Advances in Cooking: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toni Rivard, a Dallas dessert caterer, makes one of the best chocolate-chip cookies in America, according to Forbes Traveller. She ages her cookie dough about three days. She says it improves the texture. I wonder if it improves the flavor, too:

Rivard’s secret? “I like to age my cookie dough and feel that it makes for a better texture in cookies. As a result, the aptly-named OMG! [which is what customers have actually said when they taste one] chocolate chip cookies at Creme de la Cookie are soft and chewy with a deep rich flavor.

Fermenting cookie dough should certainly improve the flavor, although chocolate already supplies a lot of complexity. My experience has been that cooking delicious stuff became a lot easier when I started using fermentation to help (e.g., miso soup instead of soups flavored without fermented ingredients).

Thanks to David Archer.

9 Responses to “Advances in Cooking: Chocolate Chip Cookies”

  1. Laura Says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Aging cookie dough seriously improves the flavor of cookies. I discovered this by accident some years ago. I’d made John Thorne’s “best cookie in the world” recipe and was unimpressed by the first batch, so I stuck the remaining dough in the fridge and forgot about it. Being terminally cheap, when I remembered it several days later, I baked the rest of the cookies rather than pitching out the dough. THESE *were* the best cookies in the world, orders of magnitude better than the first batch. Since then, the New York Times has published an article on how aging cookie dough affects taste and texture (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/travel/10iht-09chip.14376338.html). Similar principles are used by many artisan bread bakers to excellent result.

  2. Nathan Myers Says:

    Of course chocolate is itself fermented; the good stuff is fermented in-pod for a few days on the forest floor, in a heap under leaves.

    Likewise, good butter is fermented. In the U.S. you have to find “european style” butter to get this.

    One mark of good chocolate-chip cookies is not to have too many chips. There should be only one chip per bite.

  3. Stacey Says:

    Aging cookie dough really does make the cookies taste better. I discovered this for myself when I made the chocolate chip cookies per the recipe in the NYT. (See: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/09chip.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=dining) I’m sure fermentation has something to do with it . . . according the article, hydration is also an important factor contributing to texture and taste. The longer the dough sits, the more hydrated the flour becomes and the bigger and more complex the flavor. If you are looking for a good aged cookie recipe to try, definitely make it these choc chip cookies – they are heavenly!

  4. Tim Buczak Says:

    Makes sense.

    There are several ‘No knead’ bread making techniques that involve leaving the bread dough to rise for several days in the fridge.

    I’m not a biologist, but I think it involves the process of autolysis where the flour, water and yeast form the gluten over time versus by kneading. This method of leaving the bread dough for over two weeks to let the natural fermentation process take place. (http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/) . I haven’t tried it but It seems to make sense with your fermented food ideas.

    So it makes sense for the gluten to form in cookies as well. I wonder if the baking powder/baking soda would break down in the wet dough.

  5. Stephen M (Ethesis) Says:

    A number of cookie recipes require letting the cookies sit at least overnight. I’d never thought about why before, other than it does let the fluids distribute better.

  6. Toni Rivard Says:

    It truly does improve the flavor. The color of the cookie will also be affected – the dough darkens and the cookie even looks tastier, which it is……

  7. Scott Bishop Says:

    Hmmm…sounds interesting. Worth a try!

  8. Deborah M Says:

    Can one go too far with this? I left some really fine oatmeal raisin cookie dough in the fridge for maybe two weeks. I had previously aged some for a few days, and found a really interesting change in the flavor—a kind of almond effect, very subtle.
    This time it got more fermented—parts of it even got wet, as if turning, all of the dough a slight tang in the smell, nothing terrible. I made the cookies small and thin and baked them about double the usual time, and they are delicious—very crisp and delicate.
    Nutritionists out there—-can this be dangerous? When does fermentation become breakdown?

  9. Glyka Tammam Says:

    Will try this one out for sure, thanks!