I love the America’s Test Kitchen show, Cook’s Illustrated, and their books The Best Recipe (thanks, St. Heave) and The Best Recipe:
Soups and Stews because they take a very deterministic approach to cooking.
I recently checked out The Dessert Bible from the library because I was interested in their analysis of chocolate chip cookies. The recipe is significant because I used to bring chocolate chip cookies in to work once or twice a month to help motivate my development team. I’ve made several variations of the recipe, was never totally happy with it.
Their “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” recipe is very good. The two major revelations were to mix everything by hand and use Crisco for some of the fat. I have to admit that I’m a bit uneasy about deliberately putting hydrogenated stuff into my food, but the texture is much improved. Besides, chocolate chip cookies aren’t exactly health food.
Another thing worth mentioning is the butter and eggs need to be at room temperature (about 68°F) for the best volume. For butter, this means you should take the stick out at least two hours prior to cooking. The eggs can be immersed in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
It’s also important to use baking powder instead of baking soda. Baking powder, which contains baking soda, has higher acidity, which helps the cookie set quickly.
Here’s the recipe:
Chocolate Chip Cookies — Source: The Dessert Bible
8 T (one stick) butter
1/4 C Crisco
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
2 T vanilla extract
1 egg white
2 C + 2 T flour flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 bag of Ghiradelli or Guittard chocolate chips
1 C of chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Mash the butter and Crisco with a wooden spoon until mostly smooth. Add the brown and white sugar and stir until blended.
- Add the egg, egg white, and vanilla and stir until smooth.
- In a separate bowl (or a large measuring cup), whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir this into the batter until smooth.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spoon tablespoon sized globs about 1 1/2″ apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Cook for 6 minutes, then rotate the pans. Cook another six minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.
- Slide the parchment paper onto a wire rack and cool.
Not sure if you get Food Network, but there was an episode of Good Eats where Alton basically disassembled a chocolate chip recipe in a scientific manner, and then went on to whip out three different recipes that by small modifications of the ingredients produced cookie in a full spectrum of texture and moistness.
I have the cheapie “basic cable” which doesn’t include the food network. That’s a great article.
I’m having flashbacks at that URL because I worked at the company that built the content management software they use. The last part of the URL, 0,1976,FOOD_9956_17114,00.html is a dead giveaway:
First digit: 0 = static page, 1 = dynamic page.
Second sequence: 1976 is the template number.
Third is a unique tag for the page. This is freeform, and they’re likely supporting multiple sites with it.
Fourth sequence, 00, is a browser generic page. The original idea was we were going to have pages for different kinds of browsers so you could conceivably design a page for webtv that wouldn’t water down the later generation browsers. The numbers would change based on browser detection, which was imperfect. No one really used this feature much.
Comments are closed.