Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Olympics

The contendors
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
Today is my 2nd blogiversary! To celebrate I originally intended to do something elaborate and involved, but then I came across Cream Puffs in Venice's entry on the chocolate chip cookie heard round the world, and hit inspiration.

You know, there are a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, since it is such a classic. A lot of them claim to be the best. So I figured, why not put them to the test!

Some of the judges
Before we get to the challenge, please get to know our judges, some of the staff and faculty of the library at Furman University, where I am privileged to be the music librarian. I brought the three recipes of chocolate chip cookies to break today and encouraged feedback. I think most people had at least three cookies, so they were prepared to give a score!

Urban Legend Cookies
Let's start with what I've named the Urban Legend Cookies. I'm sure you've heard the story, or something similar, where someone ate at the Neiman Marcus cafe, liked a cookie, asked for the recipe, and was charged $250 for it. To get back, they have made this recipe freely available to you, and please forward it to all of your friends. I first made this recipe years ago, back when I actually read forwards in my e-mail, and laughed when my Mom sent it to me the other day like it was something new.

You can check out if you want to know if the story has any truth, but true or not, this story at least has longevity. I included it merely for its story, knowing I didn't care much for the cookie itself. Ground up oats is a terrific idea, but there are simply too many dry ingredients in this cookie for my taste.

Neiman Marcus offers a recipe on their web site to counter the urban legend, but this is not the one I made (although it actually sounds pretty good). Instead I made the one that has been forwarded to me, and now you can too, if you want. My mixer wouldn't even hold the entire thing, and I would recommend halving it.

Tollhouse Chocolate Recipe
The second recipe vying for gold was the original Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, what most people think of as chocolate chip cookies. That is the most frequent comment made from the "judges," that this recipe was what they remembered from childhood. The texture was also remarked on. I have to admit, I cheat on this recipe a bit - instead of using 1 cup butter, I used half butter and half margarine because they stay softer longer. Other than that, this is THE original recipe, and is what I would recommend if you just want something classic.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Jacques Torres recipe)
A few more than half of the judges picked the Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie as being their favorite. This is the recipe Cream Puff posted about as well, and I don't understand the science any more than she did, but the strangest step is leaving the dough in the fridge for 24 hours. It did have much more depth of flavor than the other two, and seemed to hint or beg of orange, despite a lack of citrus. For some of the judges, it was far too salty, and did indeed have 3 times as much salt as the other two recipes.

For the cookie olympics of 2008, the Jacques Torres recipe gets the gold by a millisecond. The traditional Tollhouse recipe wins the silver, and the urban legend Neiman Marcus arrives at a distant third, but picks up the bronze medal.

For a funnier take on chocolate chip cookies, please visit my good friends at Cakespy. Okay, I've never met them, but they're the kind of people you want to claim to know.

Categories: Chocolate, Cookies


Anonymous said...

That is so fun that you did this. One of my friends is the chocolate cookie legend. they are what I consider great. She refuses to share the recipe which I dont understand but I am going to try a couple of these to see if I can find a similar or even better cookie!

vanillasugarblog said...

Ok those look mighty good. Love the pic with the cute guy with the fro. :-)

Honeyspy said...

All of these look so delicious! What fun!

And co-sign: the kid with the big hair is a cutie.