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Kerry Beal

Chocolate Chip Cookies -- Bake-Off III

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Did you see the article in the NYT today on the ultimate CCC? HERE'S the recipe. Their tips:

-Refrigerate dough for up to 3 days (in fact they recommend 3 days)

-Make them 6" across - allows for crisp edge, gooey center and dense middle

-60% cocoa content chips, recommend couverture

-40-60% of cookie is chocolate

-Dorie recommends a sprinkle of sea salt at the end as well

They didn't mention the eGullet trick of browned butter which my customers have been raving about. So, I'm going to incorporate these tips into Paul Raphael's recipe. I'll report back (but it will take at least 3 days :wink: )

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Did you see the article in the NYT today on the ultimate CCC?  HERE'S the recipe.  Their tips:

-Refrigerate dough for up to 3 days (in fact they recommend 3 days)

-Make them 6" across - allows for crisp edge, gooey center and dense middle

-60% cocoa content chips, recommend couverture

-40-60% of cookie is chocolate

-Dorie recommends a sprinkle of sea salt at the end as well

They didn't mention the eGullet trick of browned butter which my customers have been raving about.  So, I'm going to incorporate these tips into Paul Raphael's recipe.  I'll report back (but it will take at least 3 days  :wink: )

I've got a batch of the NYT recipe dough sitting in the fridge, made yesterday afternoon and so it'll be ready to bake starting this afternoon.

I'm not sure how the browned butter would fit into the recipe, since the NYT recipe doesn't start with melted butter, but the more typical butter-and-sugar beating (five minutes of it, in fact -- two minutes longer than I usually allow).

--Josh

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I'm going to try the NYT recipe myself, although it really isn't that much different from a lot of other recipes I've tried. Right now I'm using Alton Brown's recipe, which calls for melted butter, and while I have used melted butter, I have also found that if you use soft butter and DON'T cream it-just incorporate it into the sugars, the results are the same.

I will try the NYT recipe, but I will ignore the "cream butter and sugars til very light" part. That is overcreaming in my book, and just contributes to too much spread and a very flat cookie.

Another thing to try is to brown the butter, then let it resolidify. Then incorporate it into the sugars, and proceed as normal. I'll have to experiment with that, and see if it's worth the trouble.


Edited by chefpeon (log)

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I tinkered a few weeks ago by caramelizing white sugar (v. muscovado) and it was a huge flop. Some food science issue.

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I've got a batch of the NYT recipe dough sitting in the fridge, made yesterday afternoon and so it'll be ready to bake starting this afternoon.

Well, what did you think of the finished product? I've got a batch in the fridge right now for Sunday afternoon baking. I've yet to read any actual reviews of the recipe.

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Well, what did you think of the finished product?  I've got a batch in the fridge right now for Sunday afternoon baking.  I've yet to read any actual reviews of the recipe.

We like these cookies quite a bit. I'd say it's my second-favorite CCC recipe so far, with Alice Medrich's recipe still champion. The salt is definitely a bit more forward than I'm used to, but it's not overwhelming at all and makes an unexpected and very interesting counterpoint. While one of my tasters initially found it a little too noticeable, it actually grew on her to the point where she couldn't stop eating it.

They do spread a lot (there's that overbeating), and they're huge to begin with, so I found six cookies on a sheet to be a little much. Next time, I'm going to cut back on the beating time. (I didn't shape the mounds very much at all, and that might've contributed to the spread.)

The proportion of chocolate to cookie is VERY high; one person actually found it off-putting. I think it could be cut back slightly.

I actually weighed each portion of dough, and ended up with enough for about 20 cookies (a couple more than the recipe is supposed to make). Curiously, the recipe calls for each portion to be 3.5 ounces, which it describes as a "generous golf ball." Generous indeed. More like a baseball.

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They do spread a lot (there's that overbeating), and they're huge to begin with, so I found six cookies on a sheet to be a little much. Next time, I'm going to cut back on the beating time. (I didn't shape the mounds very much at all, and that might've contributed to the spread.)...

I actually weighed each portion of dough, and ended up with enough for about 20 cookies (a couple more than the recipe is supposed to make). Curiously, the recipe calls for each portion to be 3.5 ounces, which it describes as a "generous golf ball." Generous indeed. More like a baseball.

Josho,

When I tested and researched the cookie for the article, I found making the dough into balls lessened spreading; they should be balls, not mounds. Each time I made them, I was able to get six cookies on a half-sheet pan without them touching after baking. Also the 40/60 ratio is for Ruby and Violette, not these cookies. And, I agree, the balls are larger than "generous" golf balls, but the we all wanted to stop short of saying "baseballs"...

David Leite

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Thanks for the feedback, and the tips. I would have been inclined to weigh and ball them :blink: anyway. It's nice to know this would have been a good decision.

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As for balling and spreading, by necessity I form all of my cookies into balls, press them slightly, then freeze them. I do this so I can make a big batch on Sunday and bake to sell throughout the week. By doing this, I have never had spreading issues. I bake straight from the freezer. So for this NYT recipe, my intention is to age in the cooler for 3 days, then freeze. I'll report back.

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I baked four 3.5 ounce balls of this cookie dough at the 38-hour mark this morning, for breakfast. :biggrin: I had forgotten to sprinkle salt on them before baking, but did so afterwards. Boy, were these good! DH, who had previously chosen Alton Brown's "The Chewy" as his favorite in a head-to-head contest over Cook's Illustrated's chewy version, declared this his new favorite. He's generally a fussy eater, but even liked the salt on top. (I used Maldon both inside and out.) I guess I've lectured him enough times on the merits of salt that he buys into it now. Good boy.

BTW, I actually could not finish two of these cookies, and that's without eating anything else so far today. I may reduce the amount of chocolate (Scharffen Berger 70% bittersweet) the next time I make these because they were a bit too rich, even for me. Then again, I could try not making a pig of myself and eat just one. :rolleyes:

I still want to try the Alice Medrich recipe. Next time.

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Abooja,

So glad you like them. I can't tell you how many cookies I had to eat for the article. It's obscene. :blink: But these are my new favorite, too. I've never tried Medrich's, but Shirley Corriher, when I interviewed her, said I must.

David

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The Medrich recipe is something I've made probably several hundred times by now. Some of its "peculiarities" are: it contains pecans, it starts with melted butter (and the dough is made completely in the pot you melt the butter in), and it requires, at minimum, overnight chilling in the fridge. The finished cookies are on the smallish side if made strictly according to the recipe. They are very buttery and have a good combination of crunchy exterior and chewy interior. The timing has to be fairly precise.

I've spoken to Ms. Medrich about them once or twice, and, although the recipe just calls for chocolate chips, she recommended coverture.

--Josh

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Did you see the article in the NYT today on the ultimate CCC?  HERE'S the recipe.  Their tips:

-Refrigerate dough for up to 3 days (in fact they recommend 3 days)

-Make them 6" across - allows for crisp edge, gooey center and dense middle

-60% cocoa content chips, recommend couverture

-40-60% of cookie is chocolate

-Dorie recommends a sprinkle of sea salt at the end as well

They didn't mention the eGullet trick of browned butter which my customers have been raving about.  So, I'm going to incorporate these tips into Paul Raphael's recipe.  I'll report back (but it will take at least 3 days  :wink: )

I'm intersted in experimenting with the extended aging also. I have to admit that I've chilled the dough anywhere from a few hours to 48 hours (just out of convenience), and haven't noticed any difference in taste.

The sprinkle of sea salt sounds like an interesting addition; if I did this I might cut the amount of salt in the recipe (which in my recipe is abundant)

I don't at all like the idea of the huge amounts of chocolate, or of using dark chocolate. In most chocolate recipes I like to use the best, darkest chocolate possible, and to use as much of it as possible. But I found with chocolate chip cookies, when I arrived at a cookie dough that really tasted good, using lots of dark chocolate just competed with the flavor of the cookie. So with a really tasty base recipe, I cut back on the chocolate chips and use ones in the 50% to 60% cocoa solids range. If I'm using chopped couverture, I try not to get the crumbs and small pieces into the dough. They melt into the cookie and turn it into something else (Jacques Torres says he goes for this effect; I don't like it with my recipe).

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Go check out the crazy kids at Ideas in Food. They just posted an interesting technique for CCCs (or any other dough for that matter).

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Coincidentally I just pulled my first batch of NYT cookies - actually a hybrid of NYT (aged) and Paul Raphael (browned butter and muscovado) cookies. Taste is improved. They baked oddly though. They formed a skin faster than before, and the edges browned faster. I assumed they were done since I saw the brown edges - normally a sign for me that they are done. But when I bit into one it was uncooked. I'll have to bake longer and see if the edges overbake.

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I assumed they were done since I saw the brown edges - normally a sign for me that they are done.  But when I bit into one it was uncooked.  I'll have to bake longer and see if the edges overbake.

Yeah, I noticed that with the NYT cookies. I made the dough and baked it off in batches over time, from 24 to 72 hours. The more the dough was aged, the darker it appeared when baked. I ended up lightly touching the cookies to check firmness to assess doneness. However, the taste was never burned or overcooked and I am extremely happy with the recipe.

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Yeah, I noticed that with the NYT cookies. I made the dough and baked it off in batches over time, from 24 to 72 hours. The more the dough was aged, the darker it appeared when baked. I ended up lightly touching the cookies to check firmness to assess doneness. However, the taste was never burned or overcooked and I am extremely happy with the recipe.

Lora, I'm glad you like the recipe, and you bring up a very good point, which I only briefly mentioned in the article: The longer the dough rests, the darker the cookie. Thanks for making it very clear for eG's bakers.

David

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Which recipe do you think would give me a big yet sturdy cookie that would keep well for 2 days?

I made a huge batch of the brown butter muscovado cookies four days in advance of needing them. Kept in a sealed plastic container they stayed completely fresh. I like them better at four days than I did right out of the oven.

I live in a culinary wasteland, and so on the way back from a dr. appt. for a kid, stopped at a "fancy" coop, and they didn't have the muscovado, but what they did have was "Fair Trade Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi." Will that approximate, or should I drive the extra few miles to a store I know will have it?

The browned butter really intrigues me. I have a dynamite Oatmeal Cookie that calls for browning the oats in butter (therefore browning the butter) which does make all of the difference in the world.

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sorry - you need muscovado. I tried all the different ones because muscovado is so expensive, but nothing was as good. I also tried putting in a bit of molasses, caramel flavoring, caramelizing my sugar first...no luck.

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sorry - you need muscovado.  I tried all the different ones because muscovado is so expensive, but nothing was as good.  I also tried putting in a bit of molasses, caramel flavoring, caramelizing my sugar first...no luck.

OK, this gives me a good excuse to burn up some gas and get some great cheese and other treats! (or, have my daughter get it since she is often near the Fancy Store.)

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Any idea what the dark muscovado would do?

I originally made them with dark muscovado; they worked fine but were just a bit too dark and molassesy (is that a word?) for my tastes. I felt that it overwhelmed the butter a bit.

Some might prefer it with the dark sugar; the only way to know is to try. I suggest substituting the sugars by volume instead of weight.

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I made the NYT dough 2 days ago. I scooped it into balls and stuck it in the fridge. I baked off a few today and they're really great. I used half white lily flour and half Bread flour.

gallery_25969_665_151278.jpg

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Would anyone be interested in testing the NYT recipe with all purpose flour? My bet is that it would end up the same as with the cake/bread flour combo. I suspect the author of the recipe copied Jaques Torres's use of the two flours, but Torres torres likely only uses that combination because he doesn't use AP for anything in his shop.

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Any idea what the dark muscovado would do?

flavor, color, chemical reaction with the leavening agents (due to acid in molasses)

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