Archive for January, 2010

Discovering Unconditionally Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


This post is a look at the beginning of my search…

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic. Even though they may be a simple dessert, there are certain aspects that make up the ideal chocolate chip cookie. In my opinion, the ideal chocolate chip cookie should be crispy when you bite into them and have a soft interior. It should not be hard so it breaks into crumbs when broken, but on the contrary not too chewy or doughy. There should be a balance between the dough and chocolate, so that there are chocolate chips in every bite, but it does not seem like a chocolate cookie. The texture should be smooth, meaning the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the cookie, and not gritty. The cookie should not be noticeably salty, but rather a sweet treat. The recipe should also be easy to make, so you can show off your best chocolate chip cookie without needing to plan ahead.

We, highly-qualified food critics and taste-testers, chose four different chocolate chip cookie recipes, each with very similar ingredients. The similarities between them made judging the individual “special ingredients” easier.  The basic ingredients include: all-purpose flour, butter, salt, white and brown sugar, and semi- sweet chocolate chips. A wide range of reviews was one of the key elements we researched for online. Reviews give proof that the recipe was not just made up, and it has been made before. Many reviews show the recipe’s popularity, which means it must be pretty good for so many people to be making it. Reviews sometimes have comments about how to improve the recipe, or what the person likes or dislikes about their results, which are very helpful.

The first cookie, called “Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie”, acted as our control for the experiment. It contains all the basic ingredients and no variable. The only difference was that this recipe uses two egg yolks and one white, while the others all use two whole eggs. The “Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie Crispers”, cookie #2, uses Panko Japanese bread crumbs in addition to the basic ingredients. It seems as if the goal in this recipe is a crispy cookie, which is one of the qualities we are looking for as long as the cookie is still soft.  The “Emma White” Cookies, #3, are made with unsweetened chocolate mixed in with the butter, and sour cream. Softness is probably the key goal in this recipe. The “ABC (Absolute Best Chewy) Chocolate Chippers”, #4, are made with small amount of dark corn syrup and half-and-half cream. The test here is to see if the corn syrup and half-and half have an effect on how chewy the cookies are, but hopefully they are not too sticky.

After tasting and rating the four chocolate chip cookies, I came to a realization. It is very hard to make a bad chocolate chip cookie, but it is still possible to critique them. The first cookie, easy to make, with only the basic ingredients, was very chocolaty. There seemed to be too many chocolate chips for the amount of dough, so it was hard to tell whether the texture was good. Fresh out of the oven, they were very soft, but eating the cookies seemed like biting into a mound of melted chocolate. The “Secret Ingredient” Cookies turned out to be a success, and were no harder to make than typical cookie dough. I never would have thought to put bread crumbs in cookies, but they actually enhanced the cookies, making them crispier. The first day they were very soft, and even melted in my mouth, but the texture with the bread crumbs was not gritty, in contrast to my original thoughts. I also thought the ratio of chocolate chips to dough was good. In cookie #3, the sour cream gave it a smooth texture. The bittersweet chocolate, however, gave it a sharper, more bitter taste. Melting the bittersweet chocolate in the butter made the recipe more difficult to make, but did not improve the flavor. The sour cream also had to be mixed in after all the other ingredients so it was hard to integrate the sour cream into the dough evenly. The “ABC” cookies, #4, had a nice texture and ratio of chocolate chips to dough. The flavor was good, but I could taste the flour a little bit. There may have been too much, or it wasn’t mixed in enough. They were easy to make, and overall had a good consistency.

My overall ratings from best to not as good are as follows: in first place, “Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie Crispers”, in second place “ABC (Absolute Best Chewy) Chocolate Chippers”, third place “Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie”, and finally “Emma White Chocolate Chip Cookies”.

Even though my favorite chocolate chip cookie was the “Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie Crispers” out of the four, alterations could definitely be made.  I like the smoothness from the sour cream, the crispiness from the Panko bread crumbs, and the chewiness from the dark corn syrup. The consistent mix of dark brown and white sugars had a positive effect making the dough chewy, and not too hard. The ratio of chocolate chips to dough was good in all but cookie #1, as previously mentioned. In conclusion, I feel that none of these recipes are the absolute best recipes, as some of them claim in their titles, but the different ingredients used in them can be very helpful in creating unconditionally perfect chocolate chip cookies.

Here’s the link for the Secret Ingredient Cookie Crispers Recipe: