bellwether: (Default)
Recently, the New York Times featured an article on the Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. This quest starts with the Tollhouse cookie recipe, off the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag, an easily defendable starting point. Millions of bakers have successfully made these cookies to delighted oohs and ahhs.

It turns out, Nestle left a key instruction out of Mrs. Wakefield's (the owner of the Toll House Inn, where the cookie recipe originated) original recipe. Practically, this instruction would not have been well received by many home bakers--specifically, the step that was left out was to let the prepared batter age to allow the flour to fully hydrate. Additionally, the NYT recipe suggested the addition of a sprinkling of sea salt on the cookies.

A and I tested the NYT recipe, testing the cookies resulting from batter aged 0 hours, 24 hours, and 36 hours. This was a real chore, I can tell you. At 0 hours, the cookies spread very easily in the oven, resulting in a thin chewy cookie--the principal difference at this point from the Tollhouse recipe is the salty sweet finish.

At 24 hours, the cookies were noticeably different. The chilled batter did not spread out, and as the NYT recipe suggested, there were distinct layers of crispy, chewy, and soft cookie. The cookies was also more golden brown. The 36 hours cookies were similar, but developed a much darker uniform golden color. In comparision, the 0 hour cookies were pale tan orbs.

Overally, in flavor, the 24 hour cookies and 36 hour cookies were not sufficiently different to warrant an additional 12 hours of waiting. Frankly, the 0 hour cookies were delicious, and perfectly acceptable. The sea salt sprinkling was fantastic, and I'll be incorporating that into other baked goods. This is definitely my new go-to cookie recipe!


bellwether: (Default)

May 2009

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