A few weeks ago I got a text from one of my friends saying, “Kristen! I need your best old fashioned chocolate chip cookie recipe. My love life depends on it!”
What’s a girl to do? Immediately get searching for the perfect recipe.
A chocolate chip cookie is pretty fool proof, right? How hard could it be?
After chatting with a few friends who like to bake and doing a quick Pinterest search, I realized that chocolate chip cookies are serious business. Check out this pin to see how different the results are when you change the ratios of ingredients. New questions haunted me, such as: Melted butter or room temp? Chewy or crunchy texture? Ideal ratio of chocolate chips to dough? I felt in over my head.
Chocolate Chip Cookie 1
My first inclination was to turn to my most trusted recipe books. My friend wanted the best, and usually the ladies submitting recipes in local cook books only send their most tried and true. I quickly whipped up a batch and presented it to the Hermit for testing. We both agreed that while it was a very good cookie, it was probably not good enough to win over the heart of our friends love interest. The search continued.
Chocolate Chip Cookie 2
The Hermit suggested I look at the Serious Eats blog. If there was a perfect recipe out there, it was likely to be there. This one was way more complicated that your average chocolate chip cookie recipe. Would it be worth all the trouble? I am notoriously impatient, especially when it comes to food, so I was not 100% convinced.
A day later (the dough has to chill overnight) we tried the fruits of my labour. It was good. Very good. The flavour was complex and nothing like I had tasted before. However, I was still personally looking for a softer cookie.
Chocolate Chip Cookie 3
After some contemplation, neither the Hermit nor I was completely happy with the texture of the other two cookies. Enter a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. My favourite shortbread cookie’s secret ingredient is cornstarch, so I was looking for a recipe that used it too, in the hope that this would be the one.
It was amazing fresh out of the oven. This was what I was looking for. The Hermit decided that while it was amazing, he still preferred the second one.
Time for some “science”
Now the odds that our friend would be able to serve chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven to a new love interest were probably zero to none. Whatever cookie recipe we decided on, it had to hold up well a day or two later. We also currently had a sample size of two, which does not make for good science.
I decided I would conduct a taste test with some of my friends and while still not totally scientific, it would at least provide us with a bigger sample size.
For your amusement, here are some of my favourite comments:
Cookie number 1: “A wonderful soft butter-like texture with the feeling like it just came out of the oven. Big thumbs up.
Cookie number 2: “Looks like it has caramel? Buttery and delicious. The texture is perfect–soft and moist. Many tastes– caramel, butter, chocolate, brown sugar.
Cookie number 3: “Best plate appeal, nice and soft. Good chocolate to cookie ratio. Good shape. They taste like Grandma made them.”
The “under 5 years old vote” was undecided. Evelyn chose number 3 and did an absolute happy dance because Mom and Dad let her participate.
Dominic decided to go with number 1 and declared it delicious. He ate about half and then ran away.
Which Chocolate Chip Cookie is the Best?
A funny thing happened along the way. There was no clear winner. People who where not a big fan of sweets in general gravitated towards cookie number 2, and people who liked sweets gravitated towards cookie number 3.
One unhappy soul *cough my mother cough* didn’t like any of the cookies. She wanted oatmeal. Go figure.
Another disgruntled tester declared that if it was a matter of love, none of the cookies really made the cut. He wanted, “a cookie that is 5/16 to 3/8 of an inch thick with a tiny bit of crunch on the edges (1/8th of an inch) and is soft on the inside. There should only be one layer of chocolate content that is dispersed evenly in one layer. The perfect diameter would be 1 3/4″ to 2″ thick.”
A fourth cookie to unite them all was in order.
The Search Continues
I decided to come up with a recipe that combined the best of cookie two and three. Bonus if I could get a good flavour without having to chill the dough overnight. Unfortunately, my original testers were unavailable. Who could I get to test them?
This is one of the many reasons why God has given me a show choir to direct. It provides me with the perfect outlet for my music and dance skills, and my university students are willing recipients of my stress baking.
They were a little confused as to why I had a container of 100 chocolate chip cookies, but once I explained to them what I was doing, they were more than happy to play along.
Here’s what they had to say about the fourth cookie.
“Immediately melts in your mouth. Feels like munching on a fluffy little cloud. Two thumbs up.” -a tenor
“This cookie had the most desirable mid-point between soft and chewy and crunchy. It’s spread of chocolate was most pleasing, as it appeared to have hit just the right mix of chocolate and dough. This cookie could even show potential without the chocolate.” -an unnamed accompanist
“It’s fluffy and just dense enough. Yass.” – a bass
and from one tester who just wanted to eat. . .
“2 best, 3 pretty good, 1 least best. . . still good.”
And The Winner Is??
Really, it all comes down to what you want in a chocolate chip cookie. (Or oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. . . Mom.) However, if there was anything I learned, it was that to please the most people, your recipe should include browned butter (worth the extra work!!) and only use brown sugar. Other than that, you really can’t please them all.
Here’s the fourth recipe I developed for your baking pleasure.
My-Love-Life-Depends-on-it Chocolate Chip CookiesThey say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. These chocolate chip cookies are guaranteed to win him over.
1 cup salted butter,
1 cup brown sugar,
3 egg yolks,
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips.
Brown butter in a frying pan and set aside to cool. In a bowl, mix cooled butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and chocolate chips. Roll into tubes of your desired thickness and set dough in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Cut dough into discs and cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Eat immediately for the best taste. Keeps well for up to a week.
Whether you’re single, newly dating, or coupled forever, I wish you all the happiness and love you deserve this Valentines Day.