Monday, December 9, 2013

What I Ate: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

My sister will tell you that I have been obsessing over what I call "school cafeteria chocolate chip cookies" forever (or since I've last had access to them, which was back in high school). She will attest to how annoying I've been. I've tried countless chocolate chip cookie recipes and none of them have passed the test. Even Phoebe Buffay's grandmother's recipe (a.k.a. Nestle Tollhouse cookies) don't cut it for me. I wanted cookies that were somewhat thin with a good crunch around the outside, a chewy center, mini chocolate chips, and a crackled texture. Do you know the type of cookie I'm describing? Yes? No? I mean, doesn't every public school in America serve the exact same chocolate chip cookies?

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this recipe through the Savory Sweet Life blog (by googling, "best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever"). I read through the directions, looked at the photos and thought to myself, Hm, these could be the ones. So, I made a batch and guess what? This cookie was exactly what I'd been looking for, hooray! Just to reiterate, I take absolutely no credit for this recipe (though I wish I could). I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Savory Sweet Life. Thanks, Alice!
Ingredients:
2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 oz. all purpose flour (approximately 3 cups)*
¾ teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
2¼ cups chocolate chips (or as many as you'd like)**

*12 oz. by weight! I didn't think I had to clarify this, but I had someone comment (you can see the comment below) that 12 oz. is only 1-1/2 cups. This is true when you're measuring water but not when you are measuring flour. When dry ingredients are quantified in ounces, it's by weight. When wet ingredients are quantified in ounces, it's by volume. Didn't think I had to clear that up, but apparently I do!

**I use mini chocolate chips because that's just what I prefer in my cookies. I'm not the biggest fan of chocolate. I also used a bit less than the recipe called for (about 2/3 of the bag) because I wanted a more even ratio of chips to cookie in every bite and my sweet tooth is on the smaller side (despite how it may seem based on the number of desserts I share on this blog) so I didn't want the cookies to be overly chocolatey. If you're a big chocolate fan, might I suggest chocolate chunks?

To make the batter, cream the butter and both the granulated and brown sugar for a few minutes until really light and fluffy. This is a crucial part of the process; the butter/sugar mix must be light and fluffy. Then whip in the eggs and vanilla, mixing for another few minutes. Stir in the dry ingredients; just dump in the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder all at once. Then mix in the chocolate chips.

Spoon or scoop the cookies onto parchment paper. Don't use silpat! You need the closer contact to the metal sheet pans to give the cookies their crunchy parts and golden brown color.
I used a medium sized cookie scoop. P.S. You can see my reflection in the scooper.
Give the cookies plenty of room to spread out. By the way, you can scoop out the cookies and freeze the dough if you're not keen on baking all of the cookies at once. I scooped the batter out on a sheet pan, stuck the entire sheet pan in the freezer. Once the dough was frozen through, I dumped the little spheres into a ziplock bag. When you want to indulge, just defrost the dough at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes and then throw them in the oven and follow the directions below.
Bake the cookies in a 350F oven for 12 minutes (set a timer) or until the edges start to turn a lovely golden color. You'll notice that after about 8 minutes, they'll poof up a bit and then after about 10 minutes, they'll start to deflate, and as you reach 12 minutes, the edges will get more and more brown and crisp and amazing.
Here's the weirdest but most crucial part. Let the cookies cool on the hot sheet pan for 2 minutes and then remove the cookies (still on the parchment, just lift the whole thing) and place on a non-porous surface (like your countertops) for 3 minutes. I think this odd cooling technique is what gives the cookies their crisp edges and chewy interiors.
After you've endured the longest 5 minutes of your life, pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy. These cookies, man. The texture is the best balance of crispy and chewy (I'm sure the chewy factor is related to the brown sugar content), the sea salt is just perfect, I just, I can't even, these make me so happy.
Here's my "cookie anatomy" diagram that shows you the components of my ideal chocolate chip cookie: you know, the school cafeteria type of chocolate chip cookie. By the way, when I say "flat," I don't mean like a crispy thin wafer; I mean that the cookies are pretty much a uniform disk and not overly poofed up in the center.
You can try and debate with me on whether or not this is the best chocolate chip cookie, but you will lose.
xoxo.

5 comments:

  1. I noticed you said 12oz. (Approximately 3 cups). But 12 oz. is 1 1/2 cups. I think you meant 3 cups? I tried 12 oz. and they were too thin. Thanks for the recipe though.

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    Replies
    1. 1 cup of flour is around 4.5 oz. so 12 oz. is just shy of 3 cups. My kitchen scale confirms it! :)

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    2. Here's a little more proof that 12 oz. is close to 3 cups http://www.thekitchn.com/weight-conversions-for-flour-sugar-and-other-common-baking-ingredients-171316

      I wonder, did you zero out your scale when you were adding the flour? Perhaps you were also weighing your measuring cups. Also, when you scoop flour, ideally, you should use a spoon to scoop flour into the cup and then level it off so it's not necessarily packed in.

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  2. Omg! I hope this is it! Been experimenting with different recipes for years just to be able to have that good old high school cafeteria chocolate chip cookie again. I thought it was just me!

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    Replies
    1. This one is really, really good. It's my ideal cookie. I hope it's to your taste as well! :):):) Thanks so much for reading!

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