Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cookie Update

Some success. But now, more questions.

So, these cookies were moderately flat and chewy/crispy. Approaching my preferred cookie texture. Which, is very exciting. I will definitely enjoy eating these cookies. Prior to baking the cookies this time, I tested the oven temperature and found that (1) my oven lies when it says that it is preheated and (2) my oven is about 25 degrees too hot. So, I baked these at a lower temperature after it was actually preheated. That made a big difference in the cookie performance. Also, I didn't cook them as much (I left them softer and lighter) and that was also a good thing. Before, I kept hoping if I cooked them longer, they would flatten out, but obviously that didn't happen. Of course, now the question is would the original recipe have turned out better if I had baked the cookies at the right temperature.

Bottom line, I still don't like the flavor of the dough as much as the toll house cookies. Next time I'm going to try and make the toll house cookies with the darker chips and sea salt.

Did you find that resting the dough actually makes a difference?

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Sarah said...

Yes, I think resting the dough does make a difference. In the original article which accompanied the recipe one person says the dough tastes better after resting 36 hours or more. Another person says resting the dough allows "the dough and other ingredients to fully soak up the liquid — in this case, the eggs — in order to get a drier and firmer dough, which bakes to a better consistency.” The article even said that the originator of the Toll House recipe rested her dough overnight.

The author of the article tested the resting and decided it did make a difference. "To put the technique to the test, one batch of the cookie dough recipe given here was allowed to rest in the refrigerator. After 12, 24, and 36 hours, a portion was baked, each time on the same sheet pan, lined with the same nonstick sheet in the same oven at the same temperature.

At 12 hours, the dough had become drier and the baked cookies had a pleasant, if not slightly pale, complexion. The 24-hour mark is where things started getting interesting. The cookies browned more evenly and looked like handsomer, more tanned older brothers of the younger batch. The biggest difference, though, was flavor. The second batch was richer, with more bass notes of caramel and hints of toffee.

Going the full distance seemed to have the greatest impact. At 36 hours, the dough was significantly drier than the 12-hour batch; it crumbled a bit when poked but held together well when shaped. These cookies baked up the most evenly and were a deeper shade of brown than their predecessors. Surprisingly, they had an even richer, more sophisticated taste, with stronger toffee hints and a definite brown sugar presence. At an informal tasting, made up of a panel of self-described chipper fanatics, these mature cookies won, hands down."

My experience mirrored the article author's. Resting 24 hours made the cookies prettier - more even and less cracking, but didn't seem to affect taste. But resting 36 hours or more caused the dough to gain a toffee/caramel essence that it previously lacked.

Rebecca said...

Well, drat. I used up all the dough baking cookies last night, so I won't be able to try the longer resting time for myself for a little while. I tried it with the first batch, but they were all weird, so who can say what impact it had.

I'm going to try making toll house cookies with the fancier chocolate and sea salt soon and I will see what I think.

Also, I agree with David, in that I don't want to wait a couple of days for cookies. Usually if I'm going to bother making cookies it's because I want cookies. Like in the next hour. Not two days from now. So, maybe they taste better if I rest the dough, but since I don't make cookies every day, I'm not usually going to have the patience for it.

Sarah said...

We usually make one 6-cookie batch right away, then another 6-cookie batch 24 hours later, finally another 6-cookie batch at the optimal 48 hour mark. Occasionally we've been able to stretch those first six cookies to last two days so we get 12 cookies at the 48 hour mark. They really are much better.

David just made a batch for a faculty party and they got rave reviews. One of the more specific complements concerned the ratio of dough to chips, which is something for which I can take complete credit. The NYT recipe calls for 20 oz., but ever since the first batch I've only used 11.5 oz. I think the benefits of the higher dough to chip ratio only really come into play after 36 hours of resting the dough, since that's when the dough is really amazing and can hold its own against the dark chocolate. Are you using 20 oz. or 11.5 oz.?

Rebecca said...

I used about 15 ounces or so - not all of the second bag. I think that using all would be crazy. I could try it with less. I made some toll house cookies tonight with the darker chips and the sea salt. I like them better, but I didn't rest the ny times cookies for as long as I was supposed to. Bottom line is, I like the toll house cookies because it's what I think of when I think of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Also, I'm not going to wait three days and have bread floor and cake floor on hand for the cookies. I like the old simple, instant recipe.