Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie 101, 201, so on and so forth.

If you've ever seen the "About Me" page, you would've read the bit about being "The Girl Who Makes Chocolate Chip Cookies."

After all that build up and a year-and-a-half's worth of frantic food blogging, I realised that there isn't ONE honest-to-God Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on the blog. Shame on me.

My excuse is that I make these little babies so often that I don't pause to take photos of the process. I've been making the TollHouse cookies since Time Immemorial (actually, 2002). They've almost never gone wrong on me and I don't believe in fixing things if they aren't (can't bring myself to say ain't) broken. Then the food-blog lifestyle happened.

And thus began my search for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in the Whole Wide World.

After much experimentation, the thing I've inferred is that term "Best" is purely subjective. I love my cookies to be cakey and chewy, with a high chocolate:cookie dough ratio. I don't do crisp, biscuit-type cookies. I'll scarf down packet after packet of Walkers' shortbread, of course. But if there was a plate of biscotti versus a plate of cookies, I'd be pigging out on the cookies.

As would my trusted merry band of guinea pigs.

"B****, please. Don't be up in my space when I'm watching ToyStory3 for the 1000th time."

P.S.: We eat rice by the sack-and-drum full. However, we do not let our kids swear. I swear.
Nigbe's "B****, please, I'm eating" poker face. The expert judges don't give anything away.

It's an easy recipe... that automatically means it's easy enough to screw up. I'll show you pictorially (and spare you the thousand words), on what you should and shouldn't do.

The butter has to be softened and at room temperature, as per Nestle Tollhouse's original CCC recipe. I heat my butter until it's just about melted; this helps to melt down the dark brown sugar and imparts a robust flavour to the cookies. It's boring to wait around for the butter to soften... even at Madras, where it takes about two minutes.

The recipe originally calls for an egg and a egg yolk. Since our Indian eggs have very little albumin, I dump two full eggs in. I suck at separating whites and yolks, anyway.

Use the darkest demerara sugar you can find. Light brown sugar works, not as good as dark though. Not only does it stay a little granulated, giving your cookies some crunch, it melts into a delicious, chewy caramel goodness. As for the white sugar, use granulated, not powdered!

For cakey cookies, use All-Purpose flour (maida). Alton Brown recommends Bread Flour only, the NY Times recommends a blend of Bread flour and Cake flour, but this is a moot point at Madras. For authentic cookies, use AP flour. You can experiment with wholewheat once you master basic CCCs.

Oooh. The most important part. The chocolate chips. Could you buy a log of disgusting cooking chocolate and chop it into chunks? No.

Could you throw in whatever chocolate you have on hand? The pre-made chocolate chips you find at Nilgris and other supermarkets? HELL, no.

No. No. No. No. And no.

Use only chocolate that you love eating. It doesn't work otherwise. And make sure you chop big fat chunks out of it. Since I found Galaxy Smooth chocolate bars on sale, I bought eight bars of it, ate four, and used the remaining for these cookies. How I wish I were lying.

I've used milk and dark chocolate chips in the ratio of 2:1. It gets too sickeningly sweet, otherwise.

Beat the eggs, sugar and butter as much as you want. After you add in the flour, chocolate chips and other random mix-ins, get a hold of yourself.

Always, always, always add salt. Eat the cookie dough, if you don't feel very strongly about Salmonella. Even if you don't have the time to refrigerate it for 24 to 36 hours, stow it in the fridge for at least half an hour. It is a whole lot less messy and has a deeper flavour that way.

That texture, that grittiness, that colour, that's what you want.

Browned edges, pale-ish centre. That's the cookie cooked. Let it cool for a couple of minutes before you take it off the pan/sheet.

Ooooh. Yes.

Cool completely on a wire rack before you throw it in an air-tight box. Remember, baked cookies keep up to three days. If you freeze the dough in the form of balls, in a Ziploc bag, it lasts for a couple of months. Refrigerating cookie dough is permissible for up to 5 days.

Nothing like a plate full of freshly baked cookies, though. That's Love, that is.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe:
(Adapted from Baking Illustrated)


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1.5 cups milk and dark chocolate chunks.
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped. (optional)


Preheat the oven to 325 F or 160 C. Line a baking tin with aluminium foil. You don't have to grease it.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well and keep aside.

In another bowl, melt the butter and let it turn lukewarm. Add in the sugars and beat for around 2 minutes. Blend in the eggs and vanilla essence until combined.

Now add in the flour mix. It's better to fold in by hand, but if you must use the beater, do it at the lowest speed and STOP when it's moderately combined.

Stir in the nuts (if using) and chocolate chips.

At this point, refrigerate the cookie dough (after eating several spoonfuls raw, of course) for at least half an hour. Using a ice-cream scoop or a soup spoon/ladle type thing, form balls out of the cookie dough.

You can Saran/cling-film wrap the bowl with the dough in it, so that it doesn't absorb any of the refrigerator smells.

Place about 1/4 cup worth of cookie dough on the sheet. Space the cookies, as they tend to spread and bake.

Bake for 15 minutes and check if the edges are mildly brown and hard. The centres have to be puffy, soft and tan. Rotate the sheet once during the baking process so that all of the cookies get equal heat.

Take it out and cool it on the sheet for 2 minutes. Let it completely cool on the wire rack.



This is fun variation I found at Kevin and Amanda's site when I had a hankering for Red Lobster's Chocolate Chip Cookie Lava Cake.

It's supremely simple.

You can do this in a muffin tin or biscuit tin. Press down about quarter cup of cookie dough. Add a square or two of chocolate.

Stuff back with more cookie dough.

Bake away until the edges are golden brown! After a minute or two, turn out the cookie/cake monstrosity (in a GREAT way).

Serve with vanilla ice cream and fudgy sauce of your choice.

This is Lust. This is.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I guess the dish has already become a hit ......... your creativity is genuine and amazing..... love it....
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