December 18, 2008
Yesterday on a long drive from Baltimore, I listened to scientist and baker Shirley Corriher explain the chemistry of baking on NRP. Several things she said piqued my interest, but I raised the volume when she explained how chocolate chip cookies sometimes flatten and spread, making that unwanted crepe-like cookie. She said to do two things to keep those cookies thick like one sees in bakeries.
- Use bread or unbleached flour since they have a higher protein content.
- Make the dough and refrigerate overnight to let it hydrate for a longer period. The longer the moisture can combine, the better for more gluten strands and breaking down starches and sugars.
I decided to make a test batch using both techniques (I used unbleached bread flour to hedge my bets). I used the classic Toll House recipe (I usually do) with Ghiardelli semisweet chip and walnuts. The results? Absolutely no spread whatsoever. I’m not sure if it was the bread flour or the refrigeration, but these cookies were the perfect thickness. Try one or both of these easy steps to ensure perfect chocolate chip cookies the next time you bake a batch.