Saturday, October 25, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies - chill overnight vs freeze immediately

Chocolate Chip Cookies - made dough October 11, 2014, adapted from Number 2 Pencil
Left: chilled overnight; Right: Froze immediately
I've made dozens if not hundreds of different chocolate chip cookies over the years. My taste buds are pretty jaded but I can tell you even the most average recipe for chocolate chip cookies will seem like manna from heaven if you eat said cookie 10 minutes out of the oven. And even the best recipe will seem mediocre if you eat the cookie several days after baking.
Chilled overnight before baking
I've heard about the merits of letting chocolate chip cookie dough chill for 24 hours before baking. That's supposed to develop the flavor. I usually make the cookie dough, portion it out into dough balls and freeze the dough immediately then bake it off at least a day later. No time to let those flavors deepen before freezing them. I decided to run a mini experiment with this recipe. Half the dough I left to chill overnight in my refrigerator and the other half got the freeze-immediately treatment. I was curious to see if they looked or tasted any different with the two methods.
Froze immediately then baked the next day
As you can see from their appearance, the chill overnight cookie looks more craggy while the freeze immediately cookie wins the beauty matchup in terms of looking smooth and a little more - well - professional. Both cookies are from the exact same batch of cookie dough.
Chilled overnight then baked
Taste-wise, while still lukewarm, the chill overnight cookie wins the taste round as it did have a more pronounced buttery and brown sugar flavor. The freeze immediately cookie was still good and if I hadn't eaten a bite from each one after the other, I wouldn't have thought the freeze immediately cookie was inferior as it was still delicious. So it was an interesting baking experiment. Although I'm reminded why I rarely conduct these kinds of experiments as I had to eat both cookies to test them out. I normally only eat one cookie for a taste test and to not be a pig. I compromised by eating half a cookie from each one day and saving the other halves for the next day. The next day, the flavor differences between the two weren't that pronounced. Or else to my jaded taste buds, cookies older than an hour out of the oven just don't cut it, no matter how they're made.
Froze immediately and overnight then baked
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
13 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup of granulated white sugar
3/4 cup of firmly packed golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine melted and cooled butter, both sugars, vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add egg and egg yolk, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
  4. Add in flour mixture and continue mixing until incorporated.
  5. Add in chocolate chips and give a final stir.
  6. Portion dough into golf-ball-size balls, line in a single layer on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Place cookie dough balls on baking sheet. Bake about 9 minutes, just until edges are a light golden brown.