Last week I attempted the two recipes in my cookie throwdown that require bread flour. I figured this would be a good comparison in texture, and therefore, kept all of the other ingredients the same. I didn’t want different butters or chocolate chips impacting my taste test.
First I made the Alton Brown recipe. It was a soft, melty batter that was difficult to work with. As the recipe suggested, I refrigerated it for a couple of hours before baking. After reading the reviews on his website, I tried to head off some of the common problems. First, I heeded the advice of many and baked at 350 instead of 375 and for only 12 minutes instead of 15. Didn’t matter. My cookies burned. Next I lowered the temp to 325. I followed that with another batch at 350 and then one at 375, both for 7-9 minutes. It didn’t seem to make much difference what I did, the cookies spread to thin, flat disks. They fell apart when I put them on the cooling rack. Even cooled, they fell apart when I ate them. That said, they tasted good, chewy like he promised, although a little lacking in substance. I actually liked them better the next day than I did fresh. The rest of the dough is currently in the freezer where I have been cooking off two at a time. My results are still the same.
The other batch I tried was the NY Times adaptation of Jacques Torres’s recipe. Due to time constraints, I only refrigerated those for 24 hours (on the short end of the 24-36 hour suggestion). They looked and tasted like professional cookies – much like the lovely little treats we used to get at Mrs. Fields at the shopping mall when I was a child. These were definitely better fresh, although they did hold in a sealed container for two days. The second half of that batch stayed in the fridge for 72 hours and then was relocated to the freezer. Like the others, I bake up two at a time, with consistent results.
Overall, I like the NY Times cookies, but they are a fussier recipe to make, and because they call for a combination of bread and cake flours, and at least 24 hours of rest time, they are not my go to recipe.
Two side notes:
1. I also used this recipe for non-chocolate-chip cookies, simply baking up some batter without adding the chips for someone who has a chocolate allergy. They were delicious sugar cookies! They earned rave reviews from 4 different tasters.
2. I used Trader Joe’s chocolate chips in both recipes, which an internet search tells me are actually Callebaut chips and are 50% cacao. (Because of this, I went a little light on the white sugar in the NY Times recipe since it called for at least 60% cacao.)