This page features my quest for finding a truly outstanding chocolate chip cookie. Since there are thousands of chocolate chip cookie recipes, I don’t expect to find the greatest cookie in the world but I would be very happy if I could find one that is really really special. This page describes the result of three baking sessions in which I hope to find the best of ten very highly rated cookie recipes.
Over the last few days I prepared the dough for four chocolate chip cookie recipes and baked a small batch of each to make sure they were OK and stored the remaining batter in the fridge. You may be concerned that the dough has been in the fridge but as it turns out, chocolate chip cookie dough gets better after being refrigerated. Anyway, I just took the cookie dough out of the fridge and took a group picture of today’s participants and now I’m just waiting for the dough to reach room temperature and then the baking and testing will begin.
As you can see from the picture below, baking is done. But before I set off, I will introduce the contestants; the leftmost cookie is a Doubletree chocolate chip cookie recipe which claims to be the real deal; next to that is the Dora which is a highly loved cookie on the allRecipe site. Then there’s the “Baked: New Frontier” bakery cookie which is a favorite of many and finally there is the Jacques Torres cookie which has been featured in a New York Times article. I baked two batches of Torres cookies as the recipe calls for 3.5 ounce cookies and that makes the playing field kind of uneven in terms of size. Besides, I was curious to see how a big cookie would fare against a smaller 2 ounce cookie. I read somewhere that “size matters” when it comes to cookies, we will see if that’s true at least for this recipe. One last thing, all of today’s recipes used softened butter rather than melted butter so in theory they should all fall in the crispy cookie class (I used Callebaut chocolate chips for all 3 bakeoffs).
The cookies will be described in tasting order which was determined by baking order, note that this is a review of still-warm cookies about twenty-five minutes out of the oven. Twenty-five minutes was chosen as it is long enough for an outer shell to form around the cookie and I believe this shell is an important part of the experience. Enough said, here we go…
Dora’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
With respect to taste, a few days in the fridge did these cookies a lot of good compared to my initial sampling. The cookie flavor is more intense now. But what is most striking about this cookie is the texture, a very nice thin outer crispiness, a great chew and mouth feel. This cookie has become impressive.
Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies
This cookie turned out funny compared to my initial sampling a few days ago. The cookie kind of melted on the sheet and had greasy looking tops. It looked so bad I had to use a picture from my initial sampling. It really looks like time in the fridge did not do this cookie any good. It was a bit underdone on top but the edges were set so it had to come out. The overall taste was mostly all chocolate, any flavor the batter may have had was overwhelmed by the substantial amount of chocolate in the cookie. A bit crispier than the Dora at the edges and soft in the middle, too soft really.
Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies
Striking! The taste of this cookie really jumps at you or put another way, it assails you. On the first bite you immediately get a taste of butter, vanilla, bits of caramel, salt and then the chocolate kicks in. Overall a striking taste. In terms of texture you get outer crispiness and bits of chew. The Dora’s crispy outer shell is better but the Torres taste is so striking that it gets top honors.
With respect to the bigger Torres cookie (3.5 Oz), it is much the same but different. Same in taste but the mouth feel is very different. Because the cookie cooks longer it has a thicker harder outer shell and thus it provides a different mouth feel, a bit drier too, but then maybe the big cookie was a teeny bit overdone.
Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recreation)
Well after the Dora and the Torres, this one leaves me disappointed. The walnuts add crunch which is good but the walnut taste kills the cookie taste that a CC cookie should have. But it’s a fine walnut chocolate chip cookie if that’s what you are looking for.
And today’s winner is…
So today’s still-warm cookie winner was the Torres because of its striking taste closely followed by the Dora which has a great outer crispness. In the end I was happy I found two great new cookies, but after a few hours all the excitement had worn off and I realized I haven’t found the “Great One”. I know this because if I had, I would be craving for one right now. I guess this is a good thing as I still have a stack of great cookie recipes to try.
Ok, my significant other and I each prepared 2 batches of cookies yesterday so we are set for the second bakeoff. In fact some preliminary results are in as we baked 4 batches of 3 cookies before putting the dough in the fridge to let it mature. As we made the batches late yesterday afternoon I managed to snap some pictures. Unfortunately for me, I forgot to take the group shot yesterday so I had to take the contestant group shot this morning. I must have snapped about 300 pictures as the color was either too yellow, too blue or too whatever. I need a better camera.
As I mentioned we have 4 contestants in this bakeoff. The first is the David Lebovitz chocolate chip cookie from his “Great Book Of Chocolate” which seems very popular with foodie bloggers and reviewers on various sites. One post by Jess said: “I tried these cookies not too long ago and was super impressed; I never make the same chocolate chip cookie recipe, in hopes of finding the “perfect recipe”. This is hands down one of the best I’ve tried – EVER. Will definitely be making it again, and again, and again….”. This is the kind of post that peaks my interest, we have a self made cookie authority and that person has no doubt the recipe is far ahead of others.
The second contestant which I have called “Almost perfect” is from the “Choc chip cookie recipe” site. It was described as “Thick and moist – buttery and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside” and it is supposed to stay soft for days. It is an adaptation of Skaarup’s Almost Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Mr. Skaarup was apparently a renowned authority on fudge. We shall see how good he was with cookies.
The third contestant was rated 5 stars by 10 people on the Squidoo web site, normally that alone would not do it for me but the the author has this to say: “It’s hard to believe I know, but the secret ingredient for soft, delicious chocolate chip cookies is cornstarch! Yep, that’s it.. the good old white stuff that you probably use more to thicken sauces and gravies than to keep your cookies soft. But it works like a charm. Since I started using this recipe, I haven’t had a single brittle, crispy cookie. Just soft, ooey, gooey goodness!”. For lack of a proper cookie name, I dubbed this recipe “The Secret”.
The last contestant is the “Bakery Style Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies” at RecipeZaar, the recipe has a 4.5 star rating with 204 reviews. One review stated: “Once in my life I made a perfect chocolate chip cookie. I’ve been trying, and failing miserably, to repeat whatever variation I struck upon ever since. Lots of wasted batches of greasy, flat, hockey pucks. But this recipe is THE ONE!! The cookies are perfectly dense and chewy, and don’t fall flat in the oven. If you just under cook them so they are just set in the middle, they are perfect. Thank you, my search is over!”. Well that certainly peaked my interest. OK, here we go, time to taste test…
David Lebovitz Chocolate Chip Cookies
Well, jumping right in, I think my wife and I both have a new favorite. This cookie has a great caramel taste and is very chewy as in “caramel type” chewy (not like a big oatmeal cookie kind of chewy). The cookie really spread out a lot and this causes greater internal heat and thus more caramel. The cookie is cooked at 300 degrees so I think the cookie is intended to be flat. The low baking temperature delays the hardening of the edges and so the cookie spreads out rather than rises. I tried baking another small batch at 325 and the cookies were a bit higher bust still quite flat and also great tasting.
Almost Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Well this is an interesting cookie. The edges were kind of soft but a dry softness and the center was soft and moist. The main taste after chocolate is of almonds. The taste is very different and the combination of vanilla, almonds and chocolate is really quite good. One thing I have found is that this cookie is still very moist and tasty the next day. I would recommend people try this cookie when they’re in the mood for something different. Or perhaps try your favorite cookie with 1/2 tsp of almond extract added. On the down side, I have to say I hate shortening as it is gross so I’m a bit glad this is not my favorite.
The Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie
Although this cookie takes a great picture it was disappointing. The cookie batter had very little taste compared to the above two. In terms of texture the author of the recipe was right, the cookie was not crispy at all but it was on the dry side and not really soft, ooey, gooey as advertised. The pictured cookie may have been a tad overdone but I made more of these later and each time I was disappointed.
Bakery Style Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Another disappointment. There was very little taste except for chocolate and the cookie had a dry texture. To make matters worse the blandness of the cookie masked the taste of the chocolate if that’s possible. I cooked up another batch of these and the result was the same.
And so today’s winner is…
So today’s still-warm cookie winner was clearly the David Lebovitz cookie because of its great taste and its great caramel like “sticky” chew. The Dora was a close second and was very enjoyable.
OK, the third and final bakeoff has started, the dough for 4 cookies was prepared yesterday and stored in the refrigerator overnight. My friend Ray is here with his SLR camera and he’s ready to take pictures as the cookies come out of the oven. My wife is doing the baking and so I’m helping with picture styling, holding light reflectors and gathering props.
As I said we have 4 cookies, two are previous session winners, they are the Torres and the David Lebovitz cookies and there are two new additions, one called the Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie from AllRecipe and the fourth and last is my current favorite cookie which I have dubbed “Best Homemade” above. This last cookie is an adaptation of a Sherry Yard cookie made somewhat famous by the Words To Eat By blog. I suspect this last cookie is going to win this thing, but that remains to be seen. The Big Fat Chewy cookie was recommended by the SmittenKitten blog who previously recommended the Lebovitz cookie as her favorite cookie. Could it be there is a better cookie than the Lebovitz cookie, I am not at all sure. I have no loyalties, I’m only in it to find cookie bliss, may the best cookie win.
Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Well the big fat chewy cookie lives up to its name, it’s certainly nice and fat and chewy, but with respect to taste it does not shine. I have to say that it’s certainly better than the two duds from the last bakeoff. There seems to be a pattern, fat and taste don’t go together. Perhaps it’s because good taste depends on the creation of caramel which requires sugar to be heated to a high temperature. Could it be that a fat cookie insulates the sugar from the heat and thus prevents caramel formation? Also all water must evaporate for caramel to form as the temperature cannot go above 212 degrees until water has evaporated. Anyway, I digress…
Best Homemade Cookie In The World
Next is the Best Homemade Cookie and I have to say I was sure it would win, but it also disappoints. I can’t believe it, it’s just not like the other times I made it. On this day it’s merely good. I have a weird feeling that there has been a screw up but I can’t see how. I will need to do a do-over as this cookie was out of this world the last time I made it, it was the cookie of my dreams; the one I crave.
Lebovitz-Lebovitz-Lebovitz, I love saying Lebovitz, sounds like a harmonica triplet riff. Anyways, getting back to cookies, the Lebovitz cookie caramel like chew is once again outstanding. It shines big time, but in terms of taste, the cookie leaves me a bit disappointed as as the main taste I get is chocolate, on this day there is very little caramel-cookie flavor. Could it be this cookie did not appreciate time in the refrigerator or is it that it’s the first time we have tasted the Lebovitz cookie first. I don’t know. But really, the winner of this face off has to consistently produce results.
Ok, so now its time to roast the Torres cookie or not. As it turns out, it’s buttery taste shines big time right off, then you get a taste of caramel-vanilla and finally chocolate. To sum it up, a really nice complex taste, a great chew and it has good looks too. So I have to say that on this day, the Torres cookie wins hands down with its crispy edges and chewy middle and its outstanding taste. My wife concurs, we have no doubt; we only wonder what might happen the next time we make the Lebovitz cookie which usually had a great caramel taste.
So the overall winner, the best of 10 top rated recipes is…
So in conclusion, the Adapted Torres cookie from the NY times article wins as at least two others faded on the big day. That is unfortunate but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. One of these days I may do a rematch or try a few more cookies but for now this is it. The Torres is king for a while.
If the Torres cookie does not do it for you or if you don’t have cake flour and bread flour handy, you should definitely try these:
PS: While your here, if you have a few seconds and you’re interested in some rare treats you can click on the badge below and check out my Rare Treats iPhone recipe App page or