The New York Times chocolate chip cookies: smarter cookies?

The New York Times is at it again. Yesterday, their Dining and Wine section included a lengthy treatise on one of my favorite subjects: Chocolate chip cookies. Beginning with a short history of this American icon’s birth at the Toll House restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts (where, serendipitously for a baker, I had my engagement dinner 32 years ago), author David Leite takes us on a tour of New York City’s best chocolate chip cookie sources.

Leite writes, “…a journey began that included stops at some of New York City’s best bakeries as well as conversations with some doyens of baking. The result was a recipe for a consummate cookie, if you will: one built upon decades of acquired knowledge, experience and secrets; one that, quite frankly, would have Mrs. Wakefield worshipping at its altar.”

Can you believe the Times? I mean, there aren’t many daily papers that can get away with writing like that. I only read the online version of this paper, and then only when someone sends me a link. But every food article I read, I have the same reaction: You have GOT to be kidding. People really take food this seriously? Is it a New York thing, or…?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love to eat. And sometimes I even wax poetic about the way a baguette audibly crackles as it comes out of the oven. Still, I’d rather enjoy my chocolate chip cookie with a dash of fun, rather than a pinch of pretension. (Though to give the Times their due, maybe their food writers ALL have tongues firmly implanted in bulging cheeks.)

At any rate, after reading Jacques Torres’ recipe adapted by the Times, and several key techniques the various bakers interviewed suggested to create the ultimate cc cookie, I had to run right out to the kitchen and bake. I compared my favorite King Arthur recipe with Jacques’—who, by the way, is a really nice guy; King Arthur Flour used to sponsor his TV show.

Anyway, Jacques’ and our recipes are remarkably similar in some ways, vastly different in others. He uses bread flour and cake flour; we use all-purpose (uh, that’s why they call it all-purpose, so you don’t have to use a bunch of different flours…?) He uses all butter. We use butter and shortening; we prefer the bit of extra crispness shortening imparts. Beyond that—we’re a pretty good match.

Then I took our recipe, and applied the Times’ suggested techniques to it. And WOW—yeah, what they suggest does make a difference. A big, tasty difference. First, a sprinkle of sea salt on top, before baking. Fantastic. And second, chilling the dough for 12 to 36 hours before baking, to deepen and heighten the flavor. Yes, the chilled-dough version did have a richer flavor.

So I owe the Times a debt of gratitude. Thanks, guys—I’ll never quite understand your affection for the finest detail and most subtle nuances of food and eating. But we agree: a good chocolate chip cookie recipe is something to treasure.

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First step: Put everything except the egg, flour, and chips into a bowl.

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Beat till nice and smooth.

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Then beat in the egg, and add the flour and chips, mixing till thoroughly combined. As you can see, the dough is pretty moist; typical cookie dough.

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For big, 5” cookies, scoop 3 3/8- to 3 1/2-ounce balls of dough, a very slightly heaped 1/3 cup. Our muffin scoop works well here; this is what it’ll look like.

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Space them well apart from one another on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, especially if the dough has been chilled. These cookies WILL spread.

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And here’s the first secret: sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt atop each ball of cookie dough.

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We’re not talking pouring salt on your popcorn here. Just a minimalist’s sprinkle is what you’re after.

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Bake the cookies anywhere from 13 to 14 minutes (if the dough hasn’t been refrigerated), to about 17 to 18 minutes (if it’s been chilled). The cookies should remain quite pale in the center.

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Here’s one of my first cookies, made with unchilled dough. Notice the shiny streaks in the center; you’d think this cookie wasn’t quite baked enough, wouldn’t you?

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But here’s what it looks like once it cools completely. Perfect! the cookie continues to bake just a tad as it cools.

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Now, here’s the dough after having chilled for 16 hours. (I would have let it chill for just 12 hours, but that would have meant coming to work at 2:30 a.m., like our King Arthur Bakery bakers do. No thanks!) Can you see that it’s a bit dry? Certainly drier than the moist dough of 16 hours earlier.

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Space them out…

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…bake, and WHOOPS. Guess I didn’t space them very well. So, one lopsided cookie—it’s the price you pay when you’re experimenting.

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I also over-baked these a bit, giving them 22 minutes instead of the called-for 18 to 20 minutes. Notice there are no shiny streaks in the center, and the center is more golden than pale tan, too.

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Now, here’s the dough after 24 hours in the fridge. Drier still.

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But the cookies baked up beautifully. Here’s one right out of the oven. Again, note the shiny surface.

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And here it is once it’s cooled.

I plan on baking off the remainder of the dough early tomorrow morning, once it’s chilled for 36 hours. I’m betting the result will look much like today’s cookies. And the flavor may be even a tad more complex. I’ll report back when I get a chance!

OK, it’s later… I just baked the remainder of the cookies. The dough was a tiny bit drier, but results much the same. I think chilling the dough even as little as 12 hours makes the difference. And the optimal baking time for these large, 5” cookies, chilled dough, seems to be 17 minutes – at least in our test kitchen oven here at King Arthur.

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Finally, here’s what this recipe looks like baked “straight”—normal 2 1/2” cookies, baked without refrigerating the dough. You know what? You just can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies. They’re always a case of “good… better… best!”

Read, review, and rate (please!) our recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Read The New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: in New York City—5” City Bakery chocolate chip cookie, OR 5” Jacques Torres Chocolate chocolate chip cookie, $2.50 each

Bake at home: 5” chocolate chip cookie, 54¢ each

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. MaryK

    Can you scoop the dough on to the cookie sheet before refrigerating? Sometimes I find the chilled dough a bit hard to work with.

    Can’t wait to try this recipe. My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe I currently use is a recipe from your cookie cookbook.

    Mary, don’t see why you couldn’t scoop first… the dough might dry out even more quickly, but what the heck, see how it goes. I hope you’re going to try our recipe; I really don’t see a need for both bread flour, and bleached cake flour in cookies, which the NYT uses in their recipe. Have fun! – PJH

    Reply
    1. Ellen

      I make these all the time and do the scoops (much smaller) and then freeze them! I do the first 24 – 36 hour chill, then scoop, then freeze. They thaw quickly and then anytime you need something just a little special for someone. . .they’re about 25 – 30 minutes away. . .I also use chocolate scented sea salt. . .

    2. Bonnie

      what is chocolate scented sea salt – I’m only getting results for body scrubs when I google it. thanks

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Bonnie, sorry, I can’t find a reference to chocolate scented sea salt anywhere – where are you seeing it? PJH

  2. suzanne

    why the salt on top? What does it offer? I need to know!! Tomorrow is “Cheer Up the Lonely” Day so I’ll be making cookies…and I think choc-chip is definitely in order.

    Salt is a flavor enhancer. It doesn’t just add the taste of salt- it brings up the flavor of everything else. So, you sprinkle enough salt on top to be BARELY discernible as salt taste, and what it does is just enliven all the other flavors. Really – give it a try tomorrow! Sea salt is better because it isn’t iodized, which can come across as a bitter taste. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  3. Bridget

    Oh my! My mouth is seriously watering…AND I’ve already eaten dinner and dessert!!! Chocolate chip cookies are probably my favorite dessert ever. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
  4. Anjanette

    I saw this yesterday and knew I had to try it; I’m sure home bakers everywhere are experimenting as I type! Thanks for the analysis and the comparisons between the K.A. recipe and the Times'; it convinced me to start off by just chilling the dough and adding salt on top to my favorite recipe, rather than buying cake flour and bread flour (I wonder why those two?) and large bittersweet discs.

    Could you briefly tell me why the K.A. chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for a little vinegar? Thank you!

    Ah, two comments in a row about vinegar… I believe it reacts with the baking soda to give it a boost, and thus lighten the cookies just a tad, making them crunchier rather than stiff/hard. (That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it!) – Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  5. Alvara

    What does the vinegar do for the cookie? I understand the sprinkle of salt.
    Thanks.

    Alvara, my theory is that it gives the baking soda a little more oomph (acid + base), resulting in a slightly lighter cookie. – PJH

    Reply
  6. connie

    I got a kick out of your commentary about the ostentatiousness of the NYT article! Leave it to you to give us a dose of reality and ground our cc-making in real-life kitchens. Question: do you have a favorite chocolate chip that you use in your cookies?

    Hi Connie – I didn’t even mention the fact the NYT recipe wants you to turn all the chocolate chips so their points are facing up, once you’ve scooped out the cookies, because they’re prettier that way. Puh-LEEZE! As for chips, I use whatever’s in my bin in the test kitchen at the moment. These days it’s Callebaut semisweet . If I’m feeling fancy I use Peter’s Burgundy chunks. I like a chocolate in between semisweet and bittersweet chocolate, and Peter’s is my personal favorite. – PJH

    Reply
  7. Margaret Theobald

    First let me say how much i LOVE King Arthur! I baked these cookies last night and thought, I HAVE to post my questions on Bakers Banter….and when I pulled it up this morning, here you were! You had already answered most of my questions. The first of which, why the two flours? Since the bread flour is higher in protein than all purpose and the cake flour less, don’t they cancel each other out?
    I have to weigh in on the salt. I did half the batch with and half without. We most preferred without. Now I may have had too heavy a hand….I caution you all…very sparingly! I also made them with the #30 scoop from the catalogue. They weighed about 1 1/2 ounces and believe me, these cookies were plenty big enough. And by the way, don’t tell anybody, but I didn’t straighten out the chips (Ghiardelli bittersweet), but nobody noticed. I am going to try your recipe next. Thank you for a great site!

    Reply
  8. Rebecca

    PJ, thanks for validating me. I also raised my eyebrows a few times at this article’s semi-snootiness! My reaction after reading about their secrets to cookie sucess was “Who wants to wait 2 days to eat a chocolate chip cookie??” When I make cookies, I want to eat them as soon as I can! Thanks for the interesting post!

    Reply
  9. Julie O'Hara

    I love how you showed close-ups of the cookies at all stages of chilling; baked perfectly, then cooled; and overbaked. It’s really instructive! I’ve heard the Jacques recipe is awesome, and I’m looking forward to trying this one!

    Reply
  10. Suzanne

    I, personally, love the Choc Chip cookie recipe in the KAF Baker’s Companion cookbook (not the Cookie Companion, the one before). It used a tad of corn syrup. To die for! I agree with your post – food should be fun.

    Reply
  11. Katrina

    Your cookies look good. I’ve been trying lots of different chocolate chip cookie recipes and having FUN with it. Will have to try yours, too. BUT I did just make the NY Times one from the article and they just might be the best CCC I’ve had yet. They are SO good. I’m interested to see if ANY recipe where the dough is chilled for a good length of time helps it look and taste better. I’m sold after making this Jacques copycat. I’ve made the other Jacques Secret recipe before, too, the one with pastry flour. This new one is great. I’ll have to try it with all-purpose flour and see if it comes out the same. I buy bread and cake flour already, so it’s not that big of deal to me and helps me use it up.
    I have recently switched to using only unbleached flour, do you think it has much of a difference from all-purpose. I mean, I know one is bleached and one isn’t, but does it change the baked good? Just wondering.
    Thanks for your take on the NY Times article and your demo. I love reading anything chocolate chip cookie related!

    Hi Katrina,
    We definitely prefer unbleached all purpose flour. We prefer the flavor, and like knowing that we aren’t ingesting unnecessary chemicals. We hear from customers every day who discover that our unbleached flour makes their good baking even better!

    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Reply
  12. David Leite

    Well, your cookies look great, and I’m glad my article helped out a bit. I love the close ups of all the steps.

    And, just so you know, you’re right. My tongue was planted so firmly in my bulging cheek when I wrote that “altar” line, it hurt. Glad you got the humor behind some of the comments.

    Oh, about my “affection for the finest detail and most subtle nuances of food and eating,” call it obsession. They have medication for that, don’t they?

    David Leite

    WOW, David – I’m psyched that you found this blog post. Thanks for taking my pokes with good humor. And thanks for the article – NYC, to those of us in the hinterlands, is like Oz. Something you kind of wonder at from afar. It’s always nice to get a report from inside the gates. Now – how about the same approach to bialys? I haven’t had a good one since 1974, Providence, the deli under the Brown science library… Cheers, David- PJH

    Reply
  13. Beth

    Note to Katrina regarding chilling other cookie doughs: I’ve been using Alice Medrich’s recipe for peanut butter cookies for the last few years, and it calls for chilling the dough preferably overnight. I believe one time I had the dough in the fridge 3 days. Everyone just raves about them, and I think it’s because the dough is chilled.

    Hey, I think we may be onto something here… OK, everyone, next time you make cookies, bake half right away, and the other half, chill the dough for 24 hours. See what difference it makes and report back. That’s your homework for this week. :) PJH

    Reply
  14. Nancy Byrne

    I agree- I love the recipes, the photos, the descriptions, the comments!

    However, I’m confused about one thing you said in the sixth paragraph – I have usually found that using all butter (instead of a combination of shortening and butter) makes the cookies more crispy. I tend to prefer softer cookies, and have often adapted recipes by replacing some of the butter with Crisco, and maybe increasing the flour a bit.

    I don’t have any sea salt at the moment- would kosher salt be suitable?

    ps – I have that same Salter scale (which I bought from you) and use it every day- one of my best purchases ever!

    Hi Nancy: Since Crisco is 100% fat, and butter has protein and milk solids in it; and since fat is what makes things crispy, Crisco should make cookies crispier. That said – if your experience is the opposite, and you like it, stick with it! There are just so many variables, sometimes it’s difficult to have hard and fast rules in baking. Sue Gray, our test kitchen director and baking science maven, nearly always couches her answers to baking questions with “Well, MOST of the time…”

    Yes, kosher salt is fine. Just go easy with it.

    I couldn’t bake without my scale – could never go back to that slow, messy measuring cup stuff… and yeah, I like that particular Salter the best. Glad you’re enjooying it – PJH

    Reply
  15. CW

    I have been scooping cc dough and refrigerating it for a day or two before baking for years. I was just doing it for the convenience of making the dough and baking it in two different steps.

    I guess I was following the steps of making refrigerator cookies which have always been my favorites…and I didn’t even realize it was a “method.”

    I LOVE your blog and the pictures are always helpful.

    Reply
  16. melissa

    Don’t make the mistake of buying the kind of chocolate recommended by The Times for this cookie … at my local Whole Foods Market yesterday, it was $15 a pound! And that was a 40% cacao disc, not the recommended 60% … sometimes I think the folks at the NYT live in a (very expensive) bubble.

    Reply
  17. Sandy

    I have been making your CC cookies for years now, ever since I got a sample copy of one of the earlier Baking Sheets. They are hands-down the best CC cookie ever. Every time I make them, I get so many compliments and they are a bonafide hit with everyone. The next time I make them I will chill them! For the best to taste even better is just the ulitmate!

    THANKS – try a tiny sprinkle of sea salt, too… YUM. -PJH

    Reply
  18. dan

    would chocolate chips work just as well or i need to buy disks???

    Chocolate chips are absolutely fine. Use any chocolate you like – chips, chunks, disks, M & Ms, whatever you and your wallet find pleasing… PJH

    Reply
  19. Sue

    Would European butter up the fat content of a cookie enough to have an impact on the crispy edges? For me there is an ewww factor related to shortening. I realize that European butter is a terribly expensive ingredient, but maybe worth a try for “ultimate” chocoate chip cookies. This from a woman who loves almost all homemade CCC. :-)

    I understand the “ewww” factor – I eschewed shortening for awhile, but now that it’s transfat-free I just close my eyes and use it. Go ahead and use regular butter, and maybe just bake a tiny bit longer. I think you’ll be fine. – PJH

    Reply
  20. Cheryle

    This cookie sounds scrumptious. I will have to try it. My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, so far, calls for scooping the dough into balls, freezing them, and then baking them from the frozen state at 400 degrees until just barely brown. With this method, the outside of the cookie cooks faster than the inside, resulting in a chewy, rather than crisp cookie. It seems to me that you could try it with this recipe. I would think that it’s the consistency of the dough that makes the difference, and freezing would be faster than refrigerating for 36 hours. Also, you can make a batch of cookie dough balls, and then just pull them out of the freezer as you need them. What do you think?

    I think that would work just fine, Cheryle – Give it a try and report back! – PJH

    Reply
  21. Erin

    I thought the “discs” were more for melting chocolate. How do they turn out in a cookie? I guess I will have to buy some to find out, but comment here if anyone has used them in a cookies before. They are pricier, so it would be good to know if they’re worth it. Thanks!!

    Eric, they look kind of impressive, and of course make a big pool of melty chocolate… You can use chips, chunks, disks, whatever floats your boat. As you say, they’re expensive; depends how deep your pockets are, I guess! – PJH

    Reply
  22. Nel

    Hi,

    I’m not sure if you can answer this. Sue wrote asking if European butter would ‘up the fat content’ of the cookie. Whoa! Different butters have different fat contents? Where I live in Europe, the butter is marked 82% butterfat. I don’t remember even seeing such a note on butter in the US (maybe I wasn’t looking).

    So what’s the fat content of US butter? I’ve been cooking with US recipes and European ingredients for years, and never realized the butter is different. Vanilla – yes. You only seem to be able to get vanilla bean and a chemical solution called ‘vanilla essence’ over here. I have vanilla sent from home. But what’s this about butter? Am I getting different results with US recipes and European butter and I didn’t know it?

    Not vastly different, Nel – don’t worry about it. American butter is up to a few percentage points lower in fat, but you have to be making something really fat-intensive (like a piecrust or croissants) to notice the difference. – PJH

    Reply
    1. "Goldenrod Farm"

      Butter here in the US is about 80% butterfat, Cabot makes a butter called 83 which is 83% butterfat. I think the biggest difference in European butter and US butter is we make “sweet creamery butter” and in most parts of Europe a cultured butter is preferred.
      Up to a couple of years ago I made butter from a small herd of Jersey cows, they all had very high butterfat and made excellent butter and a lot of people came to buy it for eating but many wanted the unsalted for cooking. Using a churn makes a higher fat butter then when you make butter at home from a mixer, the mixer whips the buttermilk into the butter making the water content higher, sometimes as high as 30%. I miss making the butter and really miss having the access to lots of butter and 30% butterfat cream, but churning 200 lbs of butter a week was too much to deal with after going back to work.

  23. Margy

    When I start my volume cookie baking for the holidays (usually starting end of September), I usually do an initial mixing marathon, freeze all the dough, then do a baking marathon in December. I place all my chocolate chip cookie dough in quart or gallon plastic zip bags, pressing it into the bag until it fills to a 1/2 to 3/4 inch layer, then freeze flat. When ready to bake, I let them soften for about 15-20 minutes, open the bags, cut the bag sides, and cut the cookie dough into squares, then right onto the cookie sheets (no rolling or scooping into balls)—believe it or not, they bake into round cookies! A baking miracle!. Saves a lot of time when you’re baking in large volume (and getting carpal tunnel syndrome from squeezing that cookie scoop!) And I’ve always chilled my CCC dough overnight before baking–it seems to mellow and blend the flavors. I’ll have to try that salt idea, though.

    Reply
  24. Robin Bouwmeester

    This is a response to Nel. To make your own vanilla extract slit open (length wise)3 vanilla beans, put in a bottle and add a good vodka.Cap and let it steep for 4 to 6 months and you have vanilla extract. My bottle is a 16 oz or maybe 1/2 liter. Replenish the vodka as needed. Depending on how much you use it, the beans can last up to 7 years.

    Reply
  25. Doris

    These cookies look so good and I must try them but it puts a huge amout of guilt on me to ingest such a big cookie. Can you tell me how long do I bake them if I want to make them the 1 tablespoon size? Thank you.

    Yes, Doris, just read the recipe online – the link is right before the photos in the blog. You can also simply make big cookies and cut them into wedges, which is what I did when I had to take them to a potluck. Have fun! -PJH

    Reply
  26. Sylvie

    Would I be able to substitute white whole wheat flour? If not 100%, what percentage would still retain the chew factor? Thanks!

    Hi Sylvie, White whole wheat would be great in this recipe; especially with the long rest time, which is perfered when using whole grains. I would jump right in and use 100%, but then I’m a sink or swim kind of person. If you just want to get your feet wet then half whole wheat and half all purpose would be a good option too. Have fun! Jessica @ the bakers hotline.

    Reply
  27. C Marie

    For Cheryl and the frozen cookie question: yes, freezing cookie dough works, I do it all the time straight from the freezer to the oven! Make sure to pat down the balls so that they are little disks–popping frozen balls into the oven often gets baked cookie balls instead of flat cookies.

    Reply
  28. NancyB

    This past winter I found the Jacques Torres recipe on a blog and started playing with it. What I’ve ended up with is a combination of a CCC recipe called Addictive Chocolate Chip Cookies from Baking Bites blog, the Jacque Torres recipe, and my own changes. The most important change I made was to use KA white whole wheat flour. The Addictive CCC recipe uses instant oatmeal — that and the white whole wheat flour and the 1 lb. plus of good chocolate makes for a wonderful cookie. I have to admit, when I’m making CCCs for home, I use chocolate chips but when I really want to wow someone and I have the funds, I go the extra step and use a quality chocolate — usually Scharffen Berger or Callebaut mainly because I can find them easily. High humidity seems to kill them though so for me, these are winter cookies.

    Reply
  29. Kristy Innes

    PJ-
    I made the New York Times cookie. While it tasted great, it did not look like your pictures. They did not spread, the stayed very thick. My husband loved it that way, but I wonder…what did I do wrong?

    Hard to say, Kristy – not hot enough oven? Not enough sugar? Not a large egg? Not King Arthur Flour? Something tightened the gluten, or absorbed the liquid, or… as I said, hard to diagnose. Next time, try baking one first, to see if it spreads. If it doesn’t, try flattening the next one, and do another test bake. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  30. Linda

    I tried the NYT recipe with KA AP flour and a cake flour. Figured the higher protein in the KA would be enough. Used the mini chips to spread out the chocolate feel. After 30 hours, the dough was so “hard” that I stripped the gear on my large scoop. (Good thing my son could fix it.) So I rolled out the rest of the dough into a fat log and cut it into “hockey puck shapes” that weighed what the recipe called for. Stacked them and wrapped them to sit in the fridge for another 12 hours. Sprinkled on a tiny pinch of kosher salt and baked for 20 minutes. All the flavors and textures of the separate ingredients seem to have merged wonderfully. Handy son says they are really good. Just eat slowly.

    Reply
  31. SimplePleasure

    Hi PJ! I love making chocolate chip cookies I’ve always used alton brown’s recipe found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-puffy-recipe/index.html
    my question is in alton’s recipe it only use baking powder. how come in other recipe and in your recipe it also called for baking soda. what does baking soda do for CC cookies?

    Hi – Use of baking vs. baking powder depends on the level of acidity of the other ingredients in the recipe. Generally, if there’s a higher percentage of brown sugar or some other acid ingredient, baking soda can be called for. – PJH

    Reply
  32. Susan

    I have made these twice now, with different results. For what it’s worth, here’s my report. The first time they were transcendent — just as the article and your blog indicated. Really superb cookies — big and flat and chewy-crispy at 24 hours. By 72 hours they were different but still wonderful. The second time I made the dough I used the same ingredients from the same boxes/bags of flour and leavening, and used an egg from the same carton and the same bag of chocolate chunks. I weighed the ingredients both times as well. I let these sit for the “optimum” 36 hours and then baked a dozen cookies from the batch (used the same oven as well!). These cookies were different than the ones from the first dough — these are puffier and cakier. Still delicious though. Just proof that the baking gods are in different moods on different days and that there is some magic and not just chemistry in baking I guess. The same recipe, the same ingredients, the same equipment = different results on different days (weather?). I think it’s partly this magic — plus loving to eat freshly baked goods! — that keeps me baking.
    Thanks for the blog — it’s great to see how you put it all together!

    Reply
  33. jami

    Is it just me, or is the part about sprinkling with salt NOT in the linked recipe? I meant to do it when reading the blog entry, but then followed the recipe and didn’t end up remembering to.

    However, I only made half a dozen cookies so I could try out the rest after refrigerating the dough; I’ll try to remember the salt when I bake those off.

    Mine didn’t look exactly like yours (and I only baked them 10 minutes) but they were DELISH.

    Hi Jami,
    You are correct, the salt sprinkling is not in the linked recipe. It is just an option written in the blog post. It will be added to the recipe at a later date. Happy Baking!

    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Reply
  34. Anjanette

    I made the King Arthur recipe chocolate chip cookies using some of the methods from the New York Times’ recipe – chilling for 24 hours, sprinkling with sea salt, 350 degree oven, and making 3.5 ounce balls. I have to say that these are absolutely the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made, and I have been making them for years and years, with various recipes. I will honestly never use another c.c. cookie recipe again! I like what the shortening does, I like how golden brown the cookies were, I like the amount of chocolate chips, I like everything about them. They were chewy but slightly crispy on the very top of the cookie, and absolutely divine when warm. I found that my oven baked the 3.5 ouncers for 16 minutes.

    Thank you so much for offering such a fabulous recipe!

    Reply
  35. Kathie Head

    I have the dough made and in the refrigerator; I plan to bake this afternoon. The King Arthur recipe says to bake at 375 for 11-12 minutes but I think that applies to unchilled dough, correct? If the dough has chilled for 24 hours or more, how long should the cookies bake? I plan to scoop 1 1/4 inch balls because I prefer a 2 1/2 inch cookie.

    Second question–what is the advantage of sprinkling salt on the top of the cookie rather than just adding more salt to the recipe? I’ve noticed that some recipes call for 1 tsp of salt (rather than 1/2 tsp in the KA recipe).

    Thanks–love your blog and the discussion!

    Hi Kathie,
    Here is the clip from the blog about the cookie baking time.

    Bake the cookies anywhere from 13 to 14 minutes (if the dough hasn’t been refrigerated), to about 17 to 18 minutes (if it’s been chilled). The cookies should remain quite pale in the center.

    Sprinkling the salt on top gives you a more ‘direct hit’ of salt rather than just making a salty dough. Think potato chips, and the finger lickin’ factor.

    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Reply
  36. SallyBR

    Made those yesterday, after about 40 hours in the fridge

    in my humble opinion, they are indeed the best I’ve ever made!

    however, I made the cookies much smaller – I don t particularly like having one cookie with 599 calories :-)

    they are amazing, I will be making them again, next time adding some walnuts just for fun. I also formed 10 balls of dough and froze them – will bake straight from the freezer this weekend.

    I used the recipe exactly as written, with cake + bread flour.

    the salt on top should not be omitted – it adds a depth of flavor that makes all the difference (I did bake some without for comparison)

    Reply
  37. Kathie Head

    I thought that 17-18 minutes (for chilled d dough), 13-14 minutes (for unchilled dough) applied only to the larger 5″ cookie. The printed KA recipe refers to smaller 2-1/2″ cookies. Would the timing differ for smaller cookies? (The KA recipe says 11-12 minutes for unchilled dough.) Would the smaller 1 1/4 inch cookie be baked for 17-18 minutes if it is refrigerated?

    Thanks!!

    Kathie, you’re right, the longer times are for larger cookies. For smaller cookies, it’s 11-12 minutes (vs. 13-14 minutes for the larger ones) with unchilld dough. So with chilled, I’d imagine it would be maybe 13-14 minutes (vs. 17-18)? Give it a try with one cookie first, as a test. – PJH

    Reply
  38. Dianne

    Warm, moist, chewy chocolate chip cookies are the best, but do you have any suggestions for making a thicker cookie with the same consistency?

    Dianne, you could try baking the cookies in metal rings, like English muffin rings. That way, they can’t spread, and have to remain thick. You’d have to fool around with the baking time/temp. a bit, I’d imagine, but give it a try. This would also make nice, perfectly round cookies. – PJH

    Reply
  39. Rod

    Hi PJ,

    First off, I love your blog. Second, I just baked the Jacques Torres recipe and found they were delicious. I baked the dough after 40 hours of refrigeration. They didn’t quite look like yours, though they were thicker, chunkier, and beautifully browned.

    My only problem with the recipe is that it wasn’t very chewy. I thought for sure given the thickness that they would be. Are they supposed to be chewy? Is the KA recipe chewy? Is there anything I can do to the Jacques Torres recipe to achieve maximum chewiness? Maybe I overbaked them by a minute or so.

    Rod, try pulling them out of the oven while the tops are still very pale; they’ll be brown around the edges, but pale in the center. The edges will be crisp, but the centers will be chewy. I assume you were making the big, 5″cookies? If not, bake till they’re set, but a pale blonde all over; they’ll continue to bake a little bit once they come out of the oven. These aren’t really designed to be a chewy cookie, but you can make them softer by under-baking a little… Good luck- PJH

    Reply
  40. Julie

    I made the NY Times cookies this week, and hyperbole notwithstanding, these have got to be the best chocolate chip cookies EVER. I didn’t make the super large size, since I get a little sick on a cookie that big (and Marion Nestlé, in a letter to the times, made the point that they’re 500 calories apiece at that size…).

    But I did use high-quality dark chocolate disks, and I think they made a huge difference. I might not spend $15 a pound at Whole Foods for Valrhona chocolate disks, but I would spend $5 or $6 a pound for Jacques Torres’ very good 60% disks purchased at his website or store, or even $8 for his 70% disks.

    I used a combination of Guittard Onyx 72% disks, purchased the last time I was at King Arthur, some Ghiradelli 60% chips and some regular Ghiradelli semi-sweet chips. Outstanding. To use a King Arthurian metaphor, I really think this is the chocolate chip cookie recipe grail.

    Reply
  41. Lisa G

    Hi PJ,

    I found the NYT article on BoingBoing while surfing the web at work (at lunchtime!). I had to come here as I knew you guys would address this challenge.

    The BoingBoing article also had a link for a quicker way to dry the dough using a vacuum sealer (for faster baking & eating, of course) at Ideas in Food. I haven’t tried it but thought someone might want to give it a go. This might open a whole new area to experiment with other doughs…

    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/16/howto-make-36hour-pe.html

    http://www.ideasinfood.com/ideas_in_food/2008/07/vacuum-sealed-cookie-dough.html

    All of this prompted me to open my copy of the Toll House Cookbook, and it was interesting to see (in my copy anyway) that the recipe is on the bottom of a page and looks complete. It is only when you turn the page that you find Mrs Wakefield’s comment about leaving the dough in the fridge for 24hours before baking. Is this why Nestle left it off the packaging or was it to make it quicker for home cooks??

    Fascinating!
    Gotta love this interwebby-thing…

    Reply
  42. karen wildau

    I followed the recipe from the Times, although the dough sat out a few hours while I went to get more chips. Then I chilled for 24 hours. The cookies never spread at all. Any ideas why that might be

    Didn’t use a large egg? Not quite enough sugar? Oven temp. too low? Didn’t use cake flour and bread flour? If you followed the recipe’s ingredients EXACTLY, not sure… Next time, bake one cookie first, to see what happens. If it doesn’t spread, try flattening before baking. Or, if you can, add some water back into the dough, which will help the spread. Good luck, Karen – PJH

    Reply
  43. Eric

    Pretty chocolate chip cookies = take the dough ball out of the scoop. Grasp the opposite curving sides, flat plane down, and then pull apart the mass to create two ragged-edged pieces. Now, jam the flat surfaces together, creating a ragged-topped precisely-measured lump. I swear, it’s a little neurotic (blame _Cooks Illustrated_ ), but it does produce cookies with a slightly craggier top surface.

    I may have to try these – I’m partial to a recipe that calls for (corn syrup?) and melted butter – I use Lyle’s Golden Syrup for a richer flavor. I think it’s my hybrid of a KAF recipe and the CI method, but I may be wrong.

    E

    Eric, I could try this – it’s the plucking all of the top-surface chocolate chips out of each cookie by hand and turning them so their points are upright, as suggested by the NYT, that I balk at! I actually did try it, believe it or not… terminally sticky. But I do remember CI suggesting the method you describe. – PJH

    Reply
  44. Kate

    Well, I’m off to the kitchen to try this again. My first batch did not make it through the chilling stage. The kids came across the dough and polished the whole thing off.

    I’m going to try using the approach I use for Magic in the Middle cookies. I make an enormous batch, cooking half and freezing half. Hopefully, having fresh cookies on hand will ensure that the dough will survive to the baking stage this time!

    Reply
  45. Debra Dickinson

    Would freezing the dough directly after mixing work the same as chilling the dough for 36 hours, or should I chill the dough first, before freezing? I like to make large batches of cookie dough, form into balls and freeze. Although, I think I read it here on this site, I like the idea of forming the dough into a flat square and cutting the dough into squares. It would be alot more efficient!

    Debra, I’d think freezing would work the same way as chilling; no chilling necessary prior to freezing. And yes, you can take just about any cookie dough and make it into bars by baking it in a 9 x 13 pan or pans… – PJH

    Reply
  46. Renee

    I read the NYTimes article, but I didn’t like the recipe — using 2 types of flour and fancy expensive (I guessed) chips. I went to my favorite chocolate chip recipe from a community cookbook. This recipe calls for 1 stick of butter, 1 stick of margarine AND a cup of oil. It includes instant oatmeal and cornflakes! I doubled the recipe to have an ample amount for freezing and giving — so I used about half whole wheat and half all purpose flours. I allowed the dough to sit — and definitely used the salt. I loved how the salt made the cookies taste. I mxed the dough on Friday, made a small batch late Saturday, then made the rest Monday morning. Quite a difference in the dryness of the dough. On Monday the dough did not want to stick together, but the final results were quite fine.

    Reply
  47. Jisun

    I tend to put as much cookie dough on the baking sheet as much as possible so that I can bake more cookies at one time, spreading them evenly of course. Am I breaking some kind of rule that I should only bake about 5-6 cookies at a time? Does it really make a difference? I do this, simply to get as much baked cookies at once since it does take some time to bake about 3-4 dozen cookies. The results, well, I think cookies taste wonderful no matter what…

    Is this some kind of cardinal sin that I’m not aware of? =)

    Hi Jisun,
    The biggest thing to keep in mind is there needs to be spacing between the cookies to allow air to circulate and bake them evenly. You need to keep in mind the ‘spread’ factor as well.

    Happy Baking!

    Reply
  48. Michael

    Sorry to say I tried these, and was very disappointed. I followed the recipe scrupulously, with the sole exception that I was unable to procure the Valrhona chocolate feves (our local Whole Foods didn’t carry them) so I substituted same-size chunks made from Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bars with an average of 60% cacoa. One huge problem with the recipe is the salt. I used varying amounts of Fleur de Sel, from only a few granules to a bit less than the amount shown in the picture above. In all cases, even a few salt crystals overwhelm the cookie taste. Three other people tried the cookies, and all gave a thumbs-down on the salt idea, and yet I see many reviews from people who wax lyrical about the salt, even going so far as to say they like the crunch of the salt crystals! Having tried it, I am baffled. I made the second batch without added salt crystals, and they were much better, but everyone agreed that while they were good cookies, they were not the best chocolate cookies we’ve ever had. The flavor of the dough is simply not strong enough or sweet enough to balance out the huge proportion of very dark chocolate (and we are all dark chocolate lovers). The cookie here is definitely secondary to the chocolate, which makes this an “extreme chocolate” specialty version rather than a replacement for the basic recipe.

    Hi Michael – To each his own, as usual in baking. We won’t all like the same treatments of these classics. I’ve never tried the cookies with bittersweet disks; I can imagine that yes, they might be very overwhelming. More chocolate than cookie, as you say. I did very much like the salt, as did everyone here; the response was overwhelmingly positive. So if you want to try them again, I’d suggest you substitute plain chocolate chips, cut back on them if you like, and make normal-sized cookies using the regular “bake right away” method – don’t chill the dough. I think you’ll find a cookie that’s much more to your liking. Cheers! PJH

    Reply
    1. Julie

      Hi PJ,
      I just discovered this recipe and have not made it yet, but have been researching CCC recipes and starting to experiment. Reading my way through the comments here (great fun!) and thought I would address 2 items here:
      1. I have read that melting the butter makes a chewier cookie, and while you mentioned that was not your goal, if you brown the melted butter (be sure not to burn it), it adds an amazing flavor to the dough. Definitely worth the extra effort. Yes, I got it from the ATK folks!
      2. I too, do not like Crisco shortening, in particular because it has added preservatives (why?). I discovered Spectrum Organic Shortening (made from palm oil). See: http://www.spectrumorganics.com/?id=87 I can easily be substituted for Crisco at a 1:1 ratio and I like it better than coconut oil, which sometimes adds coconut flavor that I do not want.

      Anyway, glad to see there are others out there who overanalyze everything too. But if it is for CCCs, how bad can that be?!

  49. Kari

    PJ, recently my husband came home with a chocolate chip cookie he bought from a store somewhere (sacrilige!) It was tall and fluffy, almost cake-y, not crisp and not chewy. It seemed almost to have a ton of leavening or something. Most of my cookies flatten out like the above pics, and he has requested a cookie like the one he bought. Any suggestions? I have been surfing the web for inspiration and am trying the Alton Brown puffy recipe as we speak and although they look promising they aren’t achieving the height I’m looking for…

    Sounds like a good goal, Kari – but I don’t actually have the solution for achieving it without doing some testing. I’d think they’d have an extra egg or two, for one; less butter; and perhaps less fat/more flour. In other words, more like cake then cookie. What if you tried dubbing around with the Berger Cookie recipe (“Baltimore’s Finest” blog)? They’re cake-like cookies. See what kind of ratios of ingredients might make your cookies taller/fluffier… Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  50. Mary Beth

    I followed the Times recipe to a T and concluded that there’s too much coarse salt in the cookie dough. In fact, the salt so overwhelmed the dough that I couldn’t bring myself to sprinkle sea salt on top. I will try these again with much less coarse salt in the dough. I found the Valrhona chocolate feves in Whole Foods and loved the way they melted in the cookies. What a difference from the usual nonmelting chocolate chips/chunks!

    Reply
  51. Ian

    Thanks for a great blog!

    I have yet to bake these (dough in fridge now), but want to point out that the NYT/Torres recipe does not call for turning chocolate chips right-side up – it suggests flattening any disks of chocolate that are pointing up out of the dough. You may start an urban legend here! :)

    David Leite, the author of the NYT article, didn’t mention it in his comment above, but he hangs his hat at another great food site and a wonderful recipe bank, Leite’s Culinaria, where the motto is “Hot food, dry wit.”

    Ah, thanks for the clarification, Ian. And yes, I have an RSS feed to David’s site – it’s quite deluxe, with those luscious photos and of course the writing- PJH

    Reply
  52. Heather

    It might sound stupid but does it make a difference whether you used a paddle mixed or just a regular hand mixer?

    Not stupid at all! Doesn’t matter what you use, so long as everything is THOROUGHLY mixed. Have at it! -PJH

    Reply
  53. Ann Weber

    I like the NYT cookies very much but it seems to me that the method could be improved upon. I had to let the chilled dough soften a bit as it could not be scooped when so cold. I used the very expensive Guittard (74%) chocolate discs and, while wonderful, there was waaaaaay too much chocolate and it overwhelmed the cookie. Next time, a very good – smaller – chip will be used. I baked the cookies smaller than the recipe and reduced the baking time. A 5 incher is overkill and a bit nauseating! The salt was a nice touch. It seems that all purpose flour would do just as well. Key to me was the better chocolate than I am used to buying. By the way, I froze half the dough – already formed into balls – and baked them today. Just as good!

    Reply
  54. Pat Punim

    Dear PJ,
    You requested a recipe for bialys in the chocolate chip cookie blog, and I think I can help. Originally from Long Island, but now living in California (where they don’t know from bialys), my bialy starved family would stock up on bialys whenever we returned to New York. When our local bialy bakery changed ownership, the bialys were no longer authentic or worth carrying them back to CA. Ordering online from H&H bagels in NYC resulted in authentic looking bialys but they weren’t so fresh. I found three recipes for bialys, the best of which was from George Greenstein’s book, “Secrets of a Jewish Baker” which is no longer in print but available used on Amazon.com. After trial and error, and tweaking the recipes, the resulting recipe is very close, but would benefit from a professional evaluation from you. My greatest problem is that sometimes the large holes within are perfect, and sometimes the crumb is too fine. I find that the wetter the dough, the better the holes. So here’s the recipe, which makes 16 bialys:

    Bialys

    2 cups warm water
    2 packages active dry yeast
    3 teaspoons sugar
    5 1/2 cups of bread flour (King Arthur of course)
    2 3/4 teaspoons of kosher salt
    bread flour for dusting
    cornmeal for baking sheets
    oil or cooking spray for greasing bowl

    Topping
    1/4 – 1/2 cup of dried, minced onion flakes
    1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    pinch of salt

    Place warm water in bowl of mixer, add yeast and let sit for one minute
    Add 1 cup of flour, stir, and wait 10 minutes
    Add remaining flour, then salt, and mix with bread hook for 10 – 12 minutes
    While the dough is kneading, add warm water to the dry minced onion and set aside

    Knead by hand until smooth, then place into large oiled bowl and turn to coat
    Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, and allow to rise for 30 minutes
    Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
    Press out air with your fingers and allow to rise until doubled in size, 20 – 30 minutes.

    Drain the minced onion

    Punch down the dough, divide into fourths, roll into ropes and cut into four pieces each rope. I weigh them to be sure they are even in size. Roll into balls. Cover and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
    Roll each ball into a 3 – 4 inch circle. If the dough resists rolling, allow it to rest and go on to the next piece. When all are rolled, take each one and gently stretch it to have a slightly irregular shape, and place onto lightly cornmeal dusted baking pans (I use parchment for easier clean-up, but still use the cornmeal).

    Cover with either flour rubbed cloths or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, and allow to rise until puffy. When you can see some good sized bubbles within, add the teaspoon of oil and the pinch of salt to the drained minced onion. Place an indentation into the center of the bialy (press hard but not through the dough) so that there is a one inch rim of dough surrounding a flattened center (I use a shot glass to press). Place
    the minced onion mixture into the center of each bialy. Lightly dust tops of dough with additional bread flour to make them look more authentic.

    Bake without steam for 15 – 20 minutes, until lightly browned on top.

    I hope you’ll make these and let me know of any changes to improve the recipe. Love reading your blog and recipes.
    Pat Punim

    Pat, I’m dying to try these – thanks for doing most of the work already! Coincidentally, we just started carrying Secrets of a Jewish Baker again – carried it long ago. We have it online as of Monday, new copies, not used. I know it’s cheaper on Amazon, but sometimes, if you’re one of those who doesn’t deal with Amazon – we have it, too. I’ll let you know how these come out- thanks again. PJH

    Reply
  55. Cindy H

    PJH, you posted wonderful pictures, and I’m really excited to try the sea salt on top method! Loved the line about it not being popcorn!
    I have to admit we’ve always made cookies the traditional size – or smaller so they go further, but because of this post would now like to try the ‘5 to a cookie sheet’ size. I use only butter because my daughter likes a softer cookie. The refrigeration helps keep the cookie from spreading too much, as well.
    The salt on top method reminds me of when chefs put a pat of butter on top of a grilled steak to bring out the flavour.
    At any rate, you’ve certainly gotten a lot of responses, and maybe that’s because I’ve never read about or met a person who didn’t love Chocolate Chip Cookies!

    Cindy H
    http://www.jbkpottery.com

    Reply
  56. lizt

    I never have seen almond extract in this type of cookie. I would imagine that any flavouring to ones likeing is ok. I usually leave the flavour to vanilla extract and not the cheap copycat stuff. For cookies to be more cakelike I understand one needs to use some shortning, and the crispy cookies have more butter,or oleo. It is a great idea to use the icecream scoops-I usually use two spoons. However if you use one spoon then one has the opportunity to taste the dough-an extra treat for the baker. Be sure to bake a few too brown-so their are some more treats for the baker also.

    Very good ideas, those extra treats for the bakers! My experience is the more shortening, the crispier; the more butter, the softer. Which makes sense, as butter has milk solids, while shortening is pure fat, and fat, when used in cookies, tends to crisp them up. As for the almond extract, it adds just a hint – a “what IS that wonderful flavor?” – to these cookies, without evidencing itself as almond. But, back to that “more treats for the baker…” : ) PJH

    Reply
  57. Daphne

    I’ve been searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe for years. After trying the one in the Times (I cut down on the salt and mixed by hand, I can honestly say that my long search is over. One great thing about these cookies is that they’re not too sweet. They also keep very well in an airtight container.

    Reply
  58. Rod

    I just baked the KA chocolate chip cookie recipe. I tried the NY Times one, but I think I like the KA recipe better. But what might have made the difference is that I left the dough in the refrigerator for a whopping 5 going on 6 days. The cookies had the right balance of chew and crunch (The KA Bakers companion recipe, which I like, has sort of an artificial gummy/chewy texture in my opinion) and the flavor was amazing. The caramel-like sweetness was fantastic. I ate the whole batch myself in a couple days. And the color was gorgeous. So it’s settled for me, make cookie dough and keep it in the refrigerator for a while before baking. And don’t forget to salt them. That makes so much of a difference. Thanks, KA, for the best chocolate chip cookie in the world!

    Rod, you just made my day – no higher praise than that! Thanks for your kind words… PJH

    Reply
  59. Katie

    I have just made this chocolate chip cookie tonight.. They tasted great, however; it turned out a little bit sandier, I had used all purpose KA flour and everything else follow exactly what it says on recipe. I would like a little chewier kind of cookie, I had baked them around 13 mins(dough were unchilled), didn’t over bake them I assumed, any idea?

    Katie, try substituting butter for the shortening – shortening makes cookies crunchier, while butter makes them softer. PJH

    Reply
  60. Rachel

    Just made them, exactly as the recipe states. Next time, I’ll use less of the discs–a little too much chocolate for me, which is something I thought impossible. But it’s a great recipe, and well worth the trouble.

    I am amused at the people around the internet who are disappointed–they followed the recipe exactly, except they used spelt flour or Crisco or white chocolate or dried eggs or some such weird substitution.

    Rachel, you sound very sensible – indeed, make all the substitutions you want, but don’t expect the final result to be as written. It’s a surprisingly difficult concept to get across… PJH

    Reply
  61. Leigh

    A comment on why the NY Times recipe uses a mix of bread and cake flours. One reason is to achieve greater consistency, which is critical for commercial baking and nice for home baking as well. All-purpose flour has a protein content (think “chewiness”) that varies by up to 50%, even for the same brand. Protein content is dictated both by where the flour is made and by whether it is bleached. On average, this is 7.5-9.5% for Southern flour vs 11-12% for Northern flour. In addition to the more precisely defined protein content achieved by mixing cake and bread flour, cake flour exhibits unique properties that cannot be duplicated by all-purpose flour. Cake flour is bleached by chlorination rather than bromination. Chlorination reduces gluten activity (leading to a tenderer, less chewy result without reducing the actual protein level), slightly acidifies the flour (unsure if the acidity is sufficient to assist the baking soda), and increases the flour’s ability to hold liquid and to distribute fat evenly. In the NY Times recipe, the flour would be penetrated by moisture more completely and evenly using the mixture of two flours than by using all-purpose flour alone. Cake flour also sets faster in the oven and so changes the texture for a given cooking time.

    Some brands of flour can vary considerably in the protein content. However, King Arthur flour has the narrowest specifications in the industry, and varies less than a tenth of a percentage point bag after bag, batch after batch. If you buy our all-purpose flour that’s 11.7% protein, that’s what you get: 11.7%. Our bread flour is 12.7%. The organic all-purpose is 11.8% and the organic bread flour is 12.7%.Mary @KingArthur Flour

    Reply
  62. Dee Skott

    I did a blind taste test with my standard chocolate cookie recipe. The only difference was chilling the batter overnight. It was amazing! Everyone preferred the chilled dough cookies the best. I also find it makes it so much easier. Mix one night, bake the next!

    Yes, I have dough chilling right now… YUM! Thanks for chiming in, Dee – PJH

    Reply
  63. path

    In my small world, chocolate chip cookie dough is just something to hold the walnuts together. And the best recipe I ever used called for the mini chips and may have used only shortening. Since it was on the back of the chip package, which I lost in one of my moves, I can’t be sure. I’ve been hesitant to just substitute, since shortening vs butter may need different amounts. Any advice on that?

    You use less shortening than butter, since shortening is a higher percentage of fat. I kind of wing it when making the substitution – like, if the recipe calls for a stick of butter, I’d probably use 6 tablespoons of shortening… PJH

    Reply
  64. Jackie L.

    I enjoy your blogs so very much, it almost makes me want to bake again. The salt on the tops was suprising and also not. One of the best cookies I used to bake were regular peonut butter cookies with three salted peonut halves on the top. (The old fashioned type of oil roasted peanuts, not the dry roasted ones.) Also almond toffee type candy with a little salt on the top is very good.
    Keep up all the delicious work!

    Thanks, Jackie – I do love that salty/sweet combo. IN fact, I have some of this very cookie dough in the fridge, ready to bake tomorrow morning – with a tiny, tiny pinch of extra-fine salt on top… I’ll have to try the salted peanuts on PB cookies – which, coincidentally, I just made this evening for a photo shoot. Darn, wish I’d read this comment earlier! :) PJH

    Reply
  65. Dana Blumenthal

    I will try this recipe and hopefully will get the results you write about. In the past, I have tried various recipes for these cookies and have been disappointed because the dough does not spread out while baking and the texture of the finished product does not have that crisp exterior with a chewy/soft middle. What am I doing wrong?

    And yes, salt not only enhances chocolate flavor, it is good in molasses/ginger cookies too — really brings out the flavor!

    Dana, have you used the shortening/butter combination in the past? Butter adds spread, shortening adds crisp/crunchiness… I just pulled these cookies out of the oven, and they spread beautifully. I think if you follow the recipe exactly, with no substitutions, these should do well for you. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  66. Kimberly D

    I baked CCC’s in a eatery I worked in and to flatten them out we “dropped” the fresh out of the oven cookie sheet onto the counter, this flattened them out. Also we had to turn all the chips to face up to make them look more appealing to the customers, really if some got missed doing this they would be the last ones to sell. We also kept the cookie dough in the freezer till we needed it, than moved it to the refrigerator to bake them.

    Reply
  67. edie

    I finally got around to making these cookies and as all these comments attest-they are awesome! Instantly dubbed favorites by husband and son.I followed the NY Times recipe and wondered is there an optimal amount of time to let the refrigerated dough sit at room temperature to make it scoopable? I had mine in a metal mixing bowl 24 hrs. and had to have my son do the early scoops until it warmed up. First time he worked for his cookies!

    Well, you can always continue to make your son work! I’d let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so for easiest scoopability. Also, if you put it in a wide/shallow bowl rather than a deep/narrow one, it chills faster and warms up faster… PJH

    Reply
  68. Maria

    A few days after I read this article, I was perusing Shirley O. Corriher’s book “BakeWise” and found an answer to the vinegar conundrum (brilliant book by the way, I highly recommend it for all bakers). In it she says “An acid batter speeds up the cooking of the proteins and the setting of dough.” For cookies, “…this faster setting of the dough helps limit how much the cookies spread.” She goes on to say that baking soda neutralizes the acidity, thereby slowing the setting of the cookies. Baking powder, on the other hand, does not influence the dough’s acidity. I’m guessing the vinegar is added to the KA recipe to combat the fact that those cookies are on the thin side already. Just a guess. Hope this helps someone out!

    Thanks, Maria – I learn something new all the time. Actually, I added the vinegar to cut the sweetness just a tad, and to react with the leavening to add a tiny bit more pop – to yield crunchy rather than hard cookies. But if it keeps them from spreading too much, too, so much the better! PJH

    Reply
  69. Kelly

    My cookies turned out EXACTLY like you said they would: crispy on the outer rims, shiny in the middle (when they came out of the oven). They really are good. I LOVED the pictures and detailed information; thank you. I am thrilled that I discovered this site! What a great resource to bakers of all levels! Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  70. Ken

    I hope you’re still monitoring this comment list. How do I convert a butter amount to a butter + shortening amount or vice versa?
    Quite often the conversion will be half and half. I like to use all butter in some recipes calling for all shortening. I feel the flavor often offsets the fact that I am loosing some flakiness. If you substitute butter in a cookie recipe your cookies will spread more. You may do any percentage you like and you may want to experiment to see which flavor and baked result you like best. Joan D@bakershotline

    Reply
  71. Gene

    I have an oatmeal cookie recipe that evryone hounds me for. The characteristic that gets everybody, is that the cookie sets up fairly quick (very little spread) and is slightly hollow inside. When I make them, it’s a crap shoot whether or not they come out hollow. Here’s my question- do you think it’s the possible variance in flour protien?

    Thank you,

    Obsessed

    No idea, Gene – I’ve never heard of anything like this. Try calling our Baker’s Hotline – 802-649-3717. Perhaps someone there can puzzle this out with you. PJH

    Reply
  72. Tracy

    I live at 6300 ft. and my cookies (and family) have suffered! When I follow any regular recipe my cookies turn out flat and crisp.
    Some say add less/more Baking Powder, more flour, ingredients must be cold…etc. Still, not the perfect cookie. I need a specific recipe that I can follow!
    I have a gas oven if that makes any difference.
    Please help! After seeing your pictures, I HAVE to make these CC Cookies today!
    Thank you,
    Tracy H.
    Arizona

    I am sorry to hear of your difficulty. Adapting recipes at altitude is an experiment. For High Altitude adjsutment info, please check the chart: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes2008/high-altitude-baking.html

    If you need immediate assistance, please call us: 800-827-6836. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  73. Robyn

    I’ve been making the Essential Chewy Chocolate chip cookie from the KA Cookie Companion cook bood for years. I use one cup each of semi-sweet, milk and white chocolate chips in each batch. I bake them on non stick foil and pull the foil off the cookie sheets as soon as they come out of the oven. When asked what is in them because they are always a huge hit I hesitate to mention the vinegar and corn syrup becuase people are funny about certain ingredients. I sometimes chill the dough for a few hours because of time constraints.. making the dough in the morning, baking it in the afternoon. I think the dough is easier to handle after it has been in the refrigerator. I enjoy your baking tips and the KA website.oh one more thing, I tried baking them in muffin top pans which requires 1/4 cup of dough and they came out perfect at 12 minutes baking time.

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  74. Lenora Bejarano

    I love KA dearly…I do, but for cc cookies, bread flour is the way to go. I have tried my culinary school recipe (all bread flour) against the cc recipe in The Bakers Companion and the KAF recipe didn’t work so well. It may be partly due to the type of chips used. I used chunks and they held better, probably because of the gluten content?

    There may be any number of variables that influrence the final cookie, not just one ingredient. Our recipes are balanced for our flours. The NYT’s recipe is balanced for it’s blend of flours, cake and bread. With cookies, I think, gluten content is secondary to the flour’s ability to absorb the moisture released from the fats, eggs, and sweeteners during baking. Good luck as you continue your tests for the ideal CCC. Frank @ KAF.

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  75. Kathryn Price

    I separated the batch and baked some of the cookies right away and some after chilling the dough for 18 hours. The chilled batch did have a richer flavor, but they were also drier. They also browned more than the first batch and that may have been a fault in my baking time for the second batch. Anyone notice the chilled cookies being drier? In terms of flavor, I honestly preferred the batch that went straight into the oven without chilling. The flavors seemed purer to me and distinct chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, in a lighter way that I liked. I tried a small amount of sea salt on the second batch and I think I prefer it without. At any rate, the first batch was the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made and so this recipe is a keeper.

    Thanks for the complete report, Kathryn. The longer you chill, I think the more pronounced the caramel flavor becomes – and the less distinct the other flavors. It’s all what you prefer. The dough definitely dries out gradually in the fridge; perhaps they need to bake a bit less, for that reason, if they’ve had “the big chill.” Thanks again – PJH

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  76. Carol Daniels

    I just can’t get myself to use that vegetable shortening….help…. You can use all butter, but it will make the cookies spread more. Mary@KAF

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  77. Daphne

    As for CCC aesthetics, after inspecting lots of magazine and cookie-mix package photos, I’ve started to press a few chocolate chips halfway into the cookie dough just before baking, some pointy side up, some not. Or chocolate chunks, if using those instead. It DOES make a more attractive looking cookie when some of the chips or chunks are exposed and not covered in dough. And yes, the sprinkling of salt on top does take the cookie up to the next level!

    Speaking of ccc aesthetics – this is a common technique for food stylists. What, you thought all those magazine pics of gorgeous cookies were “real”? Well, they are – with a bit of help! thanks, Daphne- PJH

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  78. freckles0062

    Dear KAF staff: LOVE your helpful blogs and your products! Thank you so much!
    My question:
    A lot of baking calls for room temp butter, eggs, milk etc. Since I’m an impulse baker I rarely have the patience or fore thought to wait for it to come to temp. Other than the obvious, butter blends better when warmer, what is the science behind room temp vs. still chilled?

    Softened butter will blend into a smooth paste with the sugars, while the chilled butter will stay in chunks amid the sugars. Chunks of butter have their place in pie crust or scones, but not so much in cookies! Irene @ KAF

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  79. Pierre plavio@videotron.ca

    Great post! I like the Leite cookies smaller like 1.5 oz. Last spring I did side by side testing of a dozen top rated cookie like the Lebovitz, the Baked cookie and several others and to my great surprise the Leite cookie beat my favorite. Anyways if you’re interested checkout my blog at http://www.thegrinninggourmet.com/?page_id=178. Thanks for the post.

    Thanks for sharing your blog link, Pierre – always interesting to see other bakers’ results… PJH

    Reply
  80. Kris

    Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are my favorite cookie and cookies are my favorite dessert. I have tried many recipes and find that I like to divide the labor, especially at holiday times. This means freezing dough, producing the same results you write about.

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  81. GirlG

    Yum.these look delish,but my mother loves cookies fresh from the oven and last time i used a recipe like this everyone was “those need to bake more” and i ended up WAY overbaking them.But of course since my brother said he would do my dishes 2 days in a row if i baked them more i without a doubt in my mind popped them in the oven.

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  82. chinchillalover

    Kinda confused here.I went to your recipe called CHEWY AND CRISP CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES and went to this blog,but the link to the recipe on this blog go’s to your recipe called CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.I hope you understand why i’m confused.
    Hi there,
    Yes, this is the same recipe under two different names. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes when a recipe is used in a blog, it gets a slightly jazzier title in the email, so we print it twice so folks will have the easiest time finding it. Sorry if we made it confusing instead of helpful. ~ MaryJane

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  83. Justine

    These cookies are amazing! I was a little skeptical of using vinegar and almond extract but it made for one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. The sprinkle of sea salt makes them even more amazing. I can throw all my other chocolate chip cookie recipes away.

    Justine, so glad you discovered this recipe – it’s totally my “go to” cc cookie recipe. Happy you agree! :) PJH

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  84. "The Yumyum Lady"

    I find it really “shocking” that PJ doesn’t understand the people who put so much significance on the NY Times Dinning section.
    “You have GOT to be kidding. People really take food this seriously? Is it a New York thing, or…?” No PJ it isn’t a New York thing. It’a a food thing. Thousands of people who love to eat, love to cook and love to bake, from every corner of this country and all over the world, love reading the NY Times Dinning section. It informs and inspires us of what’s happening in the food world and provides wonderful recipes and articles on food. Like the one about Chocolate Chip Cookies. I think people who love to bake are especially interested in the minutia of recipes. I will often compare 3 or 4 recipes for the same thing and compare them, then decide which to try or create my own version. If people didn’t take food and baking so seriously, no one would be reading this!

    Thanks for your input… I’m deeply interested in food; and I read the NYT dining section when I can. It’s fun; it’s well-written. But to me, food isn’t critical in the same sense that family, helping others, and doing the right thing are. Each to his own, right? Still, I’m sorry you took offense at what I wrote; that certainly wasn’t my intent. PJH

    Reply
  85. swarm

    Fun thread. I found it searching for a recipe to replicate a CC cookie I had 30 years ago! Not spready but mound-ish. Not brown sugary tan but yellow. (ha). Not crispy, not soft cakey but something in the middle. Defiantly not chewy – more like a moist shortbread. Soooo…the vinegar. It’s mentioned and will likely help me get this cookie nailed so I’m off to find the “KA recipe with vinegar”. Thank you!

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  86. David

    It certainly makes a difference putting the dough in the fridge before baking…
    add some powdered sugar.
    David Leite

    Reply
  87. Melinda

    All of your cookies look underdone to me, even the ones you described as overbaked! I like my CC cookies deeply tanned and crisp, not chewy at all. I will try substituting some of the butter with shortening, though. I used to achieve my perfect desired result by using Imperial brand margarine, but, despite what the manufacturer claims, it isn’t the same any more and I have great difficulty acquiring the right texture, now.
    Anyway, I always enjoy reading your posts!

    Reply
  88. Joan DelPozzo

    Did you know the Toll House is gone and there’s a Wendy’s and condos there now, but Ruth Wakefield’s house still stands. At any rate our neighbor baked the best ever and my mother kept asking. She said she followed the recipe on the package. Mom tried butter, margarine, and both, but they were never as good. Eventually we learned that it was Crisco and just a tad more flour, with the Nestle’s chips. When you grow up in that area, you know what a real CC cookie is supposed to taste like. Who has time for chilling when the grandkids are coming?

    Reply
  89. Nancy

    I always love your posts!
    Have you ever tried browning the butter before baking chocolate chip cookies? It adds a layer of depth and flavor.

    Reply
  90. Nina

    I know this is probably unacceptable, but I have always used salted butter. Maybe with salted butter, putting the salt on top would be too much. I might try it anyway, but now I’m thinking I was on to something without realizing it.

    Reply
  91. marilynr

    Although one batch was overcooked, I bet you did not have any trouble finding someone to eat those cookies!

    I tend to agree with you about using some shorteining with the butter in chocolate chip cookies. What a surpirse that after all of these years, somone is still fiddling with thar recipe!

    Reply

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