Subject #12: Alton Brown’s The Chewy
I was walking home from the gym one evening when my phone rang. “When are you going to be home?” was the first thing J said to me. “I need cookies.” That was all I needed to hear! After a quick trip to the store I was set to bake, and fueled by post-gym adrenaline (and stolen bits of dough from the bowl) I had these cookies made before dinner.
This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while, since I think Alton Brown is brilliant and his show “Good Eats” is informative and entertaining (albeit corny). He has three different recipes for chocolate chip cookies: the Chewy, the Thin, and the Puffy. Each recipe utilizes slightly different quantities and techniques in order to achieve the specific texture. The Chewy recipe calls for melted butter and an ingredient I don’t usually add to cookie dough, milk. The instructions say to chill the dough, and in this step I cheated a bit and only kept the dough in the fridge for about ten minutes before baking off the first batch. That’s not nearly long enough for the dough to actually be chilled, but what can I say– my man needed cookies.
The results were just OK. The edges were crisp and the middles soft, which was nice, but I don’t know if I’d say they were actually very chewy. They possessed the buttery sweetness expected of cookies, but lacked more complexity of flavor. Both the texture and flavor shortcomings may have had to do with my own shortcut. There was a visible difference between a cookie from the first batch (which only chilled for 10 minutes) and a cookie from the last batch (which had 20 additional minutes in the fridge):
Cookie from properly chilled dough on the left: more rise, less spread.
Unfortunately I did not do a taste comparison with the cookies from different batches, so I don’t know whether chilling allowed for more flavors to develop in addition to affecting the texture. I may try this recipe again some day and take the time to do it correctly, but as of right now this one doesn’t rank among my favorites. Sorry, Alton!