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.
6 thoughts on “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie”
I dropped in to see if you had any publishing news, and what do I see as I scroll down, but chocolate chip cookie recipes! I’ll have to try the toffee variety. My husband is off oatmeal choc chip, so I’ll skip those – have you tried the recipe on the Ghirardelli packages, though?
And if you’re interested, I’ve got a couple more you may not have run across: one uses bread flour and pastry flour, and should sit overnight before baking. The local newspaper printed it a while ago. The second recipe’s most noticeable variation is that it melts the butter and sugar together, which makes for a different texture. We got it from the King Arthur flour catalog, and make it with Ghirardelli’s bittersweet chips. yummy!
(adds more graham crackers to the shopping list. I’ve been using them for pie crusts and don’t have two cups worth left.)
So – is there anything more with a publication date? I’d like to see more of the book that was teasered at the end LotBE. Or the one you’ve posted an extract of above with Oressa.
FWIW, I got the relationship between Geraint and Beguchren. You can’t imagine it is how refreshing it was to see respect and friendship between men without the modern cliche of gay sex (or at least attaction) between them.
Oh, yes, the recipe with bread flour and pastry flour sounds interesting — I’d love to try it. The King Arthur one I have, I also got it from the catalog, and isn’t it nice to have a recipe where you’re supposed to melt the butter? Sometimes I do accidentally, while trying just to soften it, and it certainly does make a difference.
I just got some more graham crackers because I really loved that recipe; also graham cracker crumbs are good in biscuits. Don’t know why I’m liking graham cracker crumbs as an ingredient when I don’t like actual graham crackers at all, but life is mysterious.
Thanks for the comment about the Gereint – Beguchren relationship; yes, sometimes it seems to me that authors just drop in a gay sexual relationship because it’s kind of expected rather than because it’s suited to the characters.
HOUSE OF SHADOWS is the one that’s got a teaser at the back of the Griffin Mage LofBE. It’s pub date has been shifting around a bit, but it’s now expected out next summer, I believe. I love the draft of the cover, but it hasn’t been finalized enough for me to post, yet.
I’d love to tell you about the scheduled pub date for the story with Oressa, but I haven’t even really all-the-way finished that one yet! I should be sending it to my agent about August-ish, and then hopefully she will sell it (I wrote it on spec) and THEN you can bet I will tell everybody all the details as they emerge.
Here you go!
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from my local paper, SJ Mercury News 7/08)
I find this particular recipe works better if I weigh the flour, sugar, butter, & chips instead of measuring by volume.
8 & ½ ounces cake/pastry flour (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons)
8 & ½ ounces bread flour (1 & 2/3 cup)
1 & 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 & ½ teaspoon baking powder
3/4 tsp regular salt or 1&1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
12 ounces butter (2 & ½ sticks, or 1 & 1/4 cups) unsalted specified, but I don’t usually bother.
10 ounces light brown sugar (1 & 1/4 cups)
8 ounces granulated sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 & 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate chips, disks or feves, at least 60% cacao content
Sea salt to sprinkle over the cookies at baking (optional)
Note on ingredients: I made this recipe once using whole grain pastry flour. It didn’t work nearly as well as with plain, white pastry flour. Substituting all purpose once when we ran short of bread flour didn’t make a great cookie, either. For cookies – for anything except frozen chocolate concoctions, really – Tahitian vanilla adds some extra punch, if you can get it. Cook’s Cookie Vanilla is a mix of Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla and is the next best choice.
I have one of those big Kitchen Aid stand mixers, with a 4 quart bowl and this dough fills it pretty full for mixing.
Mixing directions: sift dry ingredients other than sugar together and set aside. Using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together for at least five minutes, until very light. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Reduce speed and add dry ingredients mixing just until combined, 5-10 seconds. Add chocolate pieces and mix in without breaking them (much).
Either cover with plastic wrap in bowl, or put in a refrigerator container with lid, and refrigerate the dough for at least 24 hours. Dough can be held for 72 hours.
Baking: preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop six 3-1/2 oz mounds of dough (golf ball size approximately) onto baking sheet ‘making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie.’ Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (I did not like the effect and skip this) and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18-20 minutes. Cool for ten minutes on baking sheet, then slip off to cool more. “Eat warm, with a big napkin.’
I did once weigh out the 3.5 oz of dough for each cookie. Once. Then I decided using the ice cream scoop gave me close enough to the size I wanted. It’s really stiff dough when you get it out of the fridge and I needed something sturdy enough to dig it out.
And if you like chocolate cookies, you really should take a look at the Absolutely Deep Dark Chocolate Fudge Cookies in the Death By Chocolate cookbook.
If you ever want a beta reader I’d be happy to take a look at Oressa or anything else. I’ll look for HOUSE OF SHADOWS next summer.
Thanks! You certainly provide detailed directions — as you saw, I kind of went with the assumption that people who wanted to make the cookies would basically know how to make cookies. I’m not patient enough to spell everything out, I guess.
I’ll definitely try these, and I definitely won’t substitute one flour for another. I don’t have a big mixer, though, so probably half the dough will do for me.
I might very well take you up on the beta reader thing, if you’d really be interested.
I actually shortened a lot. But I left in the things that I’ve skimped on and the cookies didn’t turn out quite as well. I don’t understand WHY fluffing the butter and sugar so thoroughly makes such a difference when the dough is going to sit overnight, but it seems to.
(You think that’s detailed, I’ve seen recipes that tell you how to butter the pan! I just use parchment paper, or non-stick foil. Much easier.)
And yes, I was serious in my offer. If you want to know more about me and my taste in books (besides yours) before accepting, that’s fine. But should probably not be in a comment thread.
Yes, parchment paper is your friend!