There comes a time when you must make a sacrifice. A sacrifice involving more than 2 pounds of chocolate, 2 pounds of butter, and sadly, all hopes of a bikini body.
For what, exactly, are we sacrificing all this?
For COOKIES. For the best cookies. Because it’s time to get serious up in here! There will be no more mediocre cookies happening in any kitchens. Hopefully. At least, not in mine! Now, how are we going to find this saucily titled “best cookie?”
Easy! I made the three most popular chocolate chip cookies on the web. They are all cookies that have been much praised, highly lauded and (over) analyzed. They are all cookies that I have tried. And loved! Or liked.
The only problem was, I never tried them all against each other. Thus, while we had cookies we loved, and ones my family and friends requested I stick with forever, each time I took out the mixer, I wasn’t sure which recipe to go for. Making three separate batches of cookie dough didn’t appeal to me very much, but with some free time this summer (and motivation from my #SummerGoals), I decided it was time to finally settle the debate and see which cookies would earn the coveted spot of permanence in our kitchen. Read on for the contenders and results!
A: The New York Times Cookie
Source: David Leite for The New York Times, who adapted these from Jacques Torres.
Specs: these cookies call for bread and cake flour, which supposedly leads to a perfect crispy/chewy texture, and a 36 hour rest in the fridge before baking, which allows the slow moving eggs to meld with the other ingredients and yields incredible flavor. The recipe recommends that you scoop these cookies into 3 oz. balls. Apparently, that huge ball of cookie dough then transform into a cookie with three distinct textures: an outer, crunchy edge, a chewy middle, and a gooey center.
Source: the Seven Spoons cookbook, by Tara O’Brady, author of a site of the same name.
Specs: These cookies use melted butter as opposed to most standard cookie recipes, which use creamed. This allows for these to be made right away (since there’s no need for butter to soften) and without a mixer. The butter is melted slowly to ensure minimal moisture loss, and indeed, these are soft and chewy, but not at-all cakey. The recipe says that these cookies improve after an overnight rest in the fridge, although it isn’t necessary, and it’s true: they develop an incredible toffee flavor, although they don’t spread as much as when they’re baked right away.
C: The Not Without Salt Cookie
Source: the popular ‘Not Without Salt’ blog + ‘Date Night In’ cookbook by Ashley Rodriguez.
Specs: this cookie recipe is unique in that it uses three types of sugar: turbinado, light brown and regular white. The turbinado adds an interesting texture, and they bake up the least flat of all the cookies, staying in thick mounds. Their dough:chocolate ratio is ridiculously high; as Ashley put it, “the dough exists only to hold the chocolate in place.”
And the winner was…
The Not Without Salt cookie!!! Chosen by the majority of testers, they were liked for the crunch that the turbinado sugar provided, their excessive amounts of chocolate, and their generally sweet, uncomplicated taste.
HOWEVER: they were not my favorite cookie. They were too sweet, too one note for me. I say they were the winner because they were the favorite of the majority, but my favorites were the Seven Spoons cookies, which were perfectly textured and, I found, amenable to changes: they are just as good with some whole wheat flour, or cake flour, or a mixture of the two, as they are with all-purpose, and as good as they are fresh, they’re even better the next day, after some time in the fridge. Half the tasters agreed that the Seven Spoons cookies were the runner up and the other half said they’d choose the New York Times cookies as runner up. The New York Times cookies were certainly runner up for me; their flat yet not crunchy texture was a big draw for me and they also look like a classic, perfect chocolate chip cookie. In terms of flavor, I found them a lot more flavorful than the Not Without Salt cookies, but when pitted against the Seven Spoons Cookies, they were very similar in taste, and since I expected more from them (due to their finicky ingredient list, their required chill time, etc.) they didn’t win.
So, to sum up:
Now, go forth and make cookies!!! I’ve provided recipe links for each cookie right above, so if you want to turn into a cookie monster (like I did) and bake all 3 cookies to decide for yourself, you can. But my advice? Go straight for the Seven Spoons cookies. Or, as everyone else will tell you, the Not Without Salt cookies. Whatever! Decide for yourself. Any way you go, it won’t be wrong.