David Lebovitz in his fabulous blog tries out Heidi Swanson’s Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies which were a bit of a secret themselves and now more so that she’s taken it off her blog because it was revised for her new book and doesn’t want people to become confused(?!). Fortunately, David has still got his variation online.
Mesquite flour is supposed to be a bit of a wonder flour, low-GI and full of flavour and fibre. It’s not the easiest to find, but there is one source in Australia: Raw Pleasure stocks it for $22.95 for 500g – it’s also not cheap! Heidi also raves about Alter Ego organic ground cane sugar – I found an Australian source, but I will have to do some more investigation to see if I can find a locally produced equivalent.
I am very tempted to fork out the dough (no pun intended or avoided) to try out the mesquite flour, but as far as regular chocolate chip cookies go, I was pretty happy with the results from my standby chocolate chip recipe. While it is obvious to say that it all starts with a good recipe, are there any special tips not included in the standard text that make the difference between good and great?
My secret would be to keep an eye on how they are going and under-cook them slightly to give that soft chewy Mrs Field’s texture (if that’s what you’re into, if you like them crispy – and yes, that can be very good too – you might need to go with a different recipe or spread them out thinner) - don’t wait until they’re brown all over, golden brown and brown on the edges is just right.
I find that’s enough but it seems there are a whole lot more secrets out there to that yummy cookie texture…
David gave up his secret to perfectly moist chocolate chip cookies:
Here’s a tip to help keep chocolate chip cookies moist when they cool: When you pull the cookies out of the oven, take a tablespoon and tap the top of each cookie once or twice to flatten any peaks and level them. Then let them cool as usual for the moistest, chewiest chocolate chip cookies imaginable!
In David’s comments, suzanne has another secret:
Another tip for keeping the cookies moist is to add an extra egg yolk (or, if there are 2 or more eggs called for, eliminate the whites from one of the eggs in the recipe).
- Use a flat baking sheet with no sides for perfect even cooking or turn a baking tray with sides upside down and place baking paper on the base so that it effectively loses its sides.
- Use an ice-cream scoop to dole out the batter and flatten them with a wet hand.
David had some tips a while back on how to keep cookies from spreading (though this can sometimes be the intended result – see this video for cookie slice. I actually quite like the spread myself where the cookies squish on the sides and get wrinkles similar to what someone described in Adam’s blog as the “shar pei” effect. I will try out the strong flour tip though – I do like chewy):
- Don’t whip cookie mixture – only beat the butter and sugar long enough so they’re blended well but not fluffy.
- Don’t butter baking sheets, just line them with parchment/baking paper or use a non-stick silicone baking mat
- Use stronger flour – one that’s higher in protein. This is the opposite of a cake flour. Sometimes stronger flours are called pasta flour as the chewy stretchy-ness is what you need for good pasta – the complete opposite of what you need for a light and airy sponge. I think the Italian type 00 flour is this from memory (but do check!). Strong flour is especially recommended for cut-out biscuits where you want them to hold their shape.
- Avoid super fine sugars. I guess this is castor sugar. His reasoning is they melt too quickly and cause the dough to be wet and spread.
- Chill/Freeze the dough beforehand.
- Check the temperature of your oven is not to too low. Otherwise it will prolong the spread time!
Some more cookie recipes (and a stray brownie one) I found writing this:
Adam’s Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Stewart* (mel recommended sprinkling sugar on top before baking as a cheat).
Alton Brown’s Chewy Cookies (using bread flour – ie a strong high protein flour, sometimes known as pasta flour).
Cook’s Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies: subscription only but try Recipe Czar or this cookie Google group.
A whole lot linked at “Ahh, the Chocolate Chip Cookie“
Cook’s Illustrated Thin, Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies: subscription only (boo!).
Sunset Magazine “Seeking the perfect chocolate chip cookie“.
Neiman Marcus – Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (and the also the recipe from that stupid email urban legend)
Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Meg Hourihan’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Search and her subsequent findings.
Words to eat by’s Unbelievably Good Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
Karol’s Comfort Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (she also has some healthier food – after seeing so many sugary cookies (and having brownies for breakfast), I have to admit her Guacamole recipe and her detox soup are looking pretty damn fine).
David Lebovitz tries out Clotilde’s Very Chocolate Cookies.
Foodbeam’s Rage syndrome inducing Pierre Hermé’s sablés au chocolat et à la fleur de sel.
Heidi Swanson trying out David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Chip Recipe.
And the brownie recipe, Trial and Error’s Dark Chocolate Brownies.
It’s like going down the white rabbit’s tunnel… So many chocolate chip recipes, so little time and so few arteries to ruin!
*ie Martha, the boyfriend and I call her this because of a typo in a newspaper article on her release from jail, since she has always been know as The Stewart.