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Chocolate Chip Cookies -- Bake-Off III

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206 replies to this topic

#181 Kerry Beal

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 09:00 AM

While I was in Fox and Obel in Chicago - I had the opportunity to look at light and dark muscavado sugar. It looks just the the plain old brown sugar that we buy here in Canada. Am I totally mistaken - does it have some special property that isn't apparent in it's appearance?

Answered my own question - just found out that up until two years ago Lantic sugar sold muscovado, now they have stopped due to lack of interest. So I used to see it as regular old sugar in my stores, now I'm looking at the stuff where the molasses is added back to white sugar.

Edited by Kerry Beal, 16 August 2008 - 09:10 AM.


#182 paulraphael

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 07:24 AM

I was lucky enough to exchange some ideas with Michael Laiskonis (pastry chef at le bernardain) about brown butter ice cream, and a light bulb went off. I realized you could intensify the flavor of brown butter by adding some dry milk to the melted butter before browning it (it's the milk solids in the butter that brown and release the flavor). A little goes a long way.

I adjusted the cookie recipe, and think it's an improvement. Not a radical difference, but the flavors are deeper.

#183 isomer

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 04:31 PM

I was lucky enough to exchange some ideas with Michael Laiskonis (pastry chef at le bernardain) about brown butter ice cream, and a light bulb went off. I realized you could intensify the flavor of brown butter by adding some dry milk to the melted butter before browning it (it's the milk solids in the butter that brown and release the flavor). A little goes a long way.

I adjusted the cookie recipe, and think it's an improvement. Not a radical difference, but the flavors are deeper.

View Post


I made a batch today, and they are very, very good. Thanks for sharing this great recipe with us!

Here's how they came out:

Posted Image

I also made a batch of the Cook's Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from the January 1996 issue (see next post), which is the one where you are supposed to portion the cookies with a disher, then split the ball in half and join the halfs together with the split sides facing up. I tried the same technique on these cookies. (top and right, above). The one on the left was done as a straight ball. Personally, I like the shape of the one on the left better, but look at the next post for how it works for the CI cookies.

One more look to show the thickness:

Posted Image

#184 isomer

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 04:37 PM

Here are the Cook's Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from the January 1996 issue. I followed their recipe and split the balls of dough in half, then joined the halfs together with the splits facing up. Here's how they look before they go into the oven:

Posted Image

And here's how they came out:

Posted Image

They actually look better than the photo shows, but the idea is that the rough texture makes for a "bakeshop" looking cookie. It seems to work for this dough. Here is a view from the side so you can see how thick they are:

Posted Image

Overall, these are a pretty good cookie. I much prefer the taste of the paulraphael cookies, but these sure look great.

As an aside, these and the previous cookies are the first cookies I've ever baked! talk about beginner's luck - they came out pretty well :)

#185 paulraphael

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 08:55 AM

Great, I'm glad you liked them, Isomer.
Did you make them with the added dry milk?
If so, I'm curious to know if you noticed any kind of bitter aftertaste. I noticed this in a couple of batches I made lately, and am thinking the recipe might be better with a little less of the dry milk. Or maybe with the butter browned a bit less than what I've been doing.

#186 isomer

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 10:49 AM

Great, I'm glad you liked them, Isomer.
Did you make them with the added dry milk?
If so, I'm curious to know if you noticed any kind of bitter aftertaste. I noticed this in a couple of batches I made lately, and am thinking the recipe might be better with a little less of the dry milk. Or maybe with the butter browned a bit less than what I've been doing.

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I used the dry milk at gfron1's prompting. There's no bitter aftertaste at all.

I noticed that you have to be pretty careful with the butter, though. It went from nothing to pretty brown in an instant. I was a bit worried because it was quite brown, so I cooled for a few minutes and tasted it to be sure.

Also at gron1's prompting, I've got a batch of dough resting for 48 hours in the fridge to compare the texture with the 24 hour dough. Will report back...

#187 paulraphael

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 11:12 AM

Cool, thanks. I might have just browned the butter too aggressively.

I split the last batch in half ... baked one after a day and the other after three days. I didn't notice any significant differences in flavor or texture. Which is fine with me. It's nice to have the flexibility to bake them whenever.

#188 isomer

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 06:37 AM

Here is the result of the aging experiment with paulraphael's cookies:

Posted Image

The cookie on the left aged 24 hrs, the one in the middle 48 hrs, and the one on the right 72 hrs.

First off, the aging doesn't seem to affect the taste at all. Texture, though, is a different story altogether. It seems like the longer the dough ages, the tougher it gets, and the less it rises. The 72 hr cookie is smaller, tougher, and almost cakey inside. The 24 cookie on the other hand is nice and tender. It also happens to look the best. So in the end, I am going to age them 24 hrs.

#189 paulraphael

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 11:10 AM

Interesting. I never saw that big a difference. What kind of container did the dough age in?

#190 isomer

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 12:08 PM

Interesting. I never saw that big a difference. What kind of container did the dough age in?

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In a ziplock bag inside a tupperware container.

#191 gfron1

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 06:14 PM

Yep, looks just like mine - that shiny domey surface of 72 hours that brought me back to 24 hours.

I did find a slightly more caramely flavor with aging, however.

thanks for documenting it for us.

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#192 sus

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 06:19 AM

I am so sorry if this has been asked before but I have been reading through some cookie threads that have some wonderful cookie recipes I would like to try (Korovas, CIA Mudslides anyone?). However, I am having a really hard time finding simply delicious chocolate chip cookies recipes. I don't like them crisp, though I like them thin, and soft, though not too soft. Oh oh. Any help, even if to point me to the right thread, would be appreciated!

Thanks!!!
Sus

#193 merstar

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 03:21 PM

I am so sorry if this has been asked before but I have been reading through some cookie threads that have some wonderful cookie recipes I would like to try (Korovas, CIA Mudslides anyone?).  However, I am having a really hard time finding simply delicious chocolate chip cookies recipes.  I don't like them crisp, though I like them thin, and soft, though not too soft.  Oh oh.  Any help, even if to point me to the right thread, would be appreciated!

Thanks!!!
Sus

View Post


Check these out - they're excellent:
Chewy Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies
http://www.recipezaar.com/17113
Another excellent one - (I use heaping Tbsp instead of 1/4 cup scoops):
Brown Butter Muscovado Chocolate Chip Cookies
http://recipes.egull...ipes/r2108.html

Edited by merstar, 01 March 2009 - 03:27 PM.

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

#194 Emily_R

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:07 AM

Hey folks --

Ok, while previously I had been mostly a fan of chocolate chip cookies with a little oatmeal added to them, I am now a slave to the recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. It has a higher sugar to butter ratio then most cc cookies I'm used to (1.5: 1, rather than 1:1), but somehow they don't taste too sweet... They just taste... Divine! I used chopped Callebaut chocolate, a mix of semisweet and bittersweet. Note these weren't aged or anything... But oh my god. I cannot be trusted with these things in our house.

Emily

#195 nakji

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 05:22 PM

Are the cookies thin, chewy, and brown? What makes them so addictive?

I once tried a Martha Stewart recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but they turned out much thinner and browner than I like - they were too chewy and crunchy, and not cakey enough for my liking. I like plump chocolate chip cookies, ever-so-slightly-underbaked in the centre.

#196 Emily_R

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 10:21 PM

Are the cookies thin, chewy, and brown? What makes them so addictive?

I once tried a Martha Stewart recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but they turned out much thinner and browner than I like - they were too chewy and crunchy, and not cakey enough for my liking. I like plump chocolate chip cookies, ever-so-slightly-underbaked in the centre.

View Post


Hi Nakji -- These are certainly not cakey at all... I would say they are crisp on the edges and chewy in the center... Only thin and brown when I overbaked them, but the perfect blend of crispy and chewy (for me at least) when I baked them just right...

#197 DeliciouslyLekker

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 07:48 AM

Posted Image

I made David Leite's supposedly perfect chocolate chip cookies yesterday and was throughly disappointed (not to mention grumpy at having to use my precious 5 euro per 70g bar stash of Valrhona chocolate :rolleyes: ).

I made 3 batches- one after about 22 hours in the fridge, another after 37 hours and the last after about 60 hours. There was a slight difference but not much (the first had a more.. cakey middle, the last I haven't tried but they pretty much look the same).

I don't know what I did wrong but these were rather boring cookies:/
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#198 Desiderio

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 05:09 PM

I think I have found my ultimate favorite chocolate chip cookie.
I ued Alton Brown ( the chewy one ) reduced the butter to 1 1/2 sticks and replaced with about 1/4 cup ( maybe more ) of hazelnut paste ( pure hazelnut buter ), I use little more flour for the altitude, and use a variety of chocolate chips, I have used also mini M&M for my son. I made a big batch scoop them, froze them and then bag them, so I can bake a couple at the time. I will post the pic when I bake some. They are nice and chewy and pretty thick, I bake them frozen.
Vanessa

#199 nakji

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 05:53 PM

I think I have found my ultimate favorite chocolate chip cookie.
I ued Alton Brown ( the chewy one ) reduced the butter to 1 1/2 sticks and replaced with about 1/4 cup ( maybe more ) of hazelnut paste ( pure hazelnut buter ), I use little more flour for the altitude, and use a variety of chocolate chips, I have used also mini M&M for my son. I made a big batch scoop them, froze them and then bag them, so I can bake a couple at the time. I will post the pic when I bake some. They are nice and chewy and pretty thick, I bake them frozen.



Oh, wow. Do they taste anything like gianduja? That has to be my favourite flavour profile for sweets.

I made 3 batches- one after about 22 hours in the fridge, another after 37 hours and the last after about 60 hours. There was a slight difference but not much (the first had a more.. cakey middle, the last I haven't tried but they pretty much look the same).


They look spectacular, however. Please let us know if the 60 hour one tasted any different after you've tried it. And if you need any taste testers....

These are certainly not cakey at all... I would say they are crisp on the edges and chewy in the center... Only thin and brown when I overbaked them, but the perfect blend of crispy and chewy (for me at least) when I baked them just right...


Ah, I'm not a fan of crisp at all when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. I always try to maximize the cakey/gooey centre factor.

#200 Desiderio

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 10:53 AM

The flavor is not as strong of Gianduja in the cookies, but it gives a nice nutty flavor.
Vanessa

#201 merstar

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 06:54 PM

I wanted to resurrect this thread.

I made these cookies several times, and they were fantastic. I did some tweaks, ie, used instant espresso (half the amount), instead of instant coffee, plus added some salt, omitted the nuts, etc., and baked at 350 F (didn't like the results with the listed 325 F):

CHOCOLATE CHUNK COFFEE COOKIES
http://sweetmary.typ...ee-cookies.html

Edited by merstar, 11 February 2010 - 06:55 PM.

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

#202 agray

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 03:27 PM

While we're resurrecting, I want to put in a vote for Thomas Keller's chocolate chip cookies from Ad Hoc At Home. I discuss them and post a photo on page 2: http://forums.egulle...ad-hoc-at-home/

They're quite good indeed. The recipe is online here: http://blogs.laweekl...-hoc-at-home-c/
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#203 merstar

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 08:03 AM

While we're resurrecting, I want to put in a vote for Thomas Keller's chocolate chip cookies from Ad Hoc At Home. I discuss them and post a photo on page 2: http://forums.egulle...ad-hoc-at-home/

They're quite good indeed. The recipe is online here: http://blogs.laweekl...-hoc-at-home-c/


I agree - the cookies are excellent. However, I didn't like the 70% cacao in there, which surprised me, since I prefer chocolate at 70% - 75%. But somehow, I didn't like that high a percentage in contrast to the sweet cookie. When I made them a second time, I used a lower cacao percentage, and loved them.
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

#204 Chris Hennes

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 03:35 PM

I finally got around to making paulraphael's recipe (I used the one in RecipeGullet). Unfortunately it turns out I had purchased the dark brown Muscovado so I just forged ahead with that instead. Overall, the cookies were a big hit with my wife's co-workers, whose verdict is probably the most important in terms of making the recipe again. While a little finicky, I don't think the recipe was so much extra work that I'd worry about it next time I wanted chocolate chip cookies. I did use the milk powder with the butter, but I don't have a basis for comparison so I can't say how much difference it made to my palate (or those of my "test subjects").

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#205 paulraphael

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 10:44 PM

Oh snap! I've recently rejiggered the recipe for dark muscovado. i did it to economize ... dark costs the same but has gobs more molasses in it, so you only need to use a fraction as much as you do with light.

Your cookies were just much darker and heavier on the molasses flavors than the normal recipe. Who knows .. you might like your version better. For me, too much molasses overwhelms the butter and nut and vanilla flavors.

Here's the update.

#206 Chris Hennes

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 09:06 AM

Great, thanks for the update. Do you have a preference for one recipe versus the other (e.g. the dark versus the light)? Or is it pure economics?

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#207 paulraphael

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:33 AM

I haven't gone as far as tasting them side-by-side, but I tweaked the dark muscovado version until it tasted the same as my memory of the light muscovado version. All of this will depend on the actual molasses content of the light and dark sugars you're using ... expect some variation. I don't even know how consistent any given brand of sugar is over time. I'm guessing that exotic sugars like the muscovados could have more inconsistencies than the more industrial products.

What surprised me is that in the brands I tried (inda tree and billingtons) the dark muscovado seems to have way, way more molasses than the light. I wasn't expecting to have to change the proportions as much as I did.





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