Chocolate chip walnut cookies

Chocolate chip cookie project, part 9

I’ve been thinking about those Cook’s Illustrated chocolate chip cookies I made last year and craving the deep, caramel flavor of that particular batch. And now that I know more about the interplay of butter and freshly-milled whole grain flour, it sounded like a fun experiment to play with the butter and flour levels of that recipe. Originally when I made it (with whole wheat flour), the cookies turned out much flatter than I wanted, so this time I reduced the butter by 20% and increased the flour by 20% — to mixed results.

Chocolate chip walnut cookies

Cookies from batch #2, an improvement over batch #1 but could be better with further adjustments

Formula

  • 10 1/2 oz freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 11 tbsp butter
  •  3 1/2 oz granulated sugar
  • 5 1/4 oz dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts

Process notes

  • heated 8 tbsp of the butter in the pan until browned
  • had problems with lumpy sugars — this caused mixing issues because the lumps didn’t dissolve
  • scooped out dough and froze before baking

Baking

  • baked batch #1 at 425° with the top/bottom rack switching technique (4 minutes in the top part of the oven, then 3 minutes in the bottom part of the oven, then an additional 2 in the top and 1 in the bottom)

Results

The reduction in butter and increase in flour made the dough too hard to mix, and it was crumbly rather than sticky. This made it really difficult to scoop out, and when they baked they didn’t want to spread much at all. Too many big changes. It would have been better to just adjust one of the ingredients.

Batch #1

I baked for a total of 10 minutes, thinking that with a little more time the cookies would spread more. But really what that did was overbake them. They were more firm and crumbly rather than gooey and bendy.

Chocolate chip walnut cookies

Batch #1 is too firm and round, baked for too long at too high a temperature

Batch #2

For this batch I followed the baking directions from the original recipe, except that my dough was frozen: 375° with rack in the middle of the oven; 5 minutes, then rotate, then 5 more minutes. They turned out much better than batch #1. Although they didn’t flatten out quite enough, they were softer in the middle and the flavors of the chocolate and walnuts were more true and pronounced. Huge improvement.

Chocolate chip walnut cookies

Batch #2 has better texture and flavor than batch #1 but the dough needs work

But I still think I’d like to adjust the butter back to its original measurement to help the dough stay stickier and hold together better. That’s my hope, anyway.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE PROJECT POSTS

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