I used to think that if cooking was like art, baking was like science. In cooking, there’s some creativity and flair to standing over a pot or pan and figuring out how to make the best dish. In baking, it’s better to follow the recipe with precision of measurements to get exactly the desired results.
Over the past few months of baking cookies, I have found them to be incredibly resilient to imprecision. When a cup of flour can be anywhere from 4 to 5 ounces, when a 1/4 inch thick can be an 1/8 to 3/8, when oven temperatures can vary by 50F from the measurement, I don’t think it’s quite so scientific.
And yet, it does still matter. My mother-in-law suggested the recipe on the back of the Guittard dark chocolate chip bag as being a hit, so I gave it a shot.
Off the bat, I was using chocolate that had expired in January, and the chips had definitely bloomed with the outside turning a bit white.
My understanding is that melting the chocolate can fix it, and the recipe did call for 3/4 of the bag to be melted. It said to use the microwave, but I figured it would be better to use the double boiler. The chocolate ended up with a thicker consistency than I was expecting, but I continued on.
Next, I creamed together the sugar and butter, but due to some unrelated issues in the kitchen, I wasn’t too focused and ended up perhaps over-creaming and under-scraping it.
I wasn’t too sure what the consequence of that would be, but one part might have been that the eggs and butter curdled/broke when I tried to mix them together. Rather than having a smooth mixture, the eggs and butter separated. Since making these cookies, I have read that the fix is to bring things closer to room temperature, but at the time, I just went with it.
Next, I was preparing my dry ingredients when I accidentally put the baking soda straight into the batter. I scooped out as much as I could to put back into the flour, and hoped for the best. Then, I put the dry ingredients in before I remembered I had the chocolate. Since I hadn’t stirred yet, I did my best to shake out the loose dry ingredients back into the bowl. And then I put the chocolate in as desired, but it had cooled off significantly and looked quite dry.
Thankfully, it mostly mixed in okay, and I put the dry ingredients in afterwards. I ended up with a few streaks, but at least it all came together.
The dough itself was quite wet, and I just used my cookie scoop. The one thing that did go right was that I ended up with exactly 36 cookies as desired. Well, 35 regular cookies and 1 mini cookie, but close enough.
My last issue was that the oven was about 50F off from the target temperature, and I also baked two sheets at a time. On another day, I might have waited until later, but without air conditioning and the daily high expected to be in the 80s, I thought it best to finish with the oven as quickly as possible.
The recipe said to bake “until tops are cracked and crusty” for 11-12 minutes, but you may notice that the tops are neither cracked nor crusty, and I gave them an extra 2 minutes. In fact, they actually looked quite smoothy and domed.
I suspect the issue there was the extra beating of the sugar and butter, but I can’t be sure.
In the end, the cookies turned out fine. I think I imagined something a little more decadent and closer to a brownie, whereas these cookies seemed more airy and dry.
So despite the mistakes through the recipe, I think most of them ended up not being a big deal. I think the recipe could be worth another shot given the previous review and some idea of better technique, but if I felt like a big chocolate hit, I think I would go back to Dorie’s Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops instead.
If you want to learn from my mistakes, you can find the recipe on Guittard’s website.