Pursuing the perfect chocolate chip cookie is a worthy cause, one that I may even be willing to devote my entire life to. Whether the cookies are crispy, chewy, cakey or crunchy, I’ll taste them all. (It’s a tough job.)
Chocolate chip cookies can vary in taste and texture based on the quality and ratio of ingredients. Slight changes in moisture content, flour type, quality of chocolate and types of sugar can make significant changes to your cookie. But ingredients aside, the other factor that can vary is the method in which the cookies are made.
In 2008, the New York Times published its famous chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you read it over, you’ll see that it has a few varieties of flour, some very precise measurements of ingredients along with some fancy chocolate. Obviously I had to bake and test this cookie, and after tasting it I realized; it wasn’t ingredients that made these cookies special – it was the method.
To read the full explanation of their method, click here. In summary, the Times decided to follow the method of the original Toll House cookie, which called for the cookie dough to be rested overnight before baking. This piece of the recipe was disregarded over the years, likely out of impatience or convenience. The reason for this resting period? Allowing the dough to rest for 24 hours allows full absorption of the moisture by the flour. When the flour is mixed with the butter, the butter coats the flour and makes it harder for liquid (particularly gelatinous liquid – like eggs) to be absorbed. Allowing this long resting period compensates for this problem.
Knowing that Chatelaine’s ultimate chocolate chip cookie is pretty, well, ultimate – I was wondering if applying this 24 hour rest period to the dough could improve an already fantastic thing?
I made the ultimate chocolate chip cookie dough, and immediately baked a dozen of these loverly little devils.
They were, as expected, delicious. I took the remaining dough and refrigerated it (much to my kids’ dismay) covered for 24 hours. I then removed the dough from the fridge and measured it our into the same size drop batter as I had done for the other cookies.
The results were very interesting:
Appearance: As you can see between image 1 and 2, there was a bit of shrinkage in the rested dough. Since the wheat was given more time to absorb the liquid, the cookie wasn’t able to spread as quickly. The cookies also browned quicker and the batches took 2 minutes less to cook on average.
Taste: The rested cookies took on a richer flavour than the unrested. As the Times article noted, there tends to be a bit more of a caramel taste. It’s a fabulous cookie.
Texture: I found this to be the most distinct difference. Although the dough became drier as it rested, the cookie became more moist. The unrested dough has airier, crispier edges whereas the dough that had time to absorb the liquid had a uniform, moist crumb. Because the cookies were unable to spread as much, the centre stayed a little bit gooey…which is awesome.
So, is it worth it? If you have a serious hankering for a chocolate chip cookie the 24-hour resting period may be a little too much to ask – but, if you decide to split your batch in two (or better yet make a double batch) and give it a try, it’s a fun experiment. Note: I suggest baking a slightly larger cookie when using the rested dough to compensate for the shrinkage and to get more of that gooey centre.