Joy the Baker

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate- Fourth and Final Edition

July 13, 2008

If I could have a phone conversation with the New York Times Dining and Wine (as though NYTimes were a casual friend/maybe date), it would go a little something like this:

NYTimes:  (after 4 rings) Hello?

Joy:  Hey!  Oh, I didn’t think you were going to pick up.  I was expecting to leave a message.  I thought you’d be a work.

NYTimes:  You specifically called when you thought I’d be at work?

Joy:  (Awkward pause) No….. I just thought I could leave a message.

NYTimes:  Well do you want me to hang up so you can call back?  You’re being weird…

Joy:  No!…. It’s just… NYTimes, we need to talk.

NYTimes:  You know what Joy?  I’m not really in the mood for this right now.  I have to be up early tomorrow and I really don’t want to get into anything right now.

Joy: Well that’s too bad NYTimes, we need to talk right now.. It’s about your cookies.  Just listen.  Seriously.  It’s important…

Joy: (continued)  I like that you like food.  I can tell that you’re totally into it.  That’s cool…  It really is.  But you know what? Sometimes a cookie is just a cookie.  (Pause)  Sometimes we should let a cookie just be a cookie.

Don’t get me wrong- I really like that you like to sprinkle sea salt on top of cookie dough.  That’s respectable, and has a certain amount of charm.  I’m not talking about that… I’m talking about this 36 hour rule for resting cookie dough.  You know what?  I’m going to say something that I don’t think anyone else will say to your face…

NYTimes:  (interrupting)  We aren’t face to face.  This is over the phone.  And this is an imaginary conversation. And I’m the NYTimes, so I don’t have a face.

Joy: Ok.. you know what?  That’s not the point, and don’t interrupt me.   Your 36 hour rule- I don’t buy it.  I’m not in.  In fact- I’m out.  Why?  Well to be honest, I couldn’t taste a difference.  The 24 hour and 36 hour batched baked up slightly darker than the 12 hour batch, but I couldn’t decipher a taste difference.  In fact, I didn’t find any difference at all between the 24 and 36 hour batches.  I mean… come on… for the average person, eating a warm cookie from the oven is treat enough.  Why even suggest that they wait 36 hours to bake up the dough?  Who has that kind of time NYTimes.  Seriously!?

NYTimes:  (impatiently)   Well what do you want me to do?

Joy:  Well I don’t know what you can do.  What’s printed is printed, right?  I just wanted to call and talk to you so that you know that I know that sometimes you come up with some snotty cooking crap.  Sometimes you take something as friendly, straightforward, and approachable as a chocolate chip cookie and you put it on a pedestal and talk about things like depth of flavor and flavor profiles and crumb… and geez!  Can’t a cookie just be a cookie?

NYTimes:  You’re yelling…

Joy:  I’m not yelling!  I’m just being passionate.  I’m just saying that I’m on to you.  I did the experiment myself, and a cookie is a cookie at 12 hours, 24 hours and 36 hours.  A damn good, all -American cookie, that’s what is it.

Now, I don’t mean to be harsh.  I just had to get that off my chest.  Would you please put Mark Bittman on the phone?  I like him.

NYTimes:  Joy, you’re odd.

Joy:  I know.  Bittman please.

 

After much trial and refridgeration.  I’ve found these to be my two favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

The Chewy, with melted butter and bread flour, from Alton Brown.

The Buttery, with creamed butter and salted peanuts or cashews, from Elizabeth Faulkner.

I chill each dough for at least 4 hours before baking.  Of course, refrigerate the dough for up to 36 hours if you like.  I’ll create an evenly golden cookie, with all the goodness that is the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.


59 Comments Add A Comment

  • Haha, I love that conversation. And I’m glad to hear I don’t have to refrigerate the dough for 36 hours, because believe me, it wouldn’t last that long. I’d have eaten it all long before it even hit the 24 hour mark. Dang. I am SO stopping at the store and buying cookie dough on my way home. (don’t have the time or energy to make it…I know, I lose)

  • Yay! I’m delighted to hear that I will NOT have to wait a ridiculous 36 hours for some warm cookies. Thanks for doing the investigatory work for us!

  • CASHEWS! In choc hhip cookies…oh, I have died and gone to heaven.

  • the cookies they pictured looked great, but that article was a little too much for me. any cookie recipe that takes two days to complete is not worth it in my view — negates one of the great things about cookies, which is that you can whip up a batch in half an hour! easy to make on the fly when you’re craving something easy and sweet.

  • Hilarious!!! I am putting the AB recipe on my “to make” list.

  • Yeah, you tell them. Does chilling the dough for 4 hours make that much of a difference? I think I’d have to leave the house knowing that there’s a batch of cookie dough in my fridge for 4 hours.

  • I can’t wait to try Alton Brown’s recipe! And I agree with others who commented on how funny this diatribe against a 36 hour wait for cookies was. It was pretty darn funny. Thanks for doing the hard work for us. (I’d never be able to wait that long.)

  • Yay! I’m so relieved to hear that someone else doesn’t buy the 36 hour rule…and you’ve saved me the time to check it out myself! No waiting 36 hours for cookies (who could???!)

  • Great blog! And thanks for taking one for the team and performing these culinary experiments. :-)

    That having been said, I finally made these myself and really enjoyed them, salt and all. I waited the full 36 hours, so I have no idea if they would have been just as good after 12, but I did wind up liking them even more than AB’s “The Chewy”. They were crisp on the outside and chewy inside, sort of the ideal texture.

    BTW, if you want to yell at the NY Times, you can do so on this eGullet thread. The article’s author, David Leite, actually participates:

    http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=102308&st=120

  • Haha. Joy, you rock. Thanks so much for your always insightful, entertaining perspective. Thanks also for taking the time to debunk the NY Times. I know my wife appreciates that I won’t not be tempted to build in a one day delay into our cookies now.

  • Okay, that was too funny! Great post. I have been waiting for the final results – thanks for taking the time to put their theory to the test since I wouldn’t bother to do that myself. I’m glad to know that Alton’s chewy is still one of the best out there. Keep up the good work. BTW – are we going to see anymore podcasts? The first one was great.

  • Haha. I totally agree with you. I think this collection of posts was great, loved it. Thanks.

  • You are hilarious! Thanks for doing the experiment. I don’t think that I could ever purposely wait 36 hours to bake up the cookies. And I agree about “The Chewy” being one of the best recipes there is. Well done!

  • That was one of the funniest food blog posts I have ever read! And I so love the fact that you did this experiment and shared your results with all of us. Because I was secretly hoping I wouldn’t have to wait 36 hours for some slam dunk cookies!

  • A cookie is just a cookie…damn straight!

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