The whole reason for this taste test was because I messed up. Sure, I could blame it on watching a baseball game, or browsing the internet (I often bring my laptop into the kitchen), but when it takes you 40 minutes to prep ingredients you're probably bound to make mistakes.
Fortunately, I think it was that type of revolutionary breakthrough mistake! Ha. So, I set out to make the chocolate chip cookies in the Once Upon A Tart cookbook. The difference between this recipe and the Nestle version is all brown sugar instead of part white (it actually asks for light brown sugar, but I only had dark), half a stick more butter, more flour, and an increase in the baking soda and salt due to the obvious flour increase. They weren't setting out to reinvent the timeless chocolate chip cookie, but create a simple version of a classic.
My mistake started back when I let myself be sidetracked. You see, I meant to halve the recipe, which I did except for the chocolate chips, the baking soda, and the salt. Well, I didn't realize this until after I had eaten one and remarked on the amazing caramel-esque flavor, the fact that the cookies, made with dough that had not been chilled, didn't spread to the thinness of a dime, and that they had a special taste that you don't often taste in typical recipes.
These are some of the first batch after having refrigerated for 2 days. They still came out the same as the first day. While they didn't spread as much and as a result were thicker, they weren't cakey but still chewy.
The cookies were loaded with chocolate chips, which I thought would upset the dough-to-chip balance. Thankfully, it didn't.
Let's talk about salt: You definitely could taste that there was more salt, yet it was not salty. In fact, I feel (and so do two others) that the extra salt brought out the flavor of the cookie more and gave it some depth otherwise not present.
You can see how this batch, made with the correct amount of all ingredients, spread more, even after having chilled for a day. Since it had been chilled, however, they didn't spread out too much. In the dough, you could taste more of the vanilla extract. Not in the finished cookie, though, and the taste was standard.
The general consensus was that the cookies with extra salt and baking soda contributed a "how can I replicate this at home/why don't my cookies taste like this?" that I thought were even better than the cookies where I didn't mess up.
So. I don't know what to tell you. You could try out my wacky version to see if I'm cracked, or you could follow the recipe as stated to create regular chocolate chip cookies. I hope you appreciate that I made two batches to test the difference just for you, although you didn't get to eat any of them!
Best Big Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Once Upon A Tart
Makes 18 big cookies or 54 smaller cookies
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (my addition)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (or 3 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or 3 teaspoons)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips; or 12 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces (or doubled the amount)
- Position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a big bowl, using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer on high speed (or a sturdy wire whisk), until they are fluffy and light lemon-yellow in color, about 5 minutes. Mix in espresso powder. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.
- In a separate, medium-size bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Gradually add this to wet ingredients, using the paddle attachment of your mixer on low speed )or stirring with a wooden spoon) until no flour is visible. Then stir in the chocolate chips.
- To make big cookies, use a 1/3-cup measuring cup or your hand (eyeballing for size) to scoop out the dough. Roll the dough for each cookie between your hands into a ball. Have some flour handy to dust your hands in case the dough is too stick to work with. Place the balls on your baking sheet (greased or lined with parchment), leaving 2 inches between them, and flatten each with the heel of your hand until it is about 4 inches in diameter. To make smaller cookies, use a poon to scoop up the dough and your finger to scrape it onto the baking sheet. Drop the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart -- no flattening necessary.
- Place the baking sheet on the center rack in the oven, and bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes (10-12 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the cookie centers no longer have the shiny look of raw dough.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. Lift the baking sheet off the rack, and use a metal spatula to lift the cookies off the sheet and onto the rack to cool completely. If you're using parchment paper, there's no need to let the cookies cool on the rack. Slight the paper with the hot cookies off the baking sheet and onto a flat surface to cool.