Have you ever gotten a recipe from a friend, and your version is completely different from the original? The final product of any recipe depends on who is making it, what equipment is being used, and which ingredients you choose. Our baker friend Seth Greenberg, of Seth Greenberg's Just Desserts, challenged us to take on his recipe to see the variety of outcomes we would produce. "Living Today" host Ryan Brockington, engineer Chris Hauselt, associate producer Cary Barbor, and I all baked from the same recipe and ended up with four very different cookies.
The contest ended up a tie between me and Ryan (which means there WILL be a final-round bake-off coming soon!). His were crunchy as intended, but they were slightly overbaked and the chocolate ratio was off. Mine ended up chewy, since I made the dough in advance, hoping for an advantage in letting the dough rest. My strategy backfired, and I lost the crispness that Seth was looking for.
Chris and Cary both ended up with cakier cookies, perhaps because they didn't weigh their ingredients, choosing instead to measure by volume, ending up with too much flour.
Check out the pictures below for each result, and then try the recipe yourself!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 117 cookies
These are thin, crisp, cookies loaded with chocolate chips with just a hint of zip from a touch of cinnamon. Don’t worry about making so many, they will be gone long before you think possible.
8 ounces unsalted butter (cool, not cold)
5 ounces light brown sugar
3 ounces dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt (kosher)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg (cool, not cold)
7 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour, sifted
10 ounces mini bittersweet chocolate chips (4,000 count)
1. Preheat convection* oven to 350 degrees. Space three racks equidistant from each other and the oven top and bottom. Line three 18-by-13-by-1-inch aluminum sheet pans with parchment. Insert an Ateco Number 809 tube in a large pastry bag.
2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the beater (paddle, not wire whip), cream butter and both brown sugars using speed 4 (out of 10). Beat until mixture comes well up the side of the mixing bowl and sugars have dissolved completely. Stop mixer, scrape bowl and beater and continue mixing.
2. When mix again rises high, add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Continue mixing and add the egg. Let it incorporate thoroughly. Stop, scrape bowl and beater, and continue mixing.
4. When mix reaches halfway up, add sifted flour. Mix on slow speed until well incorporated. Stop, scrape bowl and beater, and add chocolate chips. Continue mixing on medium until batter is smooth and uniform. Scrape beater into bowl.
5. Fill pastry bag with batter. With the long side of a pan facing you, squeeze out six rows of cookies alternating seven and six cookies on each pan. Each cookie should be a little larger than the diameter of a quarter and shaped somewhat like a chocolate kiss. The cookies will spread while baking so allow room. Mix should make approx. 117 cookies.
6. Bake cookies, all three pans at once, for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown at the edges. Turn pans once during baking. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature.
7. Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight tin or jar. These do not improve from refrigeration.
*If you are using a regular oven, you still use 350 degrees but you will bake each pan for a little longer and will only be able to bake one pan at a time.