the great chocolate chip cookie experiment

An episode of Top Chef Just Desserts I was watching a couple of weeks ago really made me crave Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies (the episode where Erica made them for a bake sale for a local high school). I couldn’t really find time to bake until now, since I just finished my last midterm exam before I start finals next week. But I’m done and I ditched my classes for the day, so I figure now is the best time.

So, you’re probably thinking, “What the hell is this girl talking about? Experiment what?”

Well, honey, I’m going to pull out my high school chemistry lab report skills out on you. Here we have the scientific method of finding my perfect crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookie.

Well, I was reading through a bunch of tips and recipes online to find how to get that chewy, crispy texture because I don’t really like cakey or soft cookies, and a lot of them pointed to one key thing: refrigerating the dough to get a rich, toffee-flavored, chewy cookie. Indeed there is a whole New York Times article on this. Ideally, they suggest 36 hours. So, here we go. I made a batch of my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe because it calls for everything you need for a chewy, crispy cookie: melted butter, brown and white sugar, and an extra egg yolk. I added the walnuts just to make things interesting.

So, after my EXTENSIVE research,

Hypothesis: Refrigerating cookie dough will give me a damn good cookie. (Or am I supposed to say its not? And then reject that hypothesis? Or is that statistics? I don’t remember.)

Materials:
1 batch of Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies -
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 refrigerator
1 oven
Misc. baking utensils

Experiment Procedures:

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.

Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.
Refrigerate dough.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

I baked a batch right after I mixed up the dough, and refrigerated the rest of the dough. Then, I baked a batch after 12 hours, 24 hours, and 36 hours.

Results:

right after mixing.


after 24 hours.


after 36 hours.

Conclusion:
I accept my hypothesis.
HYPOTHESIS PROVEN!
Okay, that’s enough science for today, kiddies. My brain hurts.
But definitely, the cookies that were kept in the fridge for a day or more tasted better. They even looked different. The edges were slightly crispy and the centers were soft and a bit crispy. I think next time, I’ll use higher-quality butter because these weren’t as crisp as I wanted them to be.

I’ll update again soon with some Thanksgiving recipes. :)

4 thoughts on “the great chocolate chip cookie experiment

  1. joeymom

    Thank you! I was trying to come up with a way to have baking cookies be a lesson on the Scientific Method for my child- I wanted the cookies to provide reward for the lesson. The simple variable of chilling the dough and studying how temperature affected lipids, we were able to spend the afternoon stuff ourselves to observe the results. You are awesome!

    Like this

  2. jean Post author

    That’s great! I’m glad it was a fun experiment for your family :) Thanks so much for the compliments

    Like this

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