Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Quest for The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies


There is something uniquely heart warming about freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. The sweet smell the fills the room as you watch the little dough mounds puff and spread, that for some reason, has an affect that is unmatched by any other cookie. Looking at the cookies as they cool on the baking sheet, it's becomes very easy to forget the meaning of self-restraint. You want to bite into them while the chocolate is still melty and the centers are still gooey but, as you know from childhood, that two bad things could happen if you do: 1) you can burn your tongue with the hot goodness and 2) you might get a tummy ache afterward (though you know that in both cases, it's well worth it)! 


So in order to receive the full effect of a soft, freshly baked cookie that lasts for days, I began experimenting with recipes to get the perfect chocolate chip cookie: one that is thick and not flat, moist and soft in the center, crisp on the edges, and the right ratio of chocolate chips to cookie dough. This started as a simple project...but it soon developed into a little obsession of mine. I researched cookie recipe after cookie recipe. I considered using different flours, butter or shortening, brown sugar to white sugar ratios and various types of chocolate chips. Finally, I came across a concept that really opened my eyes and is a drastic change in the type of leavening. 

Instant Yeast! Yes, you read that correctly! I started with a recipe for chewy chocolate chip cookies that I knew would result in the soft center, chewy cookie that I was looking for and replaced the leavening it called for with the ingredient known to add a lift while maintaining the shape of the baked good. The cookies turned out to be simply the best! They were lightly browned and crisp on the outside, yet incredibly soft and moist in the center. But the best part was not the texture, although that was nearly perfect. The best part was the flavor! The cookies tasted clean and sweet, unobstructed by the "chemically" taste of baking soda/baking powder. The texture was that of the perfect cookie but the flavor was like a chocolate chip cookie flavored sweet bread! 

I highly recommend that you take your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (or any drop cookie recipe for that matter) and replace the baking soda or baking powder with about a teaspoon of highly active dry yeast. I can guess what you will be quite pleased with the results. 
This experiment of mine is still on going and I would also love any input you have after trying out this happy little accident :)

14 comments:

cookienurse said...

the cookies look amazing! I am going to have to try this out soon!

cookienurse said...

I do have a question: If the recipe calls for both baking soda and baking powder, should I put a teaspoon of yeast for each one (total 2 tsp of yeast)?

Lydia said...

Hi Cookienurse!

I like your name :)

I used 1 teaspoon for a whole batch of cookies and it turned out fine. It's highly reactive stuff so I recommend trying that as a starting point. If you are making a double batch, then I would suggest using a little more.

Hope it turns out the way you like. Let me know how it goes!

Sarah said...

How clever... do you have the recipe you used?? I don't want to mess around with mine... I'm too bad at conversion math! My batch makes 60 cookies so how much should I toss in?

Thanks in advance!

Danielle said...

OMG the pictures of your cookies are making me drool! I bet they are great still warm with a good cup of coffee.

Rahul said...

Lydia, I love your idea! I'm going to brave it right now. Trying things that challenge old ideas is always fun, especially after you've provide such incredible photo evidence!! mmmmmmmmm

I actually bought the semisweet chocolate chunks a week ago - but because I don't keep sweets around often (I'd devour them before ever getting them into a recipe), I've nibbled away at the chocolate chunks so that now I have to substitute 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, along with 1.5 cup chocolate.

I'll let you know how the walnuts/yeast treat me!

andrea said...

I used 1 tsp instant yeast in my regular recipe for Peanut Butter/Chocolate Chip cookies (omitted the baking soda). We did not notice any difference in taste; I do prefer the texture and appearance of the cookie with the baking soda, although these were very acceptable. It is nice to know that if you're ever out of b.soda or b. powder, you can sub yeast.

I am a Fractal said...

Hi!

Since you used yeast, did you also let the dough rise for any amount of time? or did you just go right away and bake?

I'm imagining rising for an hour, punching down, rising again, rolling, cutting, baking... but that's just me imagining...

Michaela said...

I just read about this, and you were right! They do taste fabulous. I did a taste test with my dormmates and the yeasted cookies won hands down.

Yeasted Cookies at piquant prose

Ashley B said...

Have you tried adding honey in place of a portion of the sugar? The cookies are chewy and hold moisture longer

Nancy from OHIO said...

I have heard Corn Starch...added does the same thing! May want to try that!

Stephanie said...

I'm on a quest for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe too! I hope you'll consider adding this post to the Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge link-up on Aug 15th. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/NOm7mT

These sound so good and I can't wait to try them out! My chocolate chip cookies always turn out too flat and I'm trying to find a recipe that is fluffier.

Sheila Graham said...

Question..usually the yeast had to ne activated by warm water? Did you have to do that or did you just throw the yeast n with the flour?

Micaella Lopez said...

Oh my giddy goodness these look delicious! I must, must, must try this ASAP. New follower right here :)

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