So which of these two recipes makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies?
The entertaining food blogger Amateur Gourmet just had a post about the best chocolate chip cookies ever. He used a recipe from another food blog, A Spoonful of Sugar, which got the recipe originally from eGullet long ago. I was comparing the ingredients, and they seem to be very similar to the Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Cook's Illustrated. There are slight differences. I don't know enough to understand the effects of these differences, so I'm hoping you chowhound geniuses can help me.
The Cook's ingredients:
2 cups plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks melted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1.5 cups choc chips
And the ingredients from the eGullet recipe (with the US conversions as best I could manage):
300 g flour (conversion 2.4 cups)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
170 g unsalted butter (conversion 1.5 sticks)
215 g brown sugar (conversion 1 cup)
120 g white sugar (conversion 1/2 cup)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
300g milk chocolate chips
I guess the only differences are in the salt and the vanilla, plus the second one has more chocolate chips and a smidge more flour, if my conversions are correct. Also, the Cook's version is baked 15-18 minutes at 325, while the egullet ones are baked at 190C/Gas Mark 5 (conversion to 375) for 10-12 minutes. I think this must mean something! What do you think?
The best way to find out which one you like best may be for you to make both and then tell us what the difference is in each.
That being said, most people will have differing opinions of what types of cookies are best: cakey/puffy or thinner/chewy. I prefer the latter but YMMV. Some people would say there is no such thing as a bad homemade chocolate chip cookie.
There is also another difference in your recipes: the melted butter in the Cooks version. Liquid butter acts very differently than solid or semi-solid butter in batters, making a flatter cookie rather than a puffy one, since the liquid nature does not trap air bubbles as much as a more solid creamed butter. Without knowing more about what is being done to the butter in the second recipe, that may or may not be an important point. To answer your question about baking time/temps, the lower temp allows for more spreading time (flattening the cookie further) before the heat sets the dough into the final shape.
Good luck making those cookies and report back with your results.
Also, I know the cooks recipes makes a big cookie - really big. So the longer cooking time would be necessary for the size of the cookie.
I always add more chips (chunks, actually) to the cooks recipe, so egullet wins on that point. The difference is salt is unlikely to matter much - I'm not a heavy salter, so I tend to skimp on salt anyway. A point for cooks. The flour is a small difference; too much flour would make the cookie tough, too little and it won't come out thick and chewy. But there's likely to be a bit of leeway there. Answer uncertain.
Look, why don't you make two batches, mail them to me, and I'll give you a critique.
Generally speaking, in the US a recipe that calls for "chocolate chips" means semi-sweet chips, while your other recipe specifically calls for milk chocolate. Since that recipe also calls for more vanilla, I'd think it would be sweeter and less chocolatey.
I'd be curious to know the difference in the shaping of the cookies. I don't know the egullet recipe, but I've done the Cook's dozens of times and part of the success of that recipe is in shaping the dough before placing it on the baking sheet so that it's taller than it is wide. That, too, must have an effect on the baking time as well as on the texture of the baked cookie.
I don't know about the first, but I made the second over the weekend, and they were very good.
I'd recommend giving them a shot.
One thing not mentioned in your writeup is using a 1/4 measuring cup to make cookie shape. It results in healthy-sized cookies.