Well sometimes it's best to focus on why you started doing what you were doing in the first place. Personally, I took a hiatus from blogging to focus on my business, only to realize that I missed playing around with new recipes every weekend and sharing them with my readers. But why can't I do both? So I'm back in the kitchen with a different POV and really taking the time to focus on baking. And what better way than to start with cookies.
There are way too many cookie recipes on this earth. That is a fact.
So I decided instead of creating a bunch of recipes for this post, I would share one that I found worked quite well that already existed along with the tweaks I made to the recipe based on what I've read from various authors. That ended up being a recipe developed by Jacques Torres which you can find here. It's rich, the texture is spot on, and I think it embodies that idea of what the "perfect" cookie looks and tastes like.
1. Chocolate chips are nice, but have you tried baker's chocolate?
Here's something you might've never noticed about chocolate chips - have you noticed that when you take your cookies out of the oven, the chips in your cookies seem to stay intact? They retain their shape because they have less cocoa butter which prevents them from melting completely. Baker's chocolate melts more quickly because it is made with more cocoa butter making the chocolate richer. (You also get those delicious pockets of melted chocolate that ooze when you take a big bite).
2. Add a sprinkle of sea salt to your cookies.
If there's anything you take away from this list, it should be to salt your cookies before throwing them in the oven. Seriously. Sprinkle sea salt, or any table salt on the dough right before entering the oven and you'll get really intense flavors. And we all know how delicious sweet and salty make as a combo, so what've you got to lose?
3. Chill the dough for as long as your stomach can handle.
We all roll our eyes at recipes that require you to chill dough over night. What a chore. But for the sake of killer cookies, I sucked it up, and gave it a test. The cookies in the picture above use the same Jacques Torres recipe, the only difference was the chill time. The cookie on the left sat 36 hours before baking, and the cookie on the right was only chilled 24 hours. I was legitimately surprised to discover that there was an actual taste difference. The cookie chilled for longer had more complex flavors and tasted less buttery. Just try it once and you'll be fixed.
4. Cake flour makes cookies fluffy. Bread flour makes cookies chewy.
I had never made the connection that I can use different combinations of flours to create different textured cookies until now. If you're looking for a cookie that's a lighter and softer; substitute out some of the all-purpose flour for cake flour. If you're looking for a cookie with more chew, substitute some with bread flour (or rye flour if you're feeling adventurous).
These experiments changed a lot about what I consider to be a well-rounded cookie recipe. If you have a little time and a passion for really good chocolate chip cookies, give some of these tips a try, challenge yourself to give Jacques Torres' recipe a try and share what you came up with in the comments below!
Until next time friends.