Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off: Doughmesstic vs. NYT

doughmesstic vs. N

Hope you’re having a happy hump day… I brought cookies!

A little later than promised, but I’m on to my next installment of our chocolate chip cookie bake-off. In case you’re curious, the original rules can be found here.

As I’ve eluded, the hubbs is convinced that we’re never going to find a recipe that “beats” the NYT recipe we’ve been carrying through this whole ordeal. It definitely is a great cookie! Maybe it’s my inability to be satisfied with a recipe. Maybe it’s only the fact that he wants it to “win,” but I’m definitely hoping we will find a recipe that  beats it. With that spirit in mind, I pulled out a recipe for this round with a few more stops – Doughmesstic’s My Go To Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Browned butter + dark brown sugar. I was hoping the flavor of these would par up to the flavor that we keep coming back to in the NYT recipe.

doughmesstic chocolate chip cookies after baking

I found Susan’s recipe to be really easy to make. If you have never browned butter, just keep an eye on it. It will seem like it is taking forever to start changing color, but once it does, it is really easy to go from browned butter to burnt butter. The dough for these cookies was a little different in texture. Almost a little more greasy, although it does start with melted rather than just softened butter. Nonetheless, it was really easy to work with, and I didn’t have any trouble with sticky dough when forming cookie dough balls. I’ve heard that melting the butter helps make for a chewier cookie, and the centers of these were definitely soft (just the way I like them). You can even tell the middle of these cookies is soft in the photos. I’ll admit, I didn’t chop the chocolate as she indicates, but these are definitely a solid cookie!

doughmesstic chocolate chip cookies

So which one wins… I feel like a broken record. It’s still the NYT recipe for both of us, although it serious took me ~24 hours to decide between these two recipes. There is just something about the NYT recipe that tastes like a “chocolate chip cookie,” and I’m not quite sure I can put my finger on it. One thing is for sure, the Doughmesstic recipe is a solid choice if I don’t have 24 hrs+ to wait for the NYT cookies. Until next month. Enjoy!

Cookies Already Baked:

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Baking Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies
Alice’s The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies To Bake:
Alton Brown’s The Chewy
My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies from Eat, Live, Run
David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Flour Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bouchon Bakery’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Top Chef: Just Desserts Chocolate Chip Cookie

So, I’m thinking the current list will take us through November. Any additional recipes I’m missing?

(Printable Recipe)

Doughmesstic’s My Go To Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
From Doughmesstic

Ingredients:
12 Tbsp. browned salted butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
12 oz. chocolate chips (1 pkg), mixed semi-sweet and milk chocolate
sea salt for topping

To brown butter, melt butter in light colored medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook. The butter will foam first and then browned specks will start to form at the bottom of the pan and the color will start to appear more brown than yellow. Remove and let cool slightly.

Add the sugars to the butter and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to the dough, mixing until just combined. Mix in the chocolate and place the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the cookies just start turning golden brown on the edges (the middle will still be soft).

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off: Alice’s Recipe vs. NYT

alice vs. NYT

Well, I kind of missed March for this. Sort of. I had the post ready to go, but it just didn’t seem right to post it up on Easter Sunday, so I kept it waiting until Monday. In fact, I like that idea. From now on, chocolate chip cookie bake-offs on the first of every month! In case you’re new to this bake-off, you can find the original rules here.

The contender this month, to the ever champion New York Times (NYT) recipe (pictured on the right), was a recipe that I saw across several blogs a few years ago – this recipe from Alice of Savory Sweet Life. The recipe Alice presents comes with a pretty fierce backing of her recipe, and I can tell you that her cookies were definitely well received by my coworkers. Including the oddest and likely most honest complement I’ve ever received on my baking, “These cookies have the perfect balance of salt.” Different, but as long as you’re enjoying them, I’ll take it 🙂

 alice's best chocolate chip cookies dough balls

alice's best chocolate chip cookies cooling

One thing I noted was that Alice’s cookies have pretty specific instructions. By the time the eggs and vanilla have been added to the dough, it has been going in the mixer for 5 minutes and definitely results in a “fluffier” cookie dough. I did vary from the recipe slightly in the amount of flour listed. I originally added the amount of flour listed in the recipe (by weight – exactly 12 oz), but my dough was definitely still too gooey to hold together a cookie when baking. I added more flour, probably almost another 1/4 cup (although I didn’t measure exactly) to help the dough a little, and I am thinking they almost needed a little bit more as my cookies baked up rather flat. My guess is that this is due to the extended beating time as that is definitely longer than I leave most cookie dough in the mixer. While flat, the texture of the cookies was still the gold standard – crunchy on the edges and rather soft in the middle.

alice's best chocolate chip cookies broken

So which recipe will be continuing in our chocolate chip cookie bake-off. We’re still NYT fan’s in this house. It’s the flavor that develops while the dough sits that seems to be what boosts these over other cookies. While I really like the NYT recipe, I tend to like my cookies a little thicker (tends to be chewier). The NYT cookies aren’t super thin, although I have definitely seen heftier cookies. This may be the place for another recipe to beat the NYT for me. Thinking I may need to try a recipe with either brown butter and/or dark brown sugar next time to see if we can get an even match on the flavor. We’ll see!

Cookies Already Baked:
New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Baking Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some of the Cookies Still On Deck:
Alton Brown’s The Chewy
My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies from Eat, Live, Run
David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Doughmesstic My Go To Chocolate Chip Cookie
Flour Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bouchon Bakery’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Top Chef: Just Desserts Chocolate Chip Cookie

Any cookies I should add to the list? Here’s the recipe for Alice’s recipe.

(Printable Recipe)

Alice’s The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Savory Sweet Life

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3/4 cup (or 12 oz) all-purpose flour (I needed more than this)
3/4 tsp. medium course sea salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 pkg. each milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars together with a stand mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and very fluffy. Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour stirring until the flour is fully incorporated. Add more flour if needed to be able to form the dough into balls with your hands. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Bake on stoneware pans or on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are set on the outer edges. Cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off: NYT vs. Neiman Marcus

neiman marcus vs. nyt1

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.

chocolate chip cookie bake off neiman marcus vs. nyt

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.

chocolate chip cookie bake off neiman marcus

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!).

(Printable Recipe)

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted slightly from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:
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
2 eggs
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.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off: NYT vs. Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies - NYT vs. Baking Illustrated

So… a few months may have passed since I started this chocolate chip cookie bake-off series. While it has been on the back burner for awhile, I really would like to find my “go-to” chocolate chip cookie recipe, so I am going to commit to a bake-off at least once a month. If nothing else comes from it, I will have a happy husband as he loves freezing dough in mini pie pans so he can have hot chocolate chip “pizookies” topped with ice cream whenever a dessert craving strikes. I may need to invest in a few more mini pans 🙂

In summary, I started this off as a way to bake through all the chocolate chip cookie recipes that I’ve accumulated without having to bake 20 recipes in the same day (way too many cookies!). I am pairing two recipes up, side by side and baking them on the same day. The “winner” of the round goes on to face the next recipe, basically eliminating recipes until we are left with one at the end. As explained, this bake-off starts with the winner from last time, the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. The competitor (or second recipe) is the Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Baking Illustrated. I was excited to see how this bake-off would turn out. We basically fell in love with the NYT recipe last time, but the description of the Baking Illustrated recipe is completely my type of cookie. I want my cookies to have some heft and to have just a bit of that underbaked goodness inside.

thick and chewy chocolate cookies baking

I won’t share or describe the NYT recipe again. It can be found in this post if you are interested. I used the recipe found on Brown Eyed Baker for the Baking Illustrated recipe. The Baking Illustrated cookies stay pretty true to their name as a thick and soft cookie. The differences in the recipe primarily are that it starts with melted butter and uses an extra egg yolk in addition to the whole egg in the recipe. Many of the ingredients are listed as weight measurements, and I made the recipe accordingly, using the weights. The cookies end up a bit raggedy on top, on purpose, due to the specific instructions on shaping them, and while it seems like a minor detail, I really like how they look. As far as storing, the cookies lasted well for a day or two but started to dry out significantly more as the days progressed. Here’s the recipe.

thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie

(Printable Recipe)

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Baking Illustrated, seen on Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. of unbleached all-purpose flour (10-5/8 ounces)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter (12 Tbsp.), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup packed brown sugar (7 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3-1/2 ounces)
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or by spraying them with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix the butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer until lighter in color and thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the tips of your fingers with both hands on each side. Pull apart into 2 equal halves. You should now have 2 balls of dough with one jagged edge. Set the balls so that the jagged edge is up. Stick them back together to form one cookie being careful not to smooth the uneven surface of the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough and place the cookies on the prepared pans.

Bake until the centers are light brown with outer edges that are starting to harden but with centers that are still soft and puffy, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheets for several minutes until they start to set-up. Remove and continue cooling on a baking rack.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off: NYT vs. Levain Copycat

So which recipe was the favorite? The NYT recipe won again for us. The depth of the flavor in those cookies was amazing. The Baking Illustrated recipe does produce a substantial chewy cookie, but the texture will begin to dry out as they are stored. I do like the Baking Illustrated recipe better as a quicker recipe, especially if it is one that will be eaten rather quickly after they are baked. I believe I said this about the Levain copycat recipe too, but I am favoring the Baking Illustrated recipe over the Levain one for quick purposes (although it truthfully has been awhile since I’ve made the Levain version). Overall, it is still the NYT recipe for us. Guess I better start planning ahead for those chocolate chip cookie cravings! 🙂

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake-Off: NYT vs. Levain Copycat

The chocolate chip cookie. It has to be the ultimate cookie in the minds of a lot of people, and there are enough recipes to match. At last count, I have >50 recipes saved for different chocolate chip cookies, and that doesn’t count the couple family recipes that I have sitting in my arsenal. So what’s a girl to do? Compare them side by side! 

Since comparing 50+ recipes at one time is not feasible (unless we want to eat chocolate chip cookies and only chocolate chip cookies for the next month!), I have decided that I want to compare the recipes, side by side, tournament style, two at a time and work our way through to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe for us. This is probably going to take me awhile since I like to mix things up, but as I pair up the recipes, I’ll send them your way. I have told you before that the hubs and I have a different take on the perfect cookie (he’s a crunchy fan, I’m a chewy fan). Given this, I fully realize that I may end this quest with 2 perfect recipes, but 2 has to be better than 50 🙂

So which 2 are up first? I started my quest with 2 of the most contended recipes floating around the blogsphere – the New York Times recipe and a Levain bakery copycat recipe. While I have never had an authentic Levain bakery cookie, it is certainly in my bucket list as it seems to be quite the experience. The New York Times recipe speaks for itself. I don’t know how many blog posts I have read declaring this the best recipe ever.  Some ground rules to start:

1) I will try to follow recipes as written.
2) That said, I want to use the same kinds of chocolate chips in each so that my tastes aren’t swayed by the chocolate.
3) My other exception to following the recipes. Nuts. I will always leave them out.
4) One has to be declared a winner. One by me and one by the hubs.

So, here’s my take on the cookies:

The New York Times recipe calls for chocolate disks. I looked really hard for these but all that I could find was unsweetened chocolate disks from Trader Joe’s which weren’t going to work. I ended up using a mix of bittersweet chips and milk chocolate chips in here to match the chips called for in the Levain recipe. If you’ve heard of this recipe, you know that it calls for a significant chill time (24 hours) in the refrigerator. This is torture for anyone who loves cookie dough 🙂 I didn’t try baking cookies at different chill times, but I have heard from other bloggers who have tried this that the chill time really does make a difference  in developing depth in the flavors. The resulting cookies were large and did develop the texture difference referred to in the recipe – crunchy around the edges and chewy in the middle. One definite plus, they stayed soft for a couple of days as we ate through the batch.

(Printable Recipe)

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The New York Times July 8, 2008

Ingredients:
2 cups, minus 2 Tbsp. (8-1/2 oz) cake flour
1-2/3 cups (8-1/2 oz) bread flour
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt
2-1/2 sticks (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups (10 oz) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. natural vanilla extract
1-1/4 lbs. bittersweet & milk chocolate chips, mixed
sea salt (optional)

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined, 5-10 seconds. Drop in chocolate chips and incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Set aside. Scoop 3-1/2 ounce mounds of dough (size of generous golf balls) onto the baking sheet, making sure to turn any chocolate pieces that are poking up to make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
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The Levain copycat recipe is also one that makes huge cookies. I used the same mix of bittersweet and milk chocolate chips in these to eliminate the chocolate as a variable. The cookies get definite points for being a quick recipe. There are some times where you just want a chocolate cookie recipe right now. The cookies were notably thicker that the New York Times recipe and were softer throughout with the outer edge being less crunchy. I loved the use of dark brown sugar in these as I loved the depth of the flavor that it added. Of note, there is not vanilla. Lisa, the creator of this copycat recipe states that these are best the day that they are made, and I agree. They tended to get drier than the NYT recipe after storing for a couple of days.

(Printable Recipe)

Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2-3/4 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups bittersweet & milk chocolate chips, mixed
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I omitted these)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

In the bowl of a electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Transfer dough to a clean work surface and gently mix by hand to ensure even distribution of the ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions of about 4 oz each. Place each on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silpat and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until very lightly browned, taking care not to overbake. Let cool on a wire rack.
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Well, so which one was our choice. I have to say that both recipes were phenomenal. I was expecting to make two recipes and have a clear favorite, but I can truly tell you that it was a hard choice. In the end, the NYT recipe won over both my hubs and I. Him for the crunchy edge. Me for many things including the depth of flavor and better storage. My biggest downside of these is the chill time required. It is certainly not a recipe that can fulfill a chocolate chip cookie craving but is great if you are planning ahead to make them.
I definitely wouldn’t turn down one of these Levain copycat cookies if someone offered me one, but I think for now, the NYT recipe is on to the next round 🙂 Enjoy!