Jul 21 2008
By now many of you may have already read New York Times article about the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
The jury is still out on where exactly the best cookie can be found, but they seem to believe that when baking the perfect cookie, 36 hours of resting time for the dough are necessary.
So, I figured I’d try things out for myself. I used the Nestle Toll House original chocolate chip cookie recipe and substituted sugar with fructose and brown sugar with pal sugar. Granted, I am not using brown sugar, so my dough does not change colors as dramatically as theirs, but I can tell you that there was definitely a noticeable difference!
I photographed the dough and made cookies in intervals of 12 hours: at 0 hours (right after mixing the ingredients together), at 12 hours, at 24 hours, and at 36 hours. All cookies were baked on the same tray with new parchment paper, at the same temperature, and for exactly 11 minutes. Then, they were all cooled for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, and transfered to a wire rack to continue to cool an extra 5 minutes while I stared at them impatiently.
(from left to right: dough after 0 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, and 36 hours)
See how the dough changes color and consistency and starts to get darker less creamy?
I was really surprised to see how the cookie baked differently each time, getting a slightly crisp shell and having a defined outer ring that was darker. I also noticed that after 24 hours the cookies tasted dramatically better – sweeter & richer. But, by 36 hours the cookies had transformed into fabulous caramely, chocolaty cookies.
(from left to right: cookies after 0 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, and 36 hours)
My husband and I also did a “blind” taste test (“blind” as in we didn’t know which cookies were which, but we were not blind folded) to see if we could tell the difference.
So, how did they stack-up to one another??
(from left to right: cookeis after 0 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, and 36 hours)
Flavor wise, the 36 hours cookie was the winner in my taste test, and the 0 hour cookie was my favorite in consistency. My cookies became a bit cakey the longer the dough sat, and I like soft creamy cookies.
For my husband, his favorite was the 12 hour cookie, followed by the 24 hours cookie. He only tested for consistency and feel, and not flavor…and he had eaten too many cookies to want to start over again for flavor.
Anyways, my conclusion is that the 36 hours are really worth waiting.
And, to be honest: it was VERY hard to be in the vicinity of raw cookie dough that I couldn’t bake…I just wanted cookies!
Even more importantly, I learned that making my cookies with 1/4 cup worth of cookie dough instead of 1 tablespoon’s worth give a more diverse cookie with a slightly crisp outer edge, a cakey second inner layer, and a deliciously soft and creamy center. I ended up with 9-inch cookies, and they were perfect.
So, how do you speed up the process when you just don’t have that much time?? I haven’t tried this out, but if you have a vacuum sealer, the people at Ideas in Food show how it can be done in about 3 hours. Once I try it I will let you know how they turn out! But, for know, we are all chocolate chip cookied out (I know, how can that be possible???).