Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My CURRENT New Favorite Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie

I know, again with the chocolate chip cookie?! Yes. I'm testing more recipes because I'm just not happy with the final results of my "The GREAT Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment" post.

Its tough when all of your recipe testers (aka, your family) give you different opinions. I wish everyone could just all agree on a favorite, but unfortunately that still hasn't happened yet!

And again, I'm talking about the CLASSIC chocolate chip cookie. I already know my favorite cookie, and its this one. It has chocolate chips in it, but I wouldn't call that a basic CCC. The whole wheat CCCs I tried a while ago where good but even they are a little too complex (with the addition of walnuts and shredded chocolate and the fact that they are part oat as well). Needless to say, I was still looking.

A few weeks ago I came across a compelling CCC recipe here (from In Jennie's Kitchen) that caught my eye. A few things intrigued my interest.

1) A lower amount of butter (flour/butter ratio of 2.25, just the same as the Harry's cookies I liked during my experiment)
2) A lower amount of egg than other classic CCC recipe's I've tried
3) The recipe called for molasses instead of brown sugar.
4) The important measurements were also given by weight!

I don't bake cookie recipes with an outrageous (or even semi-outrageous) amount of butter (going back to my healthy-baking routes) so I was excited to try this out. I wondered what less egg would do for the cookies, but my guesses were that it would be less cakey and wouldn't expand as much. 

The fact that there was molasses instead of brown sugar gets rid of the confusion on whether the recipe is calling for light brown sugar or dark brown sugar and all the qualms I have about measuring the stuff as well (packed or just lightly in there?!)

The sugar, butter, and flour were also given by weight which, upon noticing this, led me to send a big "hallelujah!" to the cookie gods :P
Even though I wanted to stay pretty true to the roots of the recipe, I did make some changes that I always do with my cookie recipes (thanks to "the" experiment). I always use kosher salt instead of normal salt,  use double the measure of imitation vanilla (almost always, there are exceptions), and refrigerate the dough before baking. Luckily, this recipe already called for the dough to be chilled, but instead of a time like 2 hours this one calls for chilling overnight! 
You can just call me "small-batch Carlyn" because, as always, I only made a 3rd of the batch (well, a full batch does make 36 3-inch cookies so I'm not completely crazy). I also made my cookies smaller because, ya know, you then can have more that way :P

Converting was easy; the only problem was the 1/3 of a teaspoon of baking soda which I measured by using 1/4 tsp+ 1/8 tsp. That's only 1/24 of a teaspoon off, so I think we're good :P

After the long 24 hour wait, it was time to bake these babies up. One thing I love about this recipe (out of many) is that each cookie comes out looking perfect!
Not a sad looking cookie in the bunch.
And they came out just as they were advertised--thick!
Give me a thin, greasy cookie and I'll give you a slap in the face. (Not really, but I honestly think thick doughy cookies are where it's at.)

One bite and I was in cookie heaven. So much so that I forgot to take a picture! I did, however, take a picture the next day so all is not lost. 
CHECK OUT THAT THICKNESS! And check out the goo!
This is a picture of a DAY OLD cookie that was not warmed up and it still has that amount of gooey-ness. Unreal. Now can you imagine how it was the day of?

The cookies developed a lovely shell and get a little toasty on the outside while the inside remains moist and absolutely amazing. 
The flavor is really unique; I love it! I think part of that "special" flavor is because I used imitation vanilla (see my experiment post if you don't know why I'm using imitation vanilla) or maybe the very long "marinating" time in the fridge, but who knows; its just a special cookie!
I took too many pictures but they all looked so good!
These cookies are thick, moist, crisp on the outside, and have such a special flavor. I don't know what else to say except for that these are for sure, without a doubt my favorite chocolate chip cookies and they'll be yours too*!
*Okay, so my mom likes my old favorite CCC better, but I don't believe it...I even asked her to tell me again once she tried another cookie only to get the same response. I'm just going to disregard her opinion because these ones really are the best; sorry mom!

And just because some of you out there might not want to make 36 3-inch cookies, I'll provide you with the scaled down recipe, plus my changes.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from In Jennie's Kitchen
Makes 16 cookies
1 1/3 cups flour (6 ounces)
1/3 teaspoon baking soda (1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter, softened (2.67 ounces)
2/3 cups sugar (5 ounces)
2 teaspoons molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon imitation vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate discs or bittersweet chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

2. Beat butter, sugar and molasses until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract.

3. Beat until well mixed. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate discs (or chips).

4. Let sit in refrigerator overnight before baking, and may be stored this way for up to two days. 

5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.

6. Gently form dough into 1 1/2 balls (about 35 grams each) and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13 minutes on middle rack. Do NOT over-bake!

7. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 2 more minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.

You will then be rewarded with the best CCC you've ever had :D

And one little note, I slightly over-baked my first batch since I made smaller cookies and was basing my bake time off of larger ones. They were magically delicious but just not as moist as I would have liked (pictured cookies are of correctly baked batch) so if you make your cookie balls about 1 to 1 1/2 inch sized then bake them for 13 minutes, no more no less! They won't look that browned but they're ready.

And remember how I thought that the less amount of egg would lead it to be less cakey? Well, I was wrong. These aren't any more or less cakey than any of my other favorite CCC recipes but I think the egg must have had something to do with that wonderful shell it forms. It was able to form that shell while the inside cooked just enough so that, as the cookies cooled, they didn't sink in the middle. As I said in my "experiment" post, all the ingredients for a CCC are primarily the same, its just the correct proportions that make a winner! 

And speaking of chocolate chip cookies, I was able to try out Chocolate Covered Katie's "Deep Dish Cookie Pie"!
One is always just a little bit skeptical when a recipe calls for only pureed beans as the "flour" in a recipe, but I've done it before so I wasn't too worried about the outcome. I was really surprised at how much the batter tasted like actual cookie dough! (And I couldn't resist putting a little vanilla extract in there; just for kicks)
I made a half batch ("Small-batch Carlyn", at your service!) in an 8-inch cake pan and it ended up taking about 30 minutes in the oven.
Then I felt like being a copycat and top my slice with a little bit of vanilla ice cream just like Katie did.
Oh, but look closer! That's not just any vanilla ice cream, that's my homemade vanilla-bean ice milk/yogurt!
Vanilla-beanie ice cream on my beanie cookie pie, oh yeahh. 

Then I felt the need to be even MORE of a copy-cat and drizzle some homemade chocolate sauce on top.
See the resemblance?
Of course, her picture looks a million times better but oh well :P

Anyway, the cookie pie was really good. It honestly tasted just like a cookie and even though the texture is not that of a cookie I loved it. My parents may have been a bit weird-ed out at first, but they liked it (and finished off the leftovers the next night)

I'm actually embarrassed to say that I had my 1/6 of the pie piece (pictured above) and then, throughout the night, proceeded to eat another 1/4 of the pie!

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I can't wait try her bean blondies now!

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