Monday, March 19, 2012

The Progression of an Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

So I had this internal monologue one day week before last:
Is it kind of weird that I'm not that into chocolate chip cookies?
Yeah, that's weird.
Jake LOVES them, but not me.
I hardly even like his favorite: the Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookie.
I wonder if I could make one that we both like.
How does one even go about starting a recipe like that?
Apparently, one starts with a recipe and just changes it from there. At least one does if one is me.

I started with my basic biscotti recipe, since biscotti are cookies, and just added some vanilla. Except not forming it into a log and only baking once, of course.

  • 5 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 3/8 c sugar
  • 1/4 c butter, room temp
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Nestle dark chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/2 t cacao nibs

Jake liked them, but, as I predicted, they weren't sweet enough for me. Did I mention he's super picky about everything except chocolate chip cookies? Seriously, he is crazy-particular about his pizza, his popcorn, everything, except chocolate chip cookies--he likes them all. I wanted something sweeter, and the cookies didn't spread like I wanted them to, so for the next iteration I added some brown sugar. And they were very pale, so I threw in some baking soda. Plus I thought they could use a bit more vanilla.

  • 5 oz unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 3/8 c sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Nestle mini chips)
  • 1 1/4 oz dark chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut 60%)

Not a bad cookie. Better color, better spread, but missing something in the flavor profile. So I threw in some espresso powder. I tend to add espresso powder to chocolate desserts, and I can honestly say this is hands-down the best cookie dough I've ever eaten. While I still prefer the dough to the cookie, these are pretty awesome as actual cookies; even after a few days at room temp they were still fairly soft. Jake gave them a perfect 10.

An Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookie

Makes 45 (20 g) cookies

  • 10 oz (2 c) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, room temp
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 t espresso powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Nestle mini chips)
  • 2 1/2 oz dark chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut 60%)
    Note: Dorie Greenspan made the comment that even in a chocolate chip cookie you should use better chocolate, and she's absolutely right. Using good-quality chocolate in my chocolate chip cookies really did make them better, even when using better-quality for only half the chocolate. I should know better than to ever doubt Dorie.

  1. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and espresso powder into a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl blend together butter, both sugars, vanilla and salt.
  3. Add in the eggs and beat thoroughly.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips. Either form into a disc, wrap tightly and refrigerate for 12-36 hours, or...
  6. Use a teaspoon to scoop dough (I weighed mine out to 20 g each) and roll into balls. Place 3" apart on a (parchment paper or silicone) lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, until the edges just start to brown and the center looks just barely cooked. Let rest on the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool. Or just eat them.

Things I learned from this project:
  1. Baking soda helps cookies brown.
  2. Brown sugar facilitates spread and keeps cookies soft.
  3. More spread means reduced baking time.
  4. Espresso powder makes almost every chocolate dessert better.


  1. I hate coffe so I can't agree with your last point there but the cookie sure looks great!!!

    1. You know, Jake doesn't like coffee in his chocolate either, but he actually likes recipes that have a bit of espresso powder in them. As long as you don't go overboard it doesn't taste like coffee, it just adds a complimentary note to the main chocolate flavor, and it does taste different from using instant coffee powder. I used to interchange the two whenever it suited me but I've found that he can actually tell the difference, so I only use espresso powder now.

  2. How cool. I love your journey to the perfect CCC.