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The (Even) Better Chocolate Chip Cookie

October 14, 2012

I know I already have a chocolate chip cookie recipe out, but recently I've discovered a way to make it even better. Everyone and their pet dog claim to have the best CCC recipe, ever, but they lie. A long time ago I read this article on what makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie--the kind you remember a week after it's been digested. I can't find the article, but here are a few of the rules that will improve any recipe.
Rule 1: No chocolate chips allowed. I know those cute little chips in the Nestle package are so cute and easy to grab as you walk down the baking section. But don't touch them. Just don't. For a wonderful cookie experience you either want to purchase chocolate candy making wafers like this, or you want to hit the candy aisle and load up on high quality chocolate bars like Godiva or Ghiradelli. This is the most important rule. Because chocolate chips have wax-like substances in them--that's how they keep their shape--they aren't too wonderful to work with. Also the yummiest cookies have irregular chunks of chocolate that come out of the oven melted and then solidify for an extra little snap!
Rule 2: The more varieties of chocolate the better. Once you coarsely chop all your chocolates and put them in the dough, you are guaranteed an unique taste every bite. I try to use at least three different types of chocolates with varying cocoa percentages.
Rule 3: Double that vanilla extract. 1 tablespoon is never enough.
Rule 4: When creaming the butter and sugar, don't overbeat with the mixer. This contradicts the golden rule of baking: cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. The truth is that when you beat the sugar and fat you aren't just mixing it, but you're trying to get as much air in there as possible. This is good for making light fluffy cakes, but not cookies. Chocolate chunks can't be supported in a dough that light, and you'll end up with flat cookies. Mix butter and sugar until evenly incorporated.

Rule 5: After rolling cookie dough balls freeze them. Have you ever wondered why the cookies at the bakery always have the perfect consistency? Slightly crisp edges with a melting, gooey center? It's because of the way bakeries operate; no one person sees a cookie through from raw ingredients until the finished and out the oven. In reality it could easily take three people to make one cookie. Let's say three girls operate a bakery: Olivia, Mackenzie, and Brittany. Olivia only makes the dough, puts it in a tub, then into the industrial fridge. Next Mackenzie will come in and she'll take the large tub of dough out, use a cookie scooper, and scoop hundreds perfect balls of dough onto cookie sheets. Later Brittany will come in and be in charge of baking the cookies.
(If you are still reading this I commend you. You must be very dedicated to perfecting your cookie.)
So the reason bakery cookies get this great consistency is because of the in between refrigerating time the dough goes through. Everyone knows that things bake from outer edges in. Because the dough is well refrigerated the dough edges cook well, but the center remain a little underdone. When you take cookies out the oven they should look a little unfinished. Allow them to rest on the counter before transferring them to a cooling rack. This way the residual heat will cook the cookies through without overdoing them.
 Rule 6: A little salt is what you need. Contrasting tastes help enhance flavors. Topping the unbaked dough balls with a few granules of kosher salt will help rev up the chocolaty goodness.
Rule 7: Don't use any fancy butters. It is counterintuitive since you are trying to make the BEST chocolate chip cookie after all, but the higher end butters tend to have higher fat contents which will leave you with an oily cookie. 

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