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Sunday
Aug102008

Tough Cookies: Not the NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

How Not to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies
There's been a lot of talk lately about the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Although ingredients and size are important, it seems that one vital step--the one that intrigues us most--in attaining cookie nirvana is letting the dough rest for 36 hours.

But imagine the dismay you'd feel, after those many hours, to see that your oven isn't working? This is what happened to Cake Gumshoe Phil recently--and he cleverly decided to try "baking" them in a frying pan. This got us thinking about the humble chocolate chip cookie. If the method written about in the New York Times is the absolute best one--then what is the worst? We set out with a log of dough to find out.
Here's what we did:
First, we made a batch of cookie dough (Toll House recipe!). After not letting it sit for 24, 36 or really any hours, we did the following:
1. We fried it
2. We toasted it
3. We microwaved it
4. We boiled it
* Cakespy Note: We would have grilled it too, but alas--we have no grill.
Here's how they came out:

Time to Fry some CookiesPan fried Cookies
Pan-fried cookies: As mentioned above, this idea came from Cake Gumshoe Phil. We heated up our frying pan to a medium temperature, and put a thin coating of vegetable oil in the pan to fry our cookies. We heated each side for about three minutes. Though slightly unweildy, they did remain solid enough to flip with a little finessing. Once cooled, these cookies were delicious in a guilty sort of way--slightly crispy on the outside, but soft and gooey on the inside. Some might say health risk; we say salmonellicious.

Toaster Oven CookiesToaster Oven Cookies
Toasted Cookies: We put a couple of cookies in our toaster oven. First we tried the convection setting, which pretty much made normal cookies. Boring! We reset to "toast" to see what would happen. The result was decent--crispy on the sides, soft but not underdone in the middle--but they burnt on the top--due to the proximity to the toasting mechanism. Not excellent, but they'd do in a pinch.

MicrowaveMicrowave Cookies
Microwave Cookies: We took this as a chance to also try out the pre-existing microwave settings on our oven. We chose the "potato" setting, which was perhaps a bad choice--it was a six minute cycle but after two minutes we began to hear a strange popping sound and stopped the microwave. The cookie dough had baked...sort of. It was crispy and pockmarked, and unfortunately had fused itself to the plate. We managed to cut off the top part of the cookie, which was crackery, crispy, and as Ralphie from the Simpsons might say "tastes like burning". Most definitely not delicious.

Making MischiefDumplings
Boiled Cookies: The secret to perfect bagels is boiling them before baking, so what about cookies? We tried two batches in our boiling part of the experiment. The first batch was just boiled--we dropped them in boiling water until they rose to the surface (which they did! It took about a minute), for a sort of chocolate chip cookie dumpling. Unfortunately, Mr. Cakespy declared that they tasted "like boogers"--as you can see his is not only a looker but quite the wordsmith.

Cookie BagelsCookie BagelsWeird CookiesCookies
For the second batch, we first boiled and then baked our cookie "dumplings". As a note, as an homage to the bagel-making method, we shaped them like little cookie bagels first, but the shape didn't hold--they just became little dumpling-y rounds again. But we powered through this pitfall and put them in the oven. Once baked, they no longer tasted of booger, but the chewy skin and soft inside which makes a bagel so wonderful did not equal chocolate chip cookie bliss. That having been said though, they weren't terrible--just not awesome.
As for our final thoughts? Well, we wouldn't say we offered any serious challenges to that now-famous NY Times recipe in the taste department. However, we do have a little trouble waiting 36 hours for our cookie dough to set once we've set our mind to baking them--aren't chocolate chip cookies all about fun, simplicity and fairly quick gratification? And so perhaps we didn't suffer a total loss--super delicious or not, we had a lot more fun messing up these cookies than waiting for the dough to set on a perfect batch.

 

 

Reader Comments (74)

This is hilarious! I am new to your blog and this post has made me want to come back again to see what other interesting things you will get up to!

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterHayleyB

That is effing brilliant! Kudos to you for your experimenting - best laugh I've had today!

Oh brillant! This sounds crazy, but I'm sure it was a lot of fun!

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterJerry

You are very brave.

Well, since you like experimenting, I thought that maybe you would like to try out some Asian-methods of making desserts which might seem unorthodox:

1. Steaming cakes
2. Using roasted flour in cookies/cakes (can also dry fry the flour in the frying pan)

You might want to try the above out with some recipes that are specifically designed to use these methods.

August 11 | Unregistered Commentermissy-j

I was just perusing through your flickr photos and I LOVE LOVE LOVE your cupcake art! Hilarious! :-)

August 11 | Unregistered Commenterbakersbakery

This is the first time I've heard of waiting for 36 hours before baking chocolate chip cookies... I guess I've been ignoring the directions all along.

Loved this post! Very Cook's Illustrated-esque.

August 11 | Unregistered Commenterjen

I don't think I could experiment with a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. I would still have to eat any "mistakes." You are very, very brave.

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterEAT!

How much fun! I love these experiments! I think I would like the pan fried cookie, lol! I wish you had steamed some dough as well! because you know, steaming is healthy! ;)

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterClumbsy Cookie

Hahha how funny!! I just saw your artwork on Etsy - I would really love to purchase something custom made and big enough for my living room or bed room.

August 11 | Unregistered Commentercakewardrobe

I'm seeing a market for those booger cookies.

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterJeanna

Oh my goodness Jessie! You're hilarious! The boiled booger one really did it for me!

August 11 | Unregistered Commentercupcakeculture

Ha! Chocolate chip gnocchi? Too funny. I also cast my vote for trying steamed cookies! I may try your fried variation the next time I have cookie dough around!

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Excellent post. As always :)
What I learned today: Think outside the box, Dee! I'm still lemming-ing it with the 12, 18, 36 hour cc cookies *sigh*

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Samonilcious, lol!

My favorite of the lot were the pan fried and the toasted, which sort of looked like roasted marshmallows with the lovely burntish outtards!

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

The bagel version doesn't look so bad! I often microwave my cookies. It only takes maybe 15 seconds for one cookie, not bad. Can you deep-fry one next?

On another note, a way you can guarantee eternal bliss in cookies that have the proper 36 hour wait time... make a new batch of cookies every 36 hours. You'll have to obviously wait for the first 36 hours, but after that first round... you're set!

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

Oh, my. You always have me laughing, but I'm really laughing this time!! salmonellicious - I'm going to start using that word!!

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

I just had the http://jennybakes.blogspot.com/2008/07/chocolate-chip-cookie-olympics.html" REL="nofollow">chocolate chip cookie olympics myself, so this was a hilarious experiment that you did! Thanks for bringing so much humor to baking.

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

Thanks for doing the grunt work for all of us. Now I know all the ways to NOT make a chocolate chip cookie--including that monster you linkie'd on the NY Times. WTH?? I was tolerant of that recipe up to the "1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content". Chocolate Chip Cookies=Chocolate CHIPS. Not Hoity-Toity chocolate DISKS. Egads!

BTW--your microwave cookie scared me. So did your decision to try the 'potato' setting. Hee hee!

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterMsC

What a great post. I have one thought though--how exactly does he know what booger tastes like? I think that's one experiment I'm not willing to try.

As for the NYT recipes, it does make for a fabulous cookie. I don't that it's perfect--I'd want to tinker with it a bit. But certainly my co-workers went crazy for them when I brought them in.

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterSamer

that is the most craziest thing i've ever read. possibly. ever. boiling??? kah-ray-zee.

i've never waited 36 hours much less an hour before baking and i've always had success and a darn fine cookie i might add.

August 11 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer

I absolutely love this post! I think I'm going to have pan fried chocolate chip cookies for dinner tonight!

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterJoy the Baker

hahaha love the experiment.

August 11 | Unregistered CommentercrunchLin

Maybe your next experiment could include setting them in a pan outside in the sun, too!

Although, being in Seattle, we don't always get enough of that, do we? :)

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterOwl Chick

I say nothing, but ummmm... it's been known to happen---
http://ieatmoths.livejournal.com/2007/01/15/

XDDD

August 11 | Unregistered CommenterLiz²

I love your experiments! So daring, so innovative! You are a pioneer.

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