Monday, August 24, 2015

A tale of three cookies: my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes

Over the past couple of years, I have made a conscious effort to try out new chocolate chip cookie recipes. It is one of my all-time favorite things to eat and I realized that I did not have a go-to recipe.

I am definitely of the "cakey-chewy" chocolate chip cookie camp rather than the "thin-crispy" camp, but I have respect for both. While trying out recipes, I found along the way a 3rd category: the rather grown-up salted dark chocolate chip cookie. 

I was introduced to this cookie over dinner at Delancey restaurant in Seattle. At dessert time, we (my sister, my brother-in-law and myself), each ordered a different dessert. My brother -in-law selected the fresh baked chocolate chip cookie with gray salt. I was intrigued. He said it was a very good cookie.

Fast forward four months later and I looked up on Molly's blog, Orangette, to see if the cookie recipe was shared there. Molly and her husband own Delancey and she details the experience opening the restaurant in her book Delancey. It is a beautiful read. As the daughter of former owners of a pizza restaurant, she captures the elation and anxiety of restaurant life perfectly. I found that yes (!) the recipe is on the blog. It was a bit fiddly, but I was happy to persevere. It was a very good cookie, but did not ring all the bells for me. (I suspect this to be user error on my part. As it was the first salted chocolate chip cookie I attempted, my skills may have been a bit off. I plan to revisit the recipe in the future.)

I kept making cookies. Somehow in the chocolate chip cookie internet universe, I stumbled into the cookie recipes by bon appetit and the chewy chocolate chip cookie by Alton Brown. The 3rd recipe is by Ashley Rodriguez of the blog Not Without Salt and the (wonderful- can't recommend enough) cookbook "Date Night". If you've heard of this 3rd recipe before, it is because I think it would be difficult not to. A few months back the internet fairly blew up about it, and unlike so many other things breaking the internet, this one is well worth it's fame.

Entering my chocolate chip cookie experiment, I expected to emerge with one clear winner, but instead I fell in love with all three recipes. A highlight from this summer is when I made all three cookies and brought them into work for a tasting, with my colleagues voting on their favorite. That was  a really fun Friday. Below I provide a description of each cookie and a link to the recipes. These are my absolute all-time favorite recipes and I have made each of them multiple times. If you try them out, I'd love to hear which is your winner! Or, feel free to comment with your favorite recipe too. 

Salty chocolate chunk cookies- Bon Appetit

This cookie reminds me very much of strachiatella ice cream. It is a thinner cookie but still has enough chewiness to it. The recipe title says "chunk" but, using a serrated knife, I almost shave the chocolate off the chocolate bar and achieve a dough that is splintered through with dark chocolate ribbons. If you're looking for a chocolate chip cookie to make ice cream sandwiches with, I think this cookie would be the best one. Recipe here

Chewy chocolate chip cookie- Alton Brown, Food Network

This recipe was the (close) winner of the chocolate chip cookie tasting at work. It is the one that I crave and is the little black dress of chocolate chip cookies, a real recipe book staple. It achieves heights of chewy greatness by dialing up the gluten content using bread flour. Clearly genius, clearly Alton Brown. Recipe here. Of the three cookies, this cookie has the best shelf life. So, if you're looking to make a cookie for a weeks worth of lunch box packing, I'd recommend this recipe. (Please note: the written online recipe uses weighted measurement, but if you watch the accompanying video segment, it will provide standard measurements.)

Salted dark chocolate chip cookie- Ashley Rodriguez

This is the cookie that caused my non-chocolate chip cookie eating husband to say "I really love this cookie". It is a recipe involving three kinds of sugar and you need to let it rest in the fridge overnight. No matter that hassle, there is very little that I wouldn't do for this cookie. Yes, it is that good. It has this wonderful slightly shatter-y bite on the outside (I suspect from all the sugar) and yet is bound together with just enough dough to give it some chewy heft. Swoon. I think this is the cookie that I should make a batch of dough up, pre-portion into individual cookie dough balls, and freeze so that at any one time I could bake off a couple of cookies for a Friday night or a half dozen for dinner guests. The problem is, I don't have that kind of self-control. Just google this recipe and you will find many others across this great internet of ours as equally besotted. Recipe here and here. (I have provided links to Ashley Rodriguez post but also Deb at Smitten Kitchen because Deb's writing is just so darn good.) 

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