|Toll House (l), Martha Stewart (c), New York Times (r)|
My friends Brad and Lauren inspired this whole experiment because over the holidays they held their own "Gingerbread Throwdown". They tried out five different gingerbread recipes and determined that the very best one was the Spicy Gingerbread recipe from Serious Eats. I decided that I wanted in on the experiment fun and since it was near the holidays I could mail cookies across the country to my friends that I don't see very often and let them be the judge of which chocolate chip cookie is the best. Dual purposes!
For purposes of this experiment the Toll House cookie is the control cookie because everyone loves them, your mom probably made them at some point and they are awesome so that was my baseline. The New York Times (NYT) cookie is so famous on Pinterest, regularly described as "the best chocolate chip cookie ever". The NYT cookie involves using two different types of flour and requires use of sea salt and lengthy refrigeration. The Martha Stewart Cookie is different because instead of creaming the butter and sugar together at room temperature, the butter is completely melted and then the sugar is added. Three cookies all chocolate chip, yet so very different.
I mailed these cookie packages to my friends Jon + Megan, Brian + Katie, my brother and his friend Brittany, while Jamie's office got a bunch to prevent them from throwing themselves off the fiscal cliff.
The overwhelming winner: NYT Cookie. I loved them, Jamie loved them, all of Jamie's office except for Pam, my brother, Jon (who waffled between NYT and Martha Stewart) and Megan all chose the NYT cookie. Interestingly, Pam and Brian both chose Toll House because it reminded them of Mom (awwww). Katie and Brittany both loved Martha the best. While I can't in good conscience say that the NYT cookie is the best, I can say that it is a pretty danged good cookie!
Here are the recipes for NYT and Martha Stewart Cookies. Happy Baking!
New York Times Cookie adapted from Jacques Torres
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt (I used sea salt)
2 1/12 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbs. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
- Stir together dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl, then mix in the eggs one at a time and then mix in the vanilla extract. Fold in your chocolate chips.
- At this point the original instructions say to place the dough in the refrigerator but this just makes your life harder later, seriously. Cold cookie dough happens to be also be rock hard cookie dough. If patience isn't really your thing, then do what I did: scoop the cookie dough into individual balls before refrigerating, then I put them in a large gladware container and then placed in refrigerator.
- Refrigerate the dough for 48 hours. I know, who in the world wants to wait 2 whole days to bake what appears to be perfectly good cookie dough? You have to resist the temptation and try as hard as you can to forget that you have a giant tub of cookie dough in the refrigerator. It's going to be hard, but it's totally worth it.
- 48 hours later, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and then add your cookies to your cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with a little sea salt.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Carolynn's Chocolate Chip Cookie adapted from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
2 cups + 2 tbs. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 tbs. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tbs. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Turn off the heat once the butter is melted and then add both sugars and whisk together. Pour the mixture in a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. At this point in the instructions I was like, how long does it take for melted butter to reach room temperature? I didn't want to start the next step until I was sure I wasn't going to accidentally cook an egg in my cookies. My advice wait at least 30 minutes before moving on.
- Whisk the egg, egg yolk and vanilla into the butter mixture
- Fold in the flour mixture until complete incorporated then fold in the chocolate chips.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and let chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. IMPORTANT: make sure you wrap the dough in plastic because it helps retain moisture. I skipped that step because I hate plastic wrap and as a result I had very crumbly cookie dough. It was terrible-- I literally had to form those cookies by hand.
- Preheat the oven to 325. Form the cookies-- I tried using my Oxo cookie scoop, to no avail, but you want the cookies to be the size of a golf ball.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies no longer look wet. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.