So a few weeks ago I mentioned I was going to make a lot of different kinds of chocolate chip cookies, each purported to be the BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE IN THE WORLD, and have a taste test.
I actually have seventeen different chocolate chip cookie recipes in my “everyday cookie” file, each of which looks different enough or interesting enough to keep. I didn’t have time to make all seventeen kinds for the test, but I made eight. One doesn’t really count because it had vanilla chips and dried cranberries in it, but no real chocolate chips. (I knew at least one person didn’t like chocolate, and she did like these.)
So, seven cookies — pretty paltry, but enough for a first wave of testing, right? The recipes varied in whether they called for shortening, butter, or margarine (yes, one called for margarine specifically); in the proportion of white to brown sugar; and in the use of oats and / or nuts. I used top-quality Gheradelli chocolate chips for all the cookies. They’re by far the best chocolate chips I know of — I did my own taste test for chips first.
We actually had a tie between a pretty ordinary cookie with one interesting twist and a very unusual cookie. Just in case you’re interested in trying out some fantastic chocolate cookies, here are the winners!
1) Lindsay’s Chocolate Cafe Cookies
These are from an article I saw someplace that featured them as The Best in the World. I don’t remember where I saw the article, but I googled Lindsay’s Chocolate Cafe, and it turns out it’s in St. Louis, so it may well have been a local newspaper or something. These are basic chocolate chip cookies, but very good. The use of butter rather than shortening and the inclusion of walnuts and grated chocolate are what set these apart. Shortening is used in lots of chocolate chip cookie recipes, including the (quite decent) Tollhouse Cookie recipe. It gives a good texture to the finished cookie, but of course misses the butter taste, which is one reason I think Lindsay’s cookies were one of my winners.
2 1/2 C rolled oats
2 C flour
1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 C chopped walnuts
4 oz grated chocolate (easiest to grate cold chocolate in a food processor)
And the standard directions for cookies: Combine the dry ingredients, cream together the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs and vanilla, stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts and grated chocolate, drop on cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or so.
Now, the weirdest recipe, also a winner and my personal favorite! I have no idea where this recipe came from. Some ingredient or combination of ingredients gave these cookies this fantastic chewy texture. If you don’t like graham crackers, try these anyway — the graham cracker taste morphs into something completely different and far superior when used in these cookies.
2) Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 C butter, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 C fine graham cracker crumbs (grind in food processor)
3/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 C semisweet chocolate chips
1 C English toffee bits
Beat together the butter and condensed milk. Combine the dry ingredients and stir in. Stir in chocolate chips and English toffee bits. Drop on cookie sheets, back at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or so. I always line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and I definitely suggest it here, as I suspect the toffee bits would stick if the sheets were unlined.