5 Ways To Improve Your Chocolate Chip Cookies
As I was making cookies the other day, I went to sit down and surf the web for some articles for home, family, and baking. I came across this one in Saveur and started to read it. I looked at the points of the article and was pretty proud that
I was already doing things. I even pumped my ego because my mom taught me to use room temperature eggs and butter because they mix so well. That little tidbit wasn’t added. When I finished reading, I looked up and noticed it was past time to pull out the cookies and ran to the kitchen to save this batch!
Oh well, hope you have better luck than I did.
5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Chocolate Chip Cookies
by Lauren Salkeld
on 02/19/14 at 03:00 PM
Even when chocolate chip cookies are bad, they’re still pretty good. But that doesn’t mean you should settle for sub-par cookies, especially when you’re the one wearing the apron. Here are five super easy tricks for baking better chocolate chip cookies.
Upgrade Your Ingredients: Chocolate chip cookies require very few ingredients so it’s important to use the very best when baking. This is especially true for butter, vanilla, and chocolate. Seek out European-style butters, which contain slightly higher fat content and less water. Ireland’s Kerrygold is a great option; it’s widely available and often more affordable than other imported butters. Always use pure vanilla extract, never the imitation variety.
You can make chocolate chip cookies with just about any chocolate. Stick to high-quality brands, and read labels to make sure there are no unidentifiable ingredients. If you like the way chips hold their shape, Ghirardelli’s are readily available and quite good, while Guittard is popping up at more and more stores. Chocolate discs or feves like the ones sold by Valrhona melt more than chips, so your cookies will have layers of chocolate rather than small chunks. It’s a different experience but many people love it. Chopping up bar chocolate is another option, and allows you to really customize your cookies.
Mix a Lot and Then Only a Little: The expression, “cream the butter and sugar” is one of the most commonly misunderstood steps in baking. At this early stage in a recipe, before any flour has been introduced, there is no risk of over-mixing. Now is the time to really let that stand mixer (or your arm) do its job, which by the way, is to make the sugar crystals cut into the butter and create air pockets that will help the cookies rise in the oven. While under-creaming isn’t the end of the world, it does mean that when you add the eggs, the dough will seem curdled (sprinkle in a tiny bit of flour to help bring it back together) and the final texture won’t reach its full potential. Once you do add the flour, keep mixing to a minimum. The liquid in the dough will activate the gluten in the flour and the more you stir, the tougher your cookies will be. Make sure the flour is fully incorporated but be careful not to over do it.
Chill the Dough: While it might be difficult to let a bowl of cookie dough sit it the fridge for 24 to 36 hours, this is, hands down, the best thing you can do to improve your chocolate chip cookies. Without getting too science-y, giving your dough an extended rest and chill, allows the ingredients to fully combine and that helps create beautifully browned cookies with more pronounced caramel notes. This trick requires very little effort, just a bit more time and patience. If you don’t have a full 24 hours, chill your dough for 12 or even 6 hours. Whatever you can spare is worth it.
Use (More) Salt: Just about every chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for salt and there’s good reason. Salt amplifies the chocolate and tones down the sweetness, making for a more balanced cookie. Recipes typically call for table salt but you can safely use an equal amount of fine sea salt in its place. Sea salt is more expensive but some bakers find table salt has a metallic or chemical-like flavor. Kosher salt is another option but brands vary so substitutions are less straightforward. Also, kosher salt is typically coarse, which isn’t ideal for most baking. Larger salt crystals, whether kosher or sea, are, however, great for lightly sprinkling on top of cookies. This is definitely a matter of taste, but in keeping with the on-going trend for salty-sweet desserts, salted chocolate chip cookies have been really popular recently. Flaky Maldon sea salt is our preferred finishing salt for cookies (or just about anything really).
Reconsider Your Baking Pan: Heavy-duty baking sheets or pans, lined with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper are the best surface for baking chocolate chip cookies. Avoid thin baking sheets, which can warp and lose their shape, and also stay away from any pans made of dark aluminum, which absorbs a lot of heat and has the annoying habit of burning the bottoms of cookies.
Tagged with: #Baking #Cookies #LaurenSalkeld #Recipes