The Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate Part 1

Thank you to the many-many-many of you who took the time to talk me through my heartache.  I can’t even begin to tell you how special your insight and comments are.  Really.  I read every single word and I am endlessly touched by your openness and honesty.  You’ve all touched my heart and it has worked wonders to help me through a bit of a rough patch.  I can’t thank you enough.

In the past two days I’ve been back in the kitchen (in something other than pajamas) where I belong.

Today I bring you the Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate.  My question to you is simple.  What makes a better chocolate chip cookie: melted butter or softened and creamed butter?  Does it make a difference?

I think I make old school chocolate chip cookies.  You know what I’m talking about.  Cream the butter with the sugar, add eggs and vanilla extract and then the dry ingredients.  Dollop onto a cookie sheet, throw them in the oven and sometimes you end up with completely flat and crisp cookies.  One remedy to the flat cookie conundrum is to chill the dough before you bake off cookies.  That really helps.  But melted butter?

Let’s discuss.

Update: Look what’s in the NY Times today!  A whole article about the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  There is much to discuss!  Judging from all your comments so far, this might be a week long series.   We’ll get to the bottom of this and find the perfect cookie.  I promise.  And… it’s a good thing I stocked up on chocolate!  Thanks Alanna and Kevin for the link!

Part one of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate is a testing of the melted butter chocolate chip cookie.  The recipe is from Alton Brown.  In addition to the melted butter, this recipe calls for bread flour (more gluten strength and protein) instead of all-purpose flour, and a much larger proportion of brown sugar to white sugar, milk and an egg yolk.

Madness?  Perhaps.  But the result is a solid, yet somehow light and moist chocolate chip cookie.  It’s packed with sweet brown sugar flavor, and really a delight!

This cookie was far from the flattened, crispy, somewhat disappointing chocolate chip cookies I made when I was just kid standing on my tip toes to reach the counter.  This recipe creates a tall, proud and perfectly soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie.

How do you feel about melted butter and bread flour in chocolate chip cookies?  How do you think the creamed butter and all-purpose flour will hold up?  This is serious friends.  Dead serious.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe from Alton Brown

Print this Recipe!

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

142 thoughts on “The Chocolate Chip Cookie Debate Part 1

  1. To be honest, when I first started reading my mind rejected the idea of using melted butter in a chocolate chip cookie. But now I’m thinking I have to try these cookies. They look fabulous and I’m insanely curious about a light cookie made with melted butter and bread flour.

  2. The chocolate chip recipe I’ve been using for a few years is similar to this, except the bread flour and they cook at a much lower temperature. I do find chilling the dough makes all the difference with the melted butter in the dough.

    Your cookies look delicious, and I can’t wait to see the next installment of the debate- maybe I can give creamed butter cookies a try!

  3. Joy – this is my daughter and son’s favorite recipe. They were forever searching for the perfect “soft” cookie. I, on the other hand, enjoy a crispier cookie. I make the soft cookies so that I won’t eat as many. My daughter made these cookies a few weeks ago and they were as crispy as a toll house cookie, despite having followed the recipe. I think the only explanation is that she overcooked them. It’s imperative that you take them out of the oven just when they’re starting to get golden colored otherwise they’re overdone.

  4. I use creamed softened butter for my favorite recipe. It didn’t originally call for that, but one time I tried it with non melted butter and sweet mother the cookies became an absolute staple in our house. Now they are the only recipe I will use.

  5. I just read your last post and I hope you’re filling better and finding some confort in all those comments and in your pajama! Baking is a good therapy I think…
    Anyway, I love Alton and I love CCC (who doesn’t?) but I’ve never made his cookies. I’ve made CCC with bread flour before and the result was very very good! They get puffy and crunchy outside and chewy inside. I’ve tried the same recipe with AP flour and they also get good but a bit more cakey. I found the recipe for them on cookiemadness.com and then made experiments myself with it. I’ve even used instant yeast and those were my favorites! But what I think is that CCC are like steak, one like them rare, other medium rare, or well-done… With the cookies everybody had their favourites, so there’s no way of finding “the best”, just the best for you. Keep the experiments I love reading them.

  6. I’ve seen people use browned butter too. With older recipes, I’ve started using salted butter — because that’s what they were developed for.

  7. I have never tried melted butter chocolate chip cookies. But you’ve really touched my heart with this one. I am a chocolate chip cookie FREAK! On my birthday, I always get a free dessert at a local coffee shop and I always choose the choc chip cookie. And they always try to talk me into something more extravagant, like turtle cheesecake or tiramisu…nope, just the cookie please! I think this is also my next project.
    Ev

  8. Ahhh…Chocolate chip cookies. A topic near and dear to my heart…this is my type of debate!

    I’ve been eyeing a couple of chocolate chip recipes to try out soon. Firstly, there’s the whole Levain Bakery phenomena that I just became aware of. No, I haven’t tried them yet, but they sound dreamy…forget dinner and just give me the scone sized cookie, crispy and caramelized on the outside, soft and melted with a heart of goo on the inside. So I found this “Copycat Levain Bakery Throw Down Cookie” recipe and I’m so keen to see how it lives up to the hype. Have you tried the Levain cookie?

    Then there’s Elinor Klivans’ “chocolate chip-stuffed cookies”. Isn’t the name itself droolworthy? Two disks of dough cradling a chocolatey heart of goo. I must make these soon…!

  9. i still go for the creaming of the butter.

    i think the reason why the creamed butter version flattens because the butter only gets to melt inside the oven thus it makes the cookie flat. hmmm…

  10. For chocolate chip cookies, I always go to a Martha Stewart recipe I found years ago in her magazine (for a brief, maddening moment, I was a subscriber) that calls for creaming the sugar and butter. And let me tell you, this makes the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had…and I made a batch of them to try to cheer me up recently. Baking is always so therapeutic.

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