Secrets to Making the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Baking can be the ultimate test for many a novice chef just starting down the culinary path. The many variables combine to test the patience of even the most experienced chef. Because the chemistry of each recipe has very little margin for error, the slightest miscalculations can give disastrous results. Not only is the heat disbursement of each oven inexact, water quality varies greatly, and each supplier has slightly different properties to the oils and flours they provide commercial bakeries.
Secret Number One
Butter is one of the most temperamental cookie ingredients, but is required for almost all recipes. It has wonderful flavor that cannot be reproduced by other oils, but because of its low melting point is must be used in lower proportions than other oils so that your cookie does not spread all over your cookie sheet, running into the other cookies and becoming one gigantic flat crisp cookie.
The solution is to use equal parts of shortening and butter instead of an all butter recipe. This way you get to take advantage of the best properties of both ingredients. Also, use an ice cream scoop to round your cookie dough and place your cookie tray into the refrigerator for an hour before you place it into the over. This should assure that your cookies don't turn out flat. You may also want to double pan your cookie sheets, especially if the heat is radiating up from the bottom of your oven, so as not to burn the bottom of the cookies.
Secret Number Two
This secret is a little tricky but well worth the effort. Substitute some cake flour for proportional amounts of regular flour and white sugar. This makes for a lighter chewier cookie. You will have to experiment to get this tip exactly right. I will show you what I do in the recipe example I give.
Secret Number Three
Substitute some brown sugar for part of your white sugar portion. Twenty five percent usually works for me. This also adds to the chewiness of the cookie. Brown sugar will also add more layers of flavor and make for an overall more sophisticated cookie.
In the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe below I might start by removing 1 1/2 cups of flour and half a cup of sugar for two cups of chocolate cake mix. I have already adjusted the butter shortening ratio. Next, I would substitute one cup of brown sugar for one cup of white sugar.
* 1 cup of shortening
* 2 cups butter, softened
* 3 cups white sugar
* 4 eggs
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/3 cup cocoa powder
* 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup walnuts
* 3.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven for at least ten minutes to 350 degrees.
2. This is large recipe which can be cut down. You will still need a large bowl in which to beat
sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until creamy. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt;
stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Fold the chocolate chips and walnuts into the
batter. Scoop the cookies out of the bowl with an ice cream scoop.
3. Bake 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Take cookies from the cookie sheets as early as you
can and let cool.
These tips are a guide to help you make the perfect cookie. Try the tips on your favorite cookie recipe. Remember to keep adjusting your recipe until you have made the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Most importantly, never, but never, give up.