Monday, May 25, 2009

And the Winner is...

After some preparation earlier this week, and a little more time in the kitchen yesterday, I was finally ready to accept Jason's challenge and put a couple of cookie recipes to the test. A few friends came over for a guys' game night last night and, unbeknownst to them, a chocolate chip cookie taste test. I stayed in the kitchen long enough to get the results before making myself scarce behind my sewing machine.

The Contenders:

Cookie A - Clotilde Dusoulier's take on a recipe in a New York Times article by David Leite, who gathered advice for experts in his quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Cookie B - Found on Heidi Swanson's blog, this recipe is from David Lebovitz's Great Book of Chocolate.

Cookie C - The tried and true recipe on the back of the Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chip bag.

I made and labeled the cookie doughs, "A", "B", and "C." I then wrote which letter corresponded with what recipe and sealed the paper in an envelope, just to keep everything on the up and up. Each guy tried a cookie from each plate. Then, they each got one vote. (While I tried one of each, my vote didn't count, since my vote wasn't blind). Now, I should make a quick disclaimer. The recipes weren't followed to the letter. If they called for nuts, the nuts were left out. One recipe called for chocolate disks, but I chose to use the same chocolate chips (from the same huge bag) for all 3 batches, to make things as fair as possible. However, I'm sure the authors of the recipes might not consider this fair, since we didn't have the cookies as they had intended. I can't really argue with that. So, to the letter they were not, Jason-friendly, absolutely.

And, the winner is (by a 3-to-one vote)....


These cookies were a bit chewy, a bit crispy, and had chocolate to spare.

Toll House was the second-runner-up (and actually got my non-counting vote, but don't tell Jason). They had a strong buttery flavor, which isn't too surprising, considering they contained the most butter of the three. Their big downfall was their appearance. I just couldn't get them to look pretty. I seem to remember Jason's version looking prettier, but I don't know what he did differently.

Cookie A was the prettiest, reminding me of the perfectly formed Soft Batch cookies my Mom used to stash in my suitcase before sending me off to 4-H Camp in the summer. But what became termed their "interesting consistency," crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, was a little too interesting for my tasters. However, when Jason, Audrey, and I taste-tested them again this morning (Yes, we began our day with chocolate chip cookies. I suppose as a mom, I should feel a little guilty about feeding my daughter a cookie before feeding her breakfast, but my Mother had a theory that if you ate your dessert before your meal and died during your meal, you would die happy. The three of us survived to eat our French toast and turkey bacon, but we were happy just the same.). This morning, after resting for the night, Cookie A was fantastic.

So my theory is this, if you want a cookie that's a little bit chewy, a little bit crunchy, and an all-around winner, go for B. If it's buttery cookies you're after, go for C. If you have to make cookies the night before for an event the next day, choose A. And, rest assured, no matter how you choose, one of my testers summed it up best when he said, "they were all shades of wonderful."

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