4 Levels of Chocolate Chip Cookies: Amateur to Food Scientist

It doesn't get much more classic than chocolate chip cookies. We challenged chefs of three different levels - an amateur, a home cook and a professional chef - to make their versions of the chocolate chip cookie. And then we brought in a food scientist to review their work. Which cookie was the best? Check out the professional's recipe here on the ICE blog: https://www.ice.edu/blog/chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe-smoke-butter

Released on 9/17/2018

Transcript

00:02
(jazzy music)
00:05
My name is Alina.
00:06
My name is Lorenzo.
00:07
Ready to rumble.
00:09
[Penny] Hi, I'm Penny.
00:10
I've been baking professionally for 14 years now.
00:13
(jazzy music)
00:16
The last time I made chocolate
00:17
chip cookies was so long ago.
00:19
This past winter, for sure.
00:20
But I've actually been cooking for 14, 15 years.
00:24
At my retail bakery, we made chocolate chip
00:26
cookies pretty much every single day.
00:37
We start with dry ingredients.
00:39
Two and a quarter cups of flour.
00:42
(humming)
00:44
All-purpose flour.
00:45
You really have to be precise with this, especially flour.
00:49
11 ounces of all-purpose flour.
00:52
As a professional pastry chef,
00:53
instead of using volume measurements,
00:55
we weigh all of our ingredients.
00:57
And then we have
00:58
salt. Salt.
00:59
[Lorenzo] Granulated white salt.
01:00
We're using sea salt today.
01:02
Sea salt's great, because it
01:03
has some impurities still left behind,
01:05
and it's in the impurities where the flavor is.
01:08
Next, we're gonna do
01:09
baking soda. Baking soda.
01:10
Baking soda.
01:11
Make sure it's baking soda, and not powder.
01:14
And baking powder.
01:16
We want a really thick cookie,
01:18
and the combination of baking powder
01:20
and baking soda's gonna help me achieve that.
01:22
So I'm gonna start my wet ingredients.
01:25
We have two sticks of softened butter.
01:27
And we'll have to put them in the microwave.
01:30
I have two sticks of butter, room temperature, unsalted.
01:34
[Penny] So not only do I wanna melt my butter,
01:36
I actually wanna smoke it,
01:38
and that's one of the ways that
01:39
I'm gonna add a little bit more
01:40
of a savoriness to the cookies.
01:42
I'm gonna poke a little hole
01:44
and insert the tip of the smoker.
01:48
About 40 minutes or so, I'll be ready to finish my cookies.
01:52
I'm gonna get the sugars, which we have brown sugar and--
01:55
White granulated sugar.
01:59
And vanilla extract. Vanilla extract.
02:01
All right, a little bit more than a teaspoon.
02:04
Okay.
02:05
We'll just go with that. (laughs)
02:07
Plop.
02:08
Instead of vanilla extract, I'm gonna use
02:10
an actual fresh vanilla bean.
02:11
Now I'm going to get my eggs.
02:14
Okay. The ninja.
02:16
(laughing)
02:18
That's so stupid.
02:19
Oh, and there's a little bit of shell in there.
02:21
My goodness, look at how beautiful those eggs are.
02:23
Those super, super yellow yolks comes from
02:26
the feed of the chicken.
02:28
(jazzy music)
02:32
Adding the butter.
02:39
And that's it.
02:40
It's ready for the chocolate.
02:41
The favorite part.
02:43
Two cups of the chocolate chips.
02:47
But just to give it some pizzazz,
02:49
some little foof, I like to add bittersweet chocolate.
02:52
Just crack it up in your hands, open the package up.
02:56
If you want it a little bit finer, that's fine.
02:58
Just get your knife, be careful, please.
03:00
I really like these feeds,
03:01
which are a coverture chocolate, 74%.
03:05
And then bakes off into great shards
03:08
of chocolate throughout the cookie.
03:12
I have a really big scoop here,
03:14
which is about four ounces.
03:16
I like to scoop them.
03:17
If the cookies are all different sizes,
03:19
they're gonna bake at different rates.
03:21
(jazzy music)
03:26
One important step is to freeze
03:28
the cookie dough for 24 hours before you bake the cookies.
03:30
It allows the flavors to meld,
03:32
and you get a more complex, interesting cookie.
03:34
And I also smoked this salt as well,
03:36
to amplify the smoky flavor that would be in the butter.
03:39
So just sprinkle a little bit on top,
03:41
and these are ready for the oven.
03:43
All right.
03:44
Now we're going to cook them at 375 degrees
03:47
for about nine to 11 minutes.
03:49
[Lorenzo] I'm gonna throw these in
03:50
at 375 for 11 to 13 minutes.
03:52
[Penny] These are gonna bake
03:53
for about 25 to 28 minutes in a 275 degree oven.
03:58
Let's see if we can get this out.
04:01
They went in a little bit longer than they should have.
04:06
(chuckles)
04:11
[Penny] And they got so much bigger.
04:16
(gentle music)
04:21
All right, let's see.
04:22
They've got, the chocolate chips are a little melted.
04:25
Let's try opening it.
04:26
Okay, we'll see.
04:28
It's golden brown, it actually smells terrific.
04:33
I can see all the chunks of chocolate,
04:35
the bittersweet, the semisweet chocolate.
04:37
The cookie is really nice and thick,
04:40
and it's very evenly browned all the way around.
04:43
The edges are nice and crispy,
04:45
and the middle is still really soft.
04:48
And there you can see all the shards of the chocolate.
04:51
Best part.
04:54
Oh my god.
04:55
Wow.
04:57
That's amazing.
04:58
I make a good cookie.
04:59
That's a good, good chocolate chip, folks,
05:02
if I do say so myself.
05:05
Now that we've seen three different chefs
05:06
make three different versions of chocolate chip cookies,
05:09
I'm gonna break it down to see
05:10
what was different between each version.
05:15
In baking science, weighing is really important.
05:17
It's important that the recipe
05:19
is the same this time as it was the last time.
05:21
With Alina's variation, it was a little bit messy.
05:24
Looks good enough.
05:26
And so we don't have a lot of precision there.
05:28
These are not gonna be even at all.
05:30
Not all of the cookies are gonna look the same.
05:32
They still look good.
05:33
Lorenzo did a little bit better.
05:34
It is important to level it off a little bit.
05:36
Use your finger, use the spoon.
05:37
But we're gonna have some variation,
05:39
because there's things like humidity
05:41
in the climate where you're baking
05:42
that are gonna come into play.
05:43
Sorry.
05:44
Sugars have properties that are
05:45
called hygroscopic properties.
05:47
They soak up moisture from the air.
05:49
Starches can do it as well,
05:50
so depending on the environment you're cooking in,
05:52
if you have a real moist or humid environment,
05:55
or it's even just a rainy day
05:56
where you're making your cookies,
05:57
it's gonna make a difference.
05:58
Okey-doke.
05:59
Penny really did a good job.
06:01
[Alina] Put them in the microwave.
06:02
[Lorenzo] Just cut it up a little bit.
06:03
[Penny] Not only do I wanna
06:04
melt my butter, I actually wanna smoke it.
06:06
Each one of our chefs did something
06:07
really different with the butter.
06:08
Alina used the microwave to melt her butter.
06:11
We'll have to put them in the microwave.
06:13
That's okay, but in reality you get
06:15
some liquid portions and you get some solid portions,
06:18
so it's not gonna be a great way to mix your sugar.
06:20
This is like a semi-workout right now.
06:22
What Lorenzo did is he used butter at
06:23
room temperature. Room temperature.
06:25
There you go.
06:26
That's a really good idea--
06:27
That's right.
06:28
For the creaming method.
06:29
When you use room temperature butter,
06:30
you can incorporate lots of air
06:32
when you add crystalline sugar to the mix.
06:35
That makes for a nice, porous, light kind of cookie.
06:38
(cookie crunches)
06:38
Oh, my god.
06:39
What Penny did is different, and interesting.
06:42
She used a melted butter,
06:44
so not only does it give that butter flavor,
06:46
but it's going to be evenly distributed
06:48
throughout the entire batter,
06:50
and you're gonna get a more dense, chewy cookie.
06:53
It's really nice and chewy on the inside.
06:54
Maybe really good with a glass of bourbon next to it.
06:57
Some of the chocolates that you get,
06:58
maybe, in a chocolate chip bag--
07:00
(chocolate rattling)
07:01
Okay, there we go.
07:02
Might not be the highest quality chocolate.
07:04
Do they taste good?
07:05
It's pretty good.
07:06
Yes.
07:07
But they're not gonna be tempered.
07:08
They may have emulsifiers added to it.
07:10
They may have other ingredients
07:11
that won't cause them to melt as easily
07:14
as some of your coverture chocolate does.
07:16
(chocolate rattling)
07:18
And that's it.
07:19
Things that have been tempered,
07:20
things that have gone through a conching process.
07:22
You're gonna have more of a layering effect.
07:24
[Penny] You can see all the shards of the chocolate
07:26
that have made different layers of chocolate and dough.
07:29
(cookies crunch)
07:31
When you think of a chocolate chip cookie,
07:32
you're probably thinking first and foremost
07:34
about the sweetness of the cookie.
07:35
But if you add a little bit of sea salt,
07:37
or any kind of salt to the top of your cookie,
07:40
it's going to really enhance that flavor.
07:42
(exciting music)
07:45
There have actually been studies done
07:47
that show that some of the sensory cells
07:50
that are associated with sweetness
07:51
that used to be found just in the gut in mice
07:54
now are associated with sweetness
07:57
and enhanced by the presence of sodium.
07:59
And we get sodium from the salts that we eat.
08:01
Okey-doke-finoke.
08:04
[Woman] Smoking the salt adds another
08:06
layer of flavor to your chocolate chip cookie.
08:08
To amplify the smoky flavor,
08:09
that would be in the butter.
08:10
This is a really interesting idea.
08:12
Thank you.
08:13
And what makes it unique is that the smoky quality
08:15
and the smoky flavors are going to balance out
08:18
the bitter quality of the high-end chocolate
08:20
that she uses, and it's also gonna balance out
08:22
the saltiness as well as the sweetness
08:26
from the rest of the cookie.
08:28
Many traditional chocolate chip cookie recipes
08:29
call for the use of sodium-bicarbonate, or baking soda.
08:33
[Lorenzo] Make sure it's baking soda.
08:35
When you heat sodium-bicarbonate,
08:36
you get something called sodium carbonate,
08:38
which has a little bit of a soapy, bitter taste.
08:41
To balance that out, we wanna add an acidic component.
08:44
If you're using the baking soda--
08:46
Make sure it's soda.
08:47
You're going to need an acid,
08:49
and if you're using just baking powder--
08:51
Powder's different, folks.
08:52
The acid is already in there in a chemical form,
08:55
so you're good to go.
08:56
Penny let her dough rest for 24 hours,
08:59
and there's a lot going on when we do that.
09:01
One of the important things is
09:02
we have some of our flavor and components
09:04
that are in our batter.
09:05
They're hydrated, they're mixed well,
09:07
and your flavor profile becomes far more complex.
09:10
I make a good cookie.
09:11
(dramatic music)
09:13
When it comes to sugars, you have options.
09:16
You can use white sugar, which is crystalline sucrose.
09:19
With brown sugar, it's sucrose,
09:21
but it's also coated with molasses.
09:23
Molasses is a byproduct of the sugar-making processing.
09:26
You also have things like magnesium and iron,
09:29
and other types of minerals that add a depth of flavor
09:32
to the brown sugar that you won't have with the white sugar.
09:36
The brown sugar also have this capacity
09:38
to hold onto water, and so you're gonna have this
09:41
moist, chewy, more dense kind of cookie
09:43
when you have the brown sugar.
09:45
So there's a whole lot going on,
09:47
chemically, with chocolate chip cookies.
09:49
It's all about knowing the ratios and ingredients
09:51
that you wanna use in your recipe
09:53
and knowing how they work with the other ingredients
09:56
that are there that are gonna make your cookie
09:57
have the different types of properties
10:00
that you're looking for.
10:01
But regardless of all of that,
10:03
everybody's always gonna love chocolate chip cookies.