Well, I guess the detox from Monday is over. I know it was short lived, but see today is February 27th. That means I only have approximately 32 hours to bring you the previously promised chocolate chip cookie bake-off for February. Bring on the cookies!
So, far the recipes we’ve been through include the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie, a copy-cat Levain Bakery cookie, and the Baking Illustrated recipe. In our house, the NYT recipe is the current champion, and you can find our take on that recipe as well as the original rules to my bake-off here.
In the above photo, the Nemain Marcus recipe is on the left and the NYT cookies are on the right. I had a feeling this would be a tough round for me. The secret to the Neiman Marcus recipe is oatmeal. Not whole but ground up in a food processor until you basically have an “oat flour.” I am a fan of oatmeal in many forms, but I love how it changes the texture of a cookie. Unless you really overbake them, cookies containing oatmeal are always soft and chewy for days.
The recipe for the Neiman Marcus cookie comes here from an adaptation from the Brown Eyed Baker. I found that the cookie dough came together pretty quickly and easily (especially compared to the fuss of the NYT recipe), although after all the flour/oats were mixed in it seemed drier than most cookie dough I’ve seen. By chance, I let it sit for awhile prior to baking while I was doing something else, and it seemed to be easier to work with after resting. I’m not sure if the oats needed to “soak” in some of the wet ingredients? I should caution you that I’ve had this “dryness” issue with other recipes when baking in the desert, so I also wonder if this is a climate thing? The photo below is the Neiman Marcus cookies alone.
Nonetheless, I was able to form the dough into balls and bake cookies! After baking them, you would be none-the-wiser that the dough was dry as the cookies are perfectly soft and chewy. As expected, I had a hard time choosing between these cookies. The hubbs was easy – he’s an outer edge crunchy guy, so he is all about the NYT recipe. I think that will be the recipe to beat for him. In the end, I did join him on the NYT train, but it took me a day or so. While I love the texture that the oats give the Neiman Marcus recipe, there’s a caramel flavor that develops in the NYT recipe that makes me swoon. Guess the NYT recipe still reigns in our house (at least for another month!).
Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted slightly from Brown Eyed Baker
2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 pkg. milk chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, if using.
Blend the oats in a food processor or blender until they form a fine flour-like powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together the blended oats and the remaining dry ingredients – all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Mix in the vanilla extract. On low speed, gradually mix in the flour, beating until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.
If the dough seems too dry, let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Form the dough into balls with about 2 tablespoons of dough in each ball. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the cookies just start to set (they may be a little soft in the middle still). Let them cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.