When Jean posted her chewy chocolate chip cookies, my instincts told me that these are the cookies that I have been searching high and low for. I have always looked forward to chocolate chip cookies that promise a signature subway chew, firm yet almost crisp-free. So far, the chewy cookies that I have tried are too tender for my liking, so much that they are more appropriately described as cakey.
Most cookie recipes that are categorized as "chewy" usually consist of a large amount of brown sugar. While it imparts a nice caramel undertone to the cookies, it does not necessary result in cookies that are chewy to the bite. Grasping the baking time for these so-called chewy cookies can be tricky; a short baking time will result in overly tender cookies while over-baking the the cookies would mean that they will become crispy.
What caught my attention were the ingredients called for, more specifically melted butter and bread flour. The use of bread flour seems to promise a firmer mouth-feel and there was something alluring about using melted butter, a method of making cookies that is somewhat foreign to me. Perhaps it is this unfamiliarity that draws my curiosity and attention to this particular recipe, hoping that it would churn out results the way I was expecting.
My expectations were put to the test. The first batch turned out tender in the middle with crisp edges, but they were noticeably firmer compared to cookies I have baked in the past. Great, I am one step closer to my aim.
Moving on, I checked the results on subsequent batches, extending the baking times. Baking the cookies longer would meant they would turn out crispier on the whole. Making use of the high humidity levels to my advantage, I allowed the cookies to rest in the open for some time for the sake of softening them. It worked, and it work brilliantly indeed!
The process of firming the cookies up adequately and softening them to offset the crisp churned out cookies that had a firm chew 70% similar to that of Subway cookies. Flavour-wise, they were extremely good since the whole lot was loaded with an abundance of chocolate chips and there was a nice caramel fragrance. What else more could I have possibly asked for?
Since the type of fat used is said to determine the texture of cookies, I have always suspected that the type of fat used for subway cookies is something else other than butter, possibly shortening. Now that melted butter works well, I shall not be toying with the idea of experimenting with shortening, margarine or even a combination two fats.
Some thoughts on cookies I would like to consolidate and share:
- All cookies will firm up when the baking time is extended. However, it does not necessary means that all cookies will becomes crispy when baked for a longer time.
- Freshly baked cookies have the best crisp. After being subjected to humidity, they lose their crunch/crisp. Simply re-bake the cookies and allow them to cool. The crunch/crisp will return.
- To keep crunchy/crispy cookies well, store them in air-tight containers when they are completely cool.
- Not all cookies are created equal. Their texture differ from chewy, sandy, crunchy/crispy, melt-in-the-mouth, crumbly, fudgy to cakey.
- The type of sugars used affect the taste and texture of cookies. Icing sugar are used more for melt-in-the mouth cookies. Plain sugar is said to impart crunch while brown sugar is imparts a chewy characteristic.
- The type of fat used affects the flavour and spread of cookies. Butter cookies spread the most, compared to cookies containing shortening or oil. Personally, I feel that butter imparts the best flavour.
- The amount of chilling time and presence of nuts and chunky ingredients also affect the spread of cookies. Chunky cookies loaded with nuts and chocolate chips do not spread as much as plain cookies. Well chilled cookie dough do not spread as much as cookies that are unchilled. Vary the chilling time to get thick or flat cookies as desired.
- When cookies melt into an oily pool after baking, it means there is insufficient flour. Usually, the weight of butter will not exceed the weight of flour.
I am submitting this entry to Aspiring Bakers # 7 - Chocolate Delights (May 2011) hosted by DG from Tested and Tasted.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe from Good Eats by Alton Brown)
Texture and taste: Chewy and firm. Has a distinct caramel flavour and is loaded with chocolate chips
For the recipe, refer to :
- sugar cut down to 30g
- brown sugar cut down to 230g
- increased vanilla to 2 1/2 tsp
- Mixed melted butter while it was warm instead of letting it cool completely
- Bake 3 tbs sized cookies for 17 mins (or firm enough) at 190 degrees C and allowing them to cool and soften.
- Makes about 20 jumbo sized cookies.
- When overbaked, the cookies turn crisp crunchy. Quite a versatile recipe that yields either firm chewy cookies or firm crunchy cookies.