Thursday, 18 August 2011

Let's take a Cookie Break... Testing a Mrs. Fields Recipe

I've been on the hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie for at least a year.  Last week DH sent me this link to a video about the secrets behind the yummy-ness of Mrs. Fields cookies.  Apparently, the key is to use cold butter, refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes and bake them low and slow (300° for 20-22min).

I couldn't wait to try the recipe and made my first batch the night after I saw the video.   I must have put too much butter in (I almost always cut the block of butter according to the markings on the wrapper which isn't terribly exact!) because they spread way too much and although crispy around the edges, after eating two my jaw hurt because they were so chewy (not in the good way).

After thinking about my disappointing results I had to try it again.  This time I wanted to compare the difference between using the Mrs. Fields secrets and how I would normally bake cookies (room temp butter, batter left on the counter, 350° oven).  Truthfully, I wasn't convinced their way would be better but needed to know for sure.

To my surprise, using cold butter and refrigerating the dough made a big difference.  However the oven temperature didn't really.  Here's what my different cookies looked like:

The cookies made with room temperature (warm) butter ended up being much more cakey in texture.  They looked and had a mouth-feel more like the packaged soft cookies you buy at the grocery store.  The ones made with cold butter were a lot more like the ones you'd find in a good bakery. 

When DH came home he tried my three favourites of the six and this was his verdict:

Notice his #1 choice has only 2 cookies left in the pile!
I agree with his ranking, but for the VERY slight difference between #1 & #2, I think it makes more sense to go with #2 and bake them at 350° for 11 min - I have better things to do than wait twice as long for cookies to be ready, don't you!

Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies (original recipe & instructions)


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup C & H dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup cold salted butter, cut into cubes
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer blend the sugars at medium speed.
  4. Add the cold butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix at low to medium speed just until blended. Do not over mix.
  5. Add the flour mix and chocolate chips and blend at a low speed just until mixed. Do not over mix.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet, two inches apart.
  7. Bake 20-22 minutes until golden. Transfer cookies immediately to a cool surface with a spatula. You can line sheets with parchment and transfer to a cold surface to do it faster.
Makes 30-36 cookies, depending on the size of your scoops.


- Jacs

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