Chocolate chip cookies are a real classic, and I don’t know too many people who don’t like chocolate chip cookies. There are however some variations in texture such as chewiness, crunchiness, and chunkiness.
I don’t bake chocolate chip cookies all that often actually, but I randomly came across one recipe which claimed that it was a chewy delight, and I do have a soft spot for chewy cookies (or brownies for that matter, but that is a whole other discussion).
After seeing this one recipe (Dorie Greenspan’s recipe on Food52), it led me to another (David Leite’s on the New York Times), and then another (King Arthur Flour). All of these recipes of course had pretty big claims of being crunchy and chewy at the same time, and bursting with flavor, so I had to test them all to see if their recipe really lives up to their claims.
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The ingredients for the most part are basically the same, and the process is primarily the same as well. Cream the butter with the sugars, add eggs, then the dry ingredients. All of these recipes also instructed to make similar sized balls out of the dough, so it made for easy comparison.
There are however some notable differences.
Dorie Greenspan’s recipe calls for rolled oats which the recipe claims is the key to its chewiness and that it does not interfere with the texture because there isn’t that much in there. I beg to differ. I think there were enough oats in there that you can tell. And when there are oats in there, it is a chocolate chip oat cookie. The recipe is titled “Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies”. It’s rather misleading and a bit disappointing. This recipe also calls for melted butter. Not certain on what the benefit of this is, since it’s an extra step.
David Leite’s recipe calls for cake flour and bread flour. Fortunately I have both types of flours readily available, but for someone who only has all-purpose flour in their pantry, they would have to go out and buy cake flour and bread flour just for this recipe. I honestly don’t think it made enough of a difference. Since the recipe mixes the two flours equal in weight, that might as well be all-purpose flour.
There are two ingredients in King Arthur Flour’s recipe that are different from the other two. It has 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening (I used refined coconut oil) and 1 teaspoon vinegar. I gather the vinegar is to help the baking soda do its magic. And the vegetable shortening may seem like it won’t do anything but…this takes me to the next point:
Chocolate chip cookies after they have cooled down.
I think all chocolate chip cookies taste great when they are fresh out of the oven, gooey and warm. But sometimes when you bake a batch of cookies, not all of them end up down the hatch. So, what of the poor leftovers? I felt that the true test of a good chocolate chip cookie is what it’s like after it has cooled down. So this is precisely what I did. I waited. And then ate them.
The result? King Arthur Flour’s chocolate chip cookies remained chewy and soft. I wonder if the vegetable shortening (refined coconut oil) had something to do with it. The other two recipes, not so much. I also have my doubts about David Leite’s bake time. All three recipes instruct to set similar sized balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet, which on a normal baking sheet would be about 6. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe bakes at 375°F for 10 to 12 minutes, King Arthur Flour’s recipe bakes also at 375°F for 11 to 12 minutes, whereas David Leite’s recipe bakes at 350°F for 18 to 20 minutes. Yes, the oven temperature is a little lower, but 18 to 20 minutes? The cookies came out quite well-baked.
And since we are talking about chocolate chip cookies, we have to talk about the chocolate chips.
David Leite’s recipe calls for chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60% cacao content. Let’s be real here for a second. Not all of us live near a fancy market that sells these things. And I don’t feel like dishing out $15 to $30 plus shipping for a pound of chocolate disks. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe calls for semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped into irregular bits. This is a little more doable but still kind of a pain when you have to chop up 3/4 pound of it. I ended up using chopped chocolate bits for David Leite’s recipe instead of disks. King Arthur Flour’s recipe just calls for chocolate chips. Keeping it real.
And finally, what about all the other options?
David Leite’s recipe calls for sprinkling sea salt on top before baking. King Arthur Flour’s recipe mentions this option, and if you’re into the sweet-salty thing, it would be highly recommended. What I like about the King Arthur Flour recipe too is that it has the optional almond extract and a recommendation to add espresso powder. A little flexibility to fit the baker is a nice touch. I added the almond extract and I must say I do like the extra flavor.