes and nothing else, I'd go with the Neiman Marcus minus the baking powder and grated chocolate (what a pain to do!).

Alton’s was good but not great. Probably no different than the average chocolate chip cookie recipe. Definitely not worth going out and buying bread flour every time I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies (not a flour I keep around the house).

I think I’m going to try the pudding and CI chocolate chip cookie recipes next.

#74 Darcie B

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 08:16 AM

I have been tweaking my ccc recipe for the past few years. I believe it started with the Mrs. Field's (or was it Neiman-Marcus?) recipe that called for grinding rolled oats in a blender to make a coarse oat flour. I altered the leavenings, brown to white sugar ratio, and a few other things until I had what I thought was the best ccc I could make. It is slightly crunchy on the edges, chewy in the middle, but not at all doughy or greasy.

I have found that the stiffness of the final batter, which varies due to the temperature of the ingredients and the room as well as hydration of flour, etc., is a big factor. If the dough is too loose there is too much spread and I get lacy cookies that are too crunchy. If it is too stiff or cold (say if I leave the dough in the fridge overnight), then the cookies are too tall and undercooked in the middle. Too stiff is better than too loose, and if I refrigerate the dough I compensate by reducing the oven temperature by 50 degrees. If the dough seems too stiff after mixing I add a little extra liquid (Kahlua, usually).

I made some yesterday and brought them to work with the intention of taking pictures in the good light provided by my office window, but when I went into the kitchen to retrieve a couple cookies, they had all disappeared.

Anyway, here's the recipe, and I'll try to get photos from the next batch.

Darcie's Chocolate Chip Cookies

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, 67-70 degrees F
9.5 ounces (1 1/3 cup) packed light brown sugar
4.7 ounces (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 medium eggs (If using large eggs, reserve 1 white)
1 tablespoon +/- Kahlua
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
10.5 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole rolled oats, ground to coarse flour in food processor or blender
4.5 ounces (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour (I like Pillsbury best)
6 ounces (1 cup) chocolate chips (I usually use 7 ounces but 6 is conveniently sized)
1/2 cup Mini M&Ms (optional but I like 'em)

Preheat oven to 375 (or 350 convection). Mix butter and sugar with mixer until well blended and a bit aerated (I usually only go 2 minutes at most). Add eggs, Kahlua, vanilla, salt and leavenings and mix until well blended (I hate trying to blend dry ingredients together!). Add rolled oats and mix until uniformly distributed; add flour and mix until blended. Check stiffness of dough and add more Kahlua and/or reserved egg white if it seems too stiff or flour if it seems too loose. When the mixer stops, the dough should hold its shape and not slump at all. However, the dough should be very sticky and not at all dry. Stir in chocolate chips and M&Ms if using.

Measure out approximately 1 large tablespoon dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet. I use a #40 disher (at least I think that is the # - I'll double check). Bake until edges are dark gold and center is light gold. Cool in pans for a few minutes then cool on wire rack as long as you can resist.

I don't know if I should include this recipe in Recipe Gullet - I'd like feedback first.
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#75 paulraphael

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 11:58 AM

I have found that the stiffness of the final batter, which varies due to the temperature of the ingredients and the room as well as hydration of flour, etc., is a big factor. If the dough is too loose there is too much spread and I get lacy cookies that are too crunchy. If it is too stiff or cold (say if I leave the dough in the fridge overnight), then the cookies are too tall and undercooked in the middle


I've suspected some of this. It seems that there's a lot of batch to batch variation in cookies that must be based on variables that we're not controlling (this is cookie baking, not analytical chemistry ... right??)

I've had identical recipes turn out differently two days in a row, so I can only assume this can influence our comparison of recipes. We might think we're comparing recipes when we're really comparing relative humidity, or karma.

I especially wonder about this when people declare a particular recipe "bland" compared with another, when the ingredients are the same and the proportions extremely close.

#76 Rose&Thorn

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 03:49 AM

I'll humbly add my chocolate chip recipe (click!), which I've been fiddling with since I was little. The cookies end up chewy with crisp edges, and incredibly rich. I've been approached by quite a few people to make these and sell them, but somehow I never got around to it  :smile:.

They look like this:
Posted Image

(psst - Kerry, there are now 10 chocolate chip recipes in RecipeGullet)

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Your "humble" chocolate cookie looks great - no humility in them at all. I am going to try it this weekend. Will make a wonderful winter warmer with a cup of hot chocolate. The weather in Cape Town is awful so this is going to be a real treat.

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#77 LittleIsland

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 05:30 AM

Maybe Jacques just doesn't keep AP flower in the pantry?

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This is possible. When I was doing my time in the hotel kitchen I found they didn't use AP flour as such. All their recipes which looked like they would require AP flour called for a combination of bread and pastry flour (but in varying proportions).

May - on reducing sugar content in cookie recipes, I normally do it proportionately. I'm with you on sweetness - I find most cookie recipes too sweet. So, I usually cut back on both sugars by 15% (I find this to be a good level for me), and this keeps the proportion of brown to white sugar the same.

#78 miladyinsanity

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 07:47 AM

May - on reducing sugar content in cookie recipes, I normally do it proportionately.  I'm with you on sweetness - I find most cookie recipes too sweet.  So, I usually cut back on both sugars by 15% (I find this to be a good level for me), and this keeps the proportion of brown to white sugar the same.

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I'll try that. Thanks!
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#79 LittleIsland

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 02:33 AM

May - on reducing sugar content in cookie recipes, I normally do it proportionately.  I'm with you on sweetness - I find most cookie recipes too sweet.  So, I usually cut back on both sugars by 15% (I find this to be a good level for me), and this keeps the proportion of brown to white sugar the same.

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I'll try that. Thanks!

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Oh I made another batch of these today and realised from my previous notes that I had cut back the sugar by 20% the first time. And it was fine. Today I subbed 30% of the flour for oat flour and it was also good.

#80 Ylee

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 02:03 AM

Has anyone tried Sherry Yard's "Secrets of Baking" Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe before? I loved the chewy result, but was wondering if there was maybe a typo in the book with regards to the sugar content as they were very sweet. The conversation I had with someone about them was something along the lines of :

Him: These cookies are nice, but they are desperately sweet.
Me: Yes, they are a bit sweet....
Him: No, not a bit sweet, desperately sweet!


One recipe I really love though, is Tartine's Deluxe Double Chocolate Cookies. The chocolate is melted and whisked into the dough. It's not a chocolate chip cookie, but I guess you could probably add chopped chocolate if you wanted to (then they would be Triple Chocolate Cookies!).

#81 Luckylies

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 03:53 AM

I'm surprised nobody mentioned the modified tollhouse...everybody I know has a little something they do to make it just...that much better.

I double the vanilla and use dark brown sugar. A also skip the chocolate chips and go with nuts instead.

I call it a no chocolate chip- chocolate chip cookie...
does this come in pork?

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#82 Patrick S

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 10:46 AM

Has anyone tried Sherry Yard's "Secrets of Baking" Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe before? I loved the chewy result, but was wondering if there was maybe a typo in the book with regards to the sugar content as they were very sweet. The conversation I had with someone about them was something along the lines of :

Him: These cookies are nice, but they are desperately sweet.
Me: Yes, they are a bit sweet....
Him: No, not a bit sweet, desperately sweet!

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I haven't tried them, but the recipe does look a little sweet. Plus it seems to have very little salt to balance out the sugar -- 1/4t salt to 1.25C of sugars.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#83 sugar plum

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 10:24 PM

I've been distracted lately by a few birthday cakes but I'm now back on the chocolate chip cookie bandwagon. Tonight, I baked off claire797's Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pudding:

http://recipes.egull...cipes/r242.html

Here's my results:
Posted Image

This cookie has a wonderful flavour that won rave reviews around here but I found it's texture was a tad too soft. I'm still a huge fan of the Neiman Marcus cookie.

Next up for me is the Cook's Illustrated recipe.

#84 sugar plum

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 09:47 PM

I baked off the Cook's Illustrated "Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe last night. For those of you that aren't familiar with it, it calls for some wonky cookie forming prior to putting the dough in the oven. I was curious to see if this made any difference in the cookie's texture, etc. In a nutshell, it doesn't. It's a recipe very similiar to the basic chocolate chip cookie recipe (i.e. ~2 cups flour, ~1 cup butter, ~2 cups white/brown sugar...) but it produces very strangely shaped cookies. I can't say that I'll repeat this ridiculous process again. Basically, the CI cookie recipe tells you to form balls of cookie dough, split them in half and then join the bases together leaving the rough ends exposed. I'm not sure what the logic was for doing this but in my opinion, it's a total waste of time.

Here's what they looked like:
Posted Image

Oh, I almost forgot, the other difference in this recipe was that it called for the butter to be melted first before combining it with the sugars. I didn't notice this making any difference in the cookie either. There's a lot of "tweaks" to this recipe but in the end it tastes pretty similar to the basic Toll House recipe.

Tonight, I made the dough for Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookies featured on the Martha Stewart show. I'm a little concerned about what my results will be like because his recipe calls for pastry flour and bread flour--American stylie. I've read in this thread that there are differences between American and Canadian flour. Hopefully, I haven't just wasted a boat-load of ingredients on this recipe! It called for 1 lb of butter and 2 lbs of semi-sweet!!!!

#85 sugar plum

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 10:35 PM

Is anyone else still baking along with me?

Here's what will probably be my last attempt at this bake-off. After about 5 recipes, I'm chocolate chipped-out. The Jacques Torres Cookie from the Martha Stewart Show:

Posted Image

Although I prefer the Neiman Marcus cookie, the Jacques Torres cookie is a darn close runner-up. What a fantastic recipe! It makes 26-5" cookies which are massive but taste wonderful. Very chewy on the inside and crispy around the edges. I love the addition of the blended oats to the Neiman Marcus cookie so--in my opinion--that's what missing from Jacques recipe.

Again, you can find Jacques' recipe here:

http://www.marthaste...0005b09a00aRCRD

#86 LittleIsland

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 05:56 AM

Is anyone else still baking along with me?

Here's what will probably be my last attempt at this bake-off.  After about 5 recipes, I'm chocolate chipped-out.  The Jacques Torres Cookie from the Martha Stewart Show:

Posted Image

Although I prefer the Neiman Marcus cookie, the Jacques Torres cookie is a darn close runner-up.  What a fantastic recipe!  It makes 26-5" cookies which are massive but taste wonderful.  Very chewy on the inside and crispy around the edges.  I love the addition of the blended oats to the Neiman Marcus cookie so--in my opinion--that's what missing from Jacques recipe. 

Again, you can find Jacques' recipe here:

http://www.marthaste...0005b09a00aRCRD

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Those look deeelicious! I stopped a while back because I have been happy with the Unbelievably Good Chocolate Chunk cookies with 30% of the flour subbed for oat flour instead, and also Dorie Greenspan's recipe from Baking From My Home to Yours.

Would you say the flavour of the Jacque Torres cookie is better than the NM cookie? If so then why not try subbing some oats? I might try the Jacue Torres recipe. I normally stash lots of cookie dough in the freezer anyway because the family inhales cookies and I like to bake off a dozen a time for absolute freshness.

#87 sugar plum

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 08:24 AM

[Those look deeelicious!  I stopped a while back because I have been happy with the Unbelievably Good Chocolate Chunk cookies with 30% of the flour subbed for oat flour instead, and also Dorie Greenspan's recipe from Baking From My Home to Yours.

Would you say the flavour of the Jacque Torres cookie is better than the NM cookie?  If so then why not try subbing some oats?  I might try the Jacue Torres recipe.  I normally stash lots of cookie dough in the freezer anyway because the family inhales cookies and I like to bake off a dozen a time for absolute freshness.

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I would say that I still prefer the "nuttiness" that the blended oats provide to the Neiman Marcus over Jacques' cookie. Jacques' recipe is a great one if you're looking to make A LOT of dough. It has about 6 cups of flour and a whole 1lb of butter in it!

I'm a little afraid to tinker with Jacques' recipe (i.e. add blended oats to it) as it has different kinds of flour in it than the usual chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Well, it's been fun experimenting and I'm happy to have a "go to" recipe now for my CCC. I suppose that's what these bake-offs are all about?

#88 paulraphael

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 08:35 AM

Which NM recipe are you using? I've seen a couple of recipes attributed to them (including the urban legend one) ...

Also, has anyone tried the Jacques Torres recipe with regular AP flour?

I wonder if there's anything special about his cookies at all besides the massive load of top quality chocolate!

Edited by paulraphael, 03 August 2007 - 08:37 AM.


#89 sugar plum

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 12:27 PM

Which NM recipe are you using? I've seen a couple of recipes attributed to them (including the urban legend one) ...

Also, has anyone tried the Jacques Torres recipe with regular AP flour?

I wonder if there's anything special about his cookies at all besides the massive load of top quality chocolate!

View Post


This is the recipe I used for the Neiman Marcus cookie:

http://www.snopes.co...umer/cookie.asp

There is a recipe on the official NM website but it's not the one above which is all over the web. I think I may have halved the recipe when I made it.

#90 annarborfoodie

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 07:15 PM

Posted Image

I made four different recipes on Sunday. I am starting a low-sugar diet this week and wanted to get baking out of my system...

Clockwise from top left: Chocolate Espresso Chews, Unbelievably Good, Jacques Torres, and Tejon's.

My favorite: Jacques Torres
Office favorite: tie between Jacques Torres and Espresso Chews
Favorite of the recipients of the twenty pounds of cookies I shipped on Monday: yet to be determined

I liked Tejon's but they were more of an oatmeal cookie to me. I'm tempted to tinker with the recipe though. For the Jacques Torres, I used Trader Joe's Pound Plus Dark chocolate and I think that made a big difference - it was a very adult cookie. I liked the Unbelievably Good, but they were pretty close to the CI Thick and Chewy, which is my go-to recipe, and still will be after all the experimentation.

Editing to add: I used KA AP flour for the Jacques Torres. I can't compare with what they would have been with the prescribed combination of flours, but they turned out fine with regular old AP. I have no idea where I'd get pastry flour in this town...

Edited by annarborfoodie, 07 August 2007 - 09:00 PM.






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