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Worth Chilling Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough?

After my last post comparing the Hershey’s and Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipes, I received almost a dozen recipes from readers about their preferred chocolate chip cookie recipes. I knew I had to try them, but I also want to experiment: the chocolate chip cookie is so ubiquitous that it seems like a neutral ground for comparing techniques, tricks, and other cookie hacks for what really makes a great cookie.

Okay, so common cookie tip: refrigerate your dough for a few hours before baking. Maybe overnight. It’s supposed to make for a lighter, less spread-y cookie because it hold its shape for a little longer before it is warm enough to spread, and by then, the edges have set to hold it in.

Or something like that. Let’s see how it did.

I got this recipe for chocolate chip cookies from my sister. It calls for only a single stick of butter, and that butter should also be melted, so it mixes together easily and bypasses any concerns around creaming the butter and sugar.

Although I usually use my stand mixer for cookies, this recipe didn’t call for it, so I used this bowl, which I got from my mom and is the one that my sisters and I all learned how to make cookies in.

Otherwise, the recipe looks pretty normal and similar to the Tollhouse and such. The resulting dough was actually quite dense since it proportionally has more flour to either liquid or air.

To get comparable results, I did alternating scoops of dough on the immediately baked and on the refrigerated dough. I actually even kept some dough to be frozen so I could do a direct comparison of different recipes in the future.

Compared to the Hershey’s and Tollhouse cookies, the room temperature batch didn’t spread very much: they made for thicker, chewier cookies, though I suspect that was the nature of the recipe.

I actually made this batch of cookies and the Maple-Star Anise Sandwich cookies at the same time, so I let the dough chill while I made the other cookies. The balls had about 3 hours to solidify, and they certainly did. I baked them up as similar a manner as possible, pulled them out, and then compared.

If you look one above the bottom right corner, you can see the cookie that I put my thumb through.

You might be wondering which is which. And if I didn’t consistently place cookies left to right, I wouldn’t know either. Even counting by the grid in the rack, they were the same size. And they tasted both delicious and indistinguishable.

So does it matter if you chill your dough? It depends. It isn’t a universal trick to improve every recipe, but you should believe a recipe author when they say you should or shouldn’t. Or test it both ways and figure it out for yourself.

You can find the thicker, chewier chocolate chip cookie recipe here.

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