Cookie Discovery

November 19, 2008 at 7:26 pm (Uncategorized)

You may remember this summer the New York Times posted a long article about the perfect chocolate chip cookie. The article and accompanying recipe made the blog-rounds and got people talking. Here is a link to the article. Basically, the idea is that you need to let the dough rest for 36 hours because the egg is very slow to absorb into the flour. I thought this was a bit of a preposterous idea – chocolate chip cookies are something you make on a whim and eat half the batch while they’re still warm from the oven. Who plans on eating their cookie in 36 hours? Frankly, in my home, after 36 hours, there are only chocolate crumbs left.

But I thought the idea was intriguing – that the cookie can taste different and have different textures depending on how long the dough has been resting. At the 36 hour mark, the cookie is supposed to have a delightfully crispy-crunch outer ring, followed by a chewy middle ring, and a soft center.

Last weekend I made a batch of cookie and I baked a third on Friday night, a third Saturday night and a third on Sunday night. Here are my impressions.

At the 0-hour mark, the cookie was very, very sweet. It was uniformly soft throughout and uniform in color (light brown). The texture was uniform also. Basically, it was the cookie treat we all think of, but it didn’t have much complexity or sophistication. Not that you need those in a cookie, but this experiment is promising more, you know?

On Saturday, at the 24 hour mark, the cookie did crisp up in the center, but there was only one other ring – a chewy middle. It was much less sweet, and less cloying. You could taste a more pronounced butter flavor and the chocolate wasn’t nearly as overwhelming. It also had a more satisfying bite, heft, and golden color.

The Sunday cookie, baked at 48-hours, surprised me the most. It did indeed have three distinct regions; a crispy outer ring, a chewy middle and the very center was extremely soft – almost gooey. Because of the different textures, the flavor did have more nuance depending on where you were biting into. But, I didn’t much care for the gooey center as it was too mushy. I wonder if you would achieve the same result if the cookie was baked 12 hours earlier, but based on this experiment, I conclude that the 24-hour rest period produced a cookie that I liked best.

All that being said, there is no such thing as a bad chocolate chip cookie! If you can wait, or save some dough to bake later, the cookie does take on different properties, but it all depends on your personal preference. I’m still not sure I can wait 24 hours to eat a cookie, but I can at least save some of the dough for later.

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