Monday, March 24, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies---Revisited


I recently took a career education course at the Institute for Culinary Education in New York City entitled "Recipe Testing and Development". Taught by Food Network recipe developer and blogger, Sarah Copeland, the course delved into the way recipes are conceived, created, written, and tested.
To drive home the importance of testing, retesting, and testing a recipe again, we did an exercise using all-American Nestle Toll House Cookies. Sarah chose a baking experiment to illustrate her point, as baking is more scientific and precise than savory cooking. When baking, one small change to a recipe often yields a sigificantly different result.

She asked us each to change one ingredient in the Toll House recipe, keeping everything else constant (other ingredients, baking time, etc). I chose to substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour. Others opted to use other dry ingredients, like oat flour, whole oats, cornmeal, and buckwheat. Some changed the type of fat used (butter is the standard), and others examined alternative wet ingredients (such as all egg whites or all egg yolks). In all, there were seventeen different types Toll House cookies made, and what we discovered were seventeen very different cookies.

My whole wheat flour cookie (pictured above, on left) turned out very nicely, and while a little darker than the traditional Toll House variety, it was equally attractive. The whole wheat flour rendered it "toothsome", and gave it a bit of a nuttier taste. Overall, it was a good substitution and a successful result.

Much to my surprise, one of my favorite modifcations was the substitution of canola oil for butter (pictured above, on left). I wondered if that particular cookie would taste of the oil, but instead, the absence of the buttery flavor helped the chocolate and nuts stand out even more. Another cookie I particularly liked was the one using only egg whites instead of whole eggs. The cookies were light and delicious, but could be dangerous. Unlike my heavier whole wheat flour version, you could easily eat a half dozen of the egg white version without even realizing it.

Perhaps the most interesting modification was that replacing the all-purpose flour with oat flour. Since oat flour does not have any gluten, the cookies were completely flat, and resembled a Florentine cookie. While not something a kid would particularly like, for adults, they were a delicious and more sophisticated version of an American classic.
Try substituting different ingredients in your favorite recipe, sweet or savory, and see how the results vary. As they say on American Idol, "make it your own!"
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (a variation on the classic Nestle Toll House cookie)

Yield: 30 cookies (note--this is a half recipe)
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2T granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2T cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions:
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flours, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg and beat well.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Stir in morsels and nuts.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Butter-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (a variation on the classic Nestle Toll House cookie)
Yield: 30 cookies (note--this is a half recipe)
1 cup plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 1
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plus 2T granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2T cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions:
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flours, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
Combine oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large bowl. Add egg and stir well.
Gradually stir in flour mixture.
Stir in morsels and nuts.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

1 comment:

queenieshale said...

Pete and I loved this entry... we can't decide which to try! We have once substituted almond extract for vanilla - not so good.