The neverending search for the best chocolate chip cookies continue..like it ever stops! Even though I think I found my favourite in CI's thick and chewy, I just can't help but think that there's something better out there. CI's CCC definitely has the best flavour, but I find that their chewiness is more soft than chewy and the crispy edges are gone a few hours later. Is the melted butter making the cookies too soft? They say that melted butter is the key for chewiness because it allows for more gluten development, but there are many cookies made with creamed butter that are chewy too. Maybe it's the large amount of brown sugar or the extra egg yolk.. seriously, this was driving me crazy so I just had to make another batch of CCC's even though I'm on a major butter overdose.
I found a recipe by Chris Kimball in the Dessert Bible had the same ratio of ingredients as the CI recipe except for the use of some shortening instead of butter, an extra egg white instead of egg yolk and baking powder instead of baking soda. It also creamed the fat instead of melting the butter. This was the perfect recipe to try because the ratio of ingredients were basically the same as CI's with a few minor variations and a different mixing method. To make the most out of this batch of cookies I also compared baking powder and soda. After creaming the butter, shortening, sugar and eggs I divided the mixture evenly by weight. Then I measured out half the dry ingredients following the original recipe in the Dessert Bible and half the dry ingredients with baking soda substituted for baking powder.
Now I could compare these cookies with my usual go to, the thick and chewy and also compare the dessert bible recipe using different leavening. To make it completely fair, I used a medium cookie scoop to portion them out and baked both baking powder and baking soda versions on the same cookie sheet at the same time at 325. Even though the Dessert Bible uses 375, I knew the bottoms would burn before the tops could properly set in my oven. I also alternated the cookies, just in case one half of my oven was cooler or warmer than the other. On the left, we have the baking powder cookie and on the right, we have the baking soda cookie.
Compared to CI's thick and chewy, these were definitely less buttery. They had an extra crunch to them, but was not worth the sacrifice in flavour. Between the baking powder and baking soda versions from the Dessert Bible, there was a difference in texture that was more noticeable as the cookies cooled. By the way, I refrigerated the dough for 36 hours (because I'm sure we all know by now after the endless posts on the NYT recipe that refrigeration makes better cookies!)
What I learned:
* Baking powder sets up a cookie faster in the oven, producing a thicker cookie and baking soda produces more spread and crisp. Both leaveners produced chewy cookies, but the chew in the baking powder cookie was more of a 'doughy chew'
* Shortening makes the edges crispier, but there was a huge compromise in flavour and a slight greasiness so it's all butter from now on. Plus, the crispiness eventually goes away so it didn't really make a difference and was not worth it.
* Creaming produces chewy cookies too! (I guess as long as the amount of brown sugar is large enough)
Overaly, my ranking is: CI > Dessert Bible with baking soda (modified) > Dessert Bible with baking powder (original). Even though CI still comes up on top, I'm still searching for the best CCC. At least now I've settle my curiosity in using shortening and baking powder vs baking soda. I'll definitely have to make another batch of cookies! Hopefully, the search ends next time.