Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Debates

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For a little chocolate chip introduced in 1939, there sure is a lot of activity around it, even after all these years.  And why not?  They are the icon of American cookies.  Over the years, everyone has made their own variation on the recipe and they all proclaim to be the best.  Really.  And truly, is there anything quite like that original recipe and those original chips in the iconic yellow bag?  I'll be the first to admit that I love the Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chips.  They are a little bigger and melt so smooth. And years of experimenting have told me that the milk chips and any addition of butterscotch is a bad idea.  I made a browned butter version for Secret Recipe Club once, as a giant cookie, the picture is below.  It was delicious, but not the "best".  I am always adding whole wheat flour and oatmeal to up the nutrition factor, but they aren't really a Tollhouse.

Back in the 80's, I worked for Procter & Gamble, and sold Crisco.  At one time it was the #1 selling item in the American grocery store.  Hard to believe right?  Especially at a time when obesity was not an epidemic.  I think it represents a time when the American housewife cooked dinner for her family every night.  No super-size fries, no liters of soda, no convenience size everything.  But, I digress.  The Crisco version of chocolate chip cookie produces a very soft and fluffy cookie.  Tasteless, however.  Nothing tastes like real butter.

So over the holiday break, Nic made chocolate chip cookies.  They were so fluffy, and didn't taste like a traditional Tollhouse.  He followed the recipe, and everyone wondered how this happened.  Where were those flat and crispy/chewy cookies?  I have decided that he must have overbeat the dough after adding the eggs.  An easy mistake when you use a stand mixer.  So of course I had to remake them and show him how it's done!

I decided to make Spago's recipe for Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  It makes more, has a little higher ratio of brown sugar, more butter, but the chip amount is the same.  Just 12 oz.  That wouldn't work at all.  I just happened to have a small amount of unsweetened chips from Guittard.  Now before you go "eww", let it be known, these chips are amazing.  They have no sugar, but are edible just the way they are.  They taste like CHOCOLATE!  And then I decided to swap out the brown sugar for muscovado sugar at the suggestion of a customer.  That I probably won't do again, it just doesn't taste like brown sugar.  But let me tell you, these cookies were fantastic!  I believe it was the higher ratio of butter to flour, more brown sugar than white, and definitely the addition of the unsweetened chips.  Here's the recipe as I made them:

Chocolate Chip Cookies 
adapted from Spago Chocolate

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup Muscovado sugar (use light brown sugar)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces Giradelli Chips (semisweet or bittersweet)
6 ounces Guittard unsweetened chips

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add vanilla and incorporate well.  Add eggs and mix until blended.  Add flour, soda and salt and mix until just combined.  Fold in chips.

Bake at 350 on parchment paper for about 9 minutes.  Move trays around halfway through baking to ensure they are evenly baked.  Cool on rack.  YUM!  So, what are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake!

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