A cooking and baking journal

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies : My First "America's Test Kitchen" Recipe

3/13/10: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last Saturday my sister and I baked some chocolate chip cookies using a recipe that was demonstrated on the PBS t.v. show, America's Test Kitchen. This show is my new favorite because it brings the chemistry of cooking to the forefront and really walks you through each step. It also includes a taste test segment as well as a kitchen utensil discussion--both things that add a special touch to the program.
We really were interested in this chocolate chip cookie recipe because the hosts boasted about the crispness of this cookie along with its chewy center. Sounded like texture heaven! They also had very unique preparation techniques that I had to try out. So let me walk you through it. . .

The Ingredients: The ingredients consisted of the usual suspects: brown and white sugar, flour, baking soda, butter, etc., but the intriguing ingredient was one hard boiled egg yolk. The hosts said that if you were to add a whole egg (uncooked) to the batter, the water-to-sugar ratio would not be correct and you wouldn't get the chewy texture that was being aimed for.

The Preparation: The way they prepared the batter was also unexpected. Instead of just throwing all the ingredients together in a bowl, they melted the butter until it was brown, added it to the sugar and whisked it for 30 seconds, allowed it to sit for 3 minutes, and repeated this step two more times. This stirring and waiting technique allows the sugar to dissolve completely which makes for a fine textured cookie and enables the cookie to form a crust fast. If a crust is formed soon after it is in the oven the center will retain its texture, thus a chewy centered cookie. The hosts mentioned that this technique was devised by accident; they said a staff member, while mixing the batter, had to walk away and answer a telephone. When he returned he noticed how thick and glossy the batter looked and the dissolved sugar factor was examined more closely. What great things come from accidents!

Any Recipe Changes? No, I made no modifications to this recipe. And for a side note. . . I used Semi-Sweet Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips.

The Tasting Panel: We did notice a difference in the cookie's flavor and texture. It had more of a rich, caramel flavor compared to the Nestlé version and the crisp outer layer and the chewy interior were there. A very good cookie and is now my new favorite chocolate chip!

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