Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies: Keeping Dough in the Fridge

This post is dedicated to LH who rescued me today and gave me some sanity.

Friend called me at the last moment today, offering to take daughter #1 for a few hours on a playdate with her daughter. I was ecstatic as daughter #1 can get a bit clingy and demanding and the idea that she wouldn't be around for a few hours made me excited. I agreed and friend came and picked up daughter and I was alone with two napping kids.

I had such a warm feeling of gratitude towards friend that I wanted to take her a small holiday package over when I went to pick up daughter. I had, in my fridge, at the ready, two kinds of cookie dough, so all I had to do was preheat the oven and portion out chunks of two doughs. In less than 20 minutes I had two dozen cookies that were cooling and would soon be ready to put in a bag to present to my friend.

Which brings me to my point - I almost ALWAYS have, in my fridge, at any given time, one or two kinds of cookie dough ready to go. Almost always it is the Oatmeal Toffee Cookies and Nestle Toll House cookies. I almost NEVER make the dough and execute on the same day. For one, it breaks down the tasks into smaller, more manageable parts. To set aside enough time to make the dough and bake on the same day is difficult. The second is for taste - allowing the dough to rest, allowing the flour to really soak up the butter and the sugar to fully get incorporated - resting the dough in the fridge for 24 hours is a GOOD thing. It actually changes the character of the cookie. You will get a more rich, more flavorful, more beautifully colored cookie. It also makes it easier to make cookies in a heartbeat as husband often wants some in the evening after the kids go to bed. I can present him with warm homemade cookies in less than 10 minutes if the dough is in the fridge.

Some pointers - flour, for the rest of the world and most professional bakers, is not measured by the cup - but by WEIGHT. Flour fluctuates quite significantly in weight if you base it on volume. Most home cooks do not have a scale and go by the volume of a cup, which is why sometimes the precise measuring that is required in baking is pretty useless.

When I make most cookies, I actually ADD an additional 1/4 cup of flour -but this is based on my experience with my measuring cup. If your cup provides accurate measure as it is, then don't worry. Mine always seems a bit light, so for me to get the results I want, I have to add more flour. This helps reduce the spreading issue I often get with my cookies - which is due to too much butter vs. flour content. Watch your cookies - if you find them spreading way out - you need to add some more flour.

This is still my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe - the one from the back of the Nestle Tollhouse Semi Sweet chips. I always do it with walnuts, and I add the additional 1/4 of flour - and these adjustments have been made.

Original Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Nestle Tollhouse Semisweet Morsels
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. (REFRIGERATE AND REST A DAY.) 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.


ah...I must make more dough as I have used up my entire stash.


Package of cookies for friend

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

How long does cookie dough keep in the fridge? Also, what can I do to keep the cookie dough from crumbling when cutting from the chilled log?

Your recipes are great! Thx for sharing!

Joanne Choi said...

you can keep it in the freezer - about 3 months...in the fridge - I've kept it in there for a month, but in a fridge that doesn't get a lot of activity (no open and closing), meaning the fridge stays at a constant temperature more consistently. I'd say you can keep it in there for 2 weeks for sure and it's up to you to check it after that...the longer the duration in the fridge...the less "fresh" it will taste...but definitely it will improve from one overnight in the fridge...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips. (adding 1/4cup of flour, keep dough in the fridge at least one day before baking and so on..) now I think I can bake chocolate chip cookies in a good shape, not spread ones.

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