Chocolate Chip Cookies
It has taken me a really long time to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. And my guess is that my quest still isn’t over. I might think it is, but it seems like there’s always another one around the corner (and hey– no complaining here)!
I like to think of my journey to the perfect chocolate chip cookie as being symbolic of my journey as a cook and baker in general. You can see the progress I made in the kitchen overall by simply looking through the mistakes and improvements I made in the progression of my cookie recipes.
I started out making chocolate chip cookies from a grocery store mix. That’s a painful admission to make, but we all start somewhere, right?!
And then came the margarine phase. I had no clue that margarine wasn’t the same thing as butter. I mean… they were in the same grocery section, side by side. The boxes looked nearly identical. And the price of margarine was about half of the price of butter! At the time, I thought it was a no brainer! “Buttery Spread” all the way!
So, those cookie weren’t so great. They spread out all over the place, and left sort of a weird film in your mouth. Not good.
Then came the margarine + shortening. Which was actually a little better, even though it sounds worse. These baked perfectly when I was in Utah, but when I moved to Virginia they were a mess. I don’t know if it had something to do with altitude or what, but they haven’t worked for me on the East Coast. Plus… they kind of left a film in your mouth too.
In Virginia, I discovered actual butter. The taste of the recipe drastically improved (shocker), but I was still having a problem with too much spreading, even using a combination of butter + shortening. So I worked out a sort of “routine” involving chilling and stacking the dough. Sometimes that would get them just right, and other times they wouldn’t spread enough or they’d spread too much.
Here’s the deal with me and chilling: I don’t like to do it. And not for the reason you might think. I don’t mind the waiting. But I find that it makes the dough unpredictable. Dough that has chilled an hour bakes differently than dough chilled overnight. And dough chilled overnight bakes differently than dough chilled overnight and then left on the counter for 10 minutes. And so on, and so on.
So, I don’t like to chill the dough in most cases. Which means, I needed a solution that didn’t involve chilling.
It turns out that baking soda has everything to do with the spreading or not-spreading of cookies. I’d been experimenting with different baking soda measurements and methods for adding it when I came across this cookie recipe at Foodie Crush. I made her cookies, which turned out phenomenally. And, as she mentions in her post, the only notable difference between her recipe and lots of others is dissolving the baking soda before adding it to the dough.
So I gave it a whirl with the recipe I’d been developing for years, and what do you know? It worked! Perfectly! The chocolate chip cookies turned out exactly like I’ve always wanted them to! With no chilling, no weird film texture, a rich and buttery flavor, and the perfect amount of spreading. They are crispy, golden brown on the edges and chewy in the middle.
I have no idea what the chemistry is behind this method, but I can tell you that it WORKS. And it works every. single. time.
Cookies from Friends:
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