I have seen numerous threads on the various forums I belong to, searching for the quintessential chocolate chip cookie. The purpose of this article isn't to tell you the recipe I think is best, but to give tips and pointers on how and why cookies turn out the way they do..
The Best, Big Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Cookies usually have five basic characteristics. The desired outcome dictates the recipe components.
the characteristics are: Crispness, Softness, Chewiness and Spread
Crisp cookies are low in moisture. Softness is the opposite of crispness. Sometimes we confuse chewiness with softness, HOWEVER, all chewy cookies are soft, but not all soft cookies are chewy. Spread is basically how much the cookie holds it shape.
snickerdoodles (one of my faves)
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR COOKIE CHARACTERISTICS
***Most crisp cookies come from a stiff dough. There is a low proportion of liquid compared to other ingredients
***Crisp cookies have a high sugar and fat content
***longer baking time, evaporates more moisture in the recipe
***small size, cookies dries out faster during baking
***proper storage, if cookies are stored where they can absorb moisture they can become soft
***Hi proportion of liquid compared to other ingredients
***low sugar and fat
***include honey,molasses or corn syrup. these ingredients absorb moisture so they support a softer cookie
***underbaking the cookie will allow it to remain soft. Less moisture is lost
***larger size (also thicker) cookies retain more moisture
***soft cookies should be stored tightly covered or they can dry out
***High sugar/liquid, but low fat
***High proportion of eggs
***strong flour or gluten developed during mixing
***high sugar increases spread. regular granulated sugar (as compared to confectioners or superfine sugar) increases spread, like little ball bearings
***high leavening content (baking soda and/or powder) encourages spread
***the amount of "creaming" the sugar and fat increases spread. If you cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy your cookies will spread more that if you take the same recipe and creamed those ingredients less
***low oven temp increases spread. Higher temps cause the cookie to "set up" faster before it has a chance to spread
***a thinner batter (high liquid content) spreads more than a stiffer batter
***strong flour or gluten developed decreases spread (using the same recipe with cake or pastry flour instead of all purpose will cause the cookies to spread more)
These tips are not all inclusive to every recipe ever developed, but they can certainly help you determine what a recipe should turn out like. On the recipe linked to above (Big, Fat, Chewy) I can point out 3 things that contribute to its chewiness.
1. one added yolk
2. more brown sugar than white sugar
3. the butter is melted, which caused the butter and sugar to just be mixed and not creamed
In addition, the baking recommendation is for 325 degrees and a 1/4 cup scoop..
Now, I just had the sudden urge to bake chocolate chip cookies! Stay tuned for troubleshooting tips!
Samele Thorner 2010 All rights reserved
This material may not be reproduced without the author's permission.