HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Which Flour to Use for Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 73
  • Share

I am in search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie flour. I have some good ideas for a recipe, and frankly, it won't stray far from the classic Toll House Cookies on the bag of chocolate chips. I will just tweak it a little. I am mainly wondering about what type of flour to use, pastry or all purpose. I am inclined to think that pastry will make a softer, chewier cookie. This is what I want. Am I right?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. All purpose; you can make a chewy cookie with this flour as well as long as you don't over bake it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cherylptw

      More brown sugar and less white sugar also helps with "chewy" cookies vs crisp

    2. pastry flour will leave you with a cookie that falls apart on contact -- you want the gluten in AP -- that's what gives you the chewy.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        Definitely don't want them to fall apart! I love pastry flour for biscuits; they seem so much lighter than with AP. What do you use pastry flour for, then? I have always been of the opinion that: cake flour for cakes, bread flour for bread, pastry flour for pastries and cookies, and all purpose? Well, no purpose! Why am I wrong, please? I have read that it is "good" for everything, but not "great" for anything.

        1. re: Jessiet

          More technical info here:

          http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-di...

          and here:
          '
          http://www.joyofbaking.com/flour.html

          I would also offer up that since the vast majority of recipes in the US are written with AP in mind, AP is going to work pretty darned well in most US recipes.

          European flours are a few points lower in protein than US flours, and they make gnarly-looking chocolate-chip cookies that don't hold together worth a darn, and don't have the slightly-chewy texture you're aiming for.

          I regularly bake everything from angel-food cake to whole-wheat bread, but AP is my go-to unless I'm making something that really, really will benefit from another flour.

      2. You don't mention it, but also consider the sugar. Your dark brown:white sugar ratio is going to affect texture considerably as well. In fact, I prefer 100% DBS. I also find the creaming step to be one of the most crucial parts of the process, something I gathered from the momofuku milk bar book. Proper, lengthy creaming results in a very airy-crispy cookie. Combined with the high DBS content, you get a crispy chewy cookie more often than not.

        Oh, and I use AP flour, just being careful to not overmix the flour to activate too much gluten.

        10 Replies
        1. re: medjool

          Think I'll try DBS also. You mention crispy and chewy together; do you mean crispy edges with chewy interiors? I don't really care much about "airy". And what about butter? I'm also under the impression that butter tends to make a crispier cookie. However, don't think I could bring myself to put trans fats from Crisco or the like into my body. Your thoughts on this re: butter. Thank you so much for the helpful input. I don't do too much baking; savory dishes are my thing, but at Christmastime, don't we all need chocolate chip cookies?

          1. re: Jessiet

            Crisco has been made without transfats for 7-8 years now.

            Vegetable shortening makes a cookie that stands up taller and stays softer in the middle.

            All butter gives you a flat, crispy cookie.

            I use half and half.

            1. re: sunshine842

              I'll post this again - it seems to be periodically necessary.

              The Toll House recipe is designed to produce flat, crisp cookies. If you want all butter, and tall, soft cookies, you need to adjust the proportion of eggs upwards. A good place to start is with 3/2 the proportion of eggs. Think of it this way: as you increase the amount of eggs, the dough becomes more and more like a cake mixture, until it in fact is. Cakes and cookies are fundamentally similar, the main difference being the egg ratio. (Yes this is simplifying things a bit but the principle is what I'm illustrating here). As you reduce the egg proportion, by contrast, you get flatter and crisper until with NO eggs what you have is shortbread. It's interesting: in almost all discussions of chocolate chip cookies, nobody ever seems to think of adjusting the egg proportion; that seems to be taken as a given.

              If you increase flour content cookies become breadier, closer to scones, rather as you might expect. Of course there's a critical point where the flour won't bind to either liquid or fat and the dough falls apart. What type of flour you use depends a lot on what you seek to achieve. Cake and pastry flour produce light, very tender cookies, dainty morsels that one might imagine on a high-society table. Bread flour will give a chewy cookie; it's possible to use bread flour btw, without hopelessly tough results; it's a good choice if you need to transport your cookies over a long distance. All-purpose types give a near-optimal compromise, unless you want really quite pronounced chew, in which case bread flour is the one of choice.

              Sugars increase chewiness but also toughness, as the result tends more and more towards candy. Decrease the sugar and the result becomes more like scones or (American) biscuits, bready in the same way that increasing the flour does (after all, it's the same sort of change in ratio). However the result would be richer than the corresponding change done by increasing flour.

              Increasing butter produces richer but much more delicate cookies. At some point the cookies become so delicate that they'll fall apart into crumbly bits (albeit rich, yummy bits)

              There's no reason to hold the Toll House recipe as sacrosanct; it's worth toying around with it to see what results you can get with various adjustments.

              1. re: AlexRast

                This was wonderfully informative. Thank you. The Toll House recipe has been anything but sacrosanct to me. I have read many, many articles and recipes on chocolate chip cookies, and only recently came back to the thought that perhaps the "original" is the one I'm actually looking for; it is the one that my mother always used. I am not looking for a high cookie, but rather one that has crispy edges and a chewy center. It sounds like this may be achieved a few ways. At this point, I'll be using AP flour, and leaving the recipe pretty much as is, with the exception of adding some extra bittersweet chocolate morsels, and slightly undercooking the cookies. I'll see what that produces. I'm also interested in adding some browned butter, but maybe I'll try that next!

                1. re: Jessiet

                  I've been making browned butter chocolate chip cookies lately and they are amazing. Really, really amazing.

                  I use this recipe as my base:

                  http://joythebaker.com/2013/06/brown-...

                  I tend to change up the add ins. If you like pecans, double what's called for here. I made a version with nutella "chips", pecans and dried cherries that were awesome. But they are fantastic as just a basic chocolate chip cookie, too.

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    I'm making these today. How can they be bad? I'll let you know how they turned out.

                    1. re: Jessiet

                      Great! Just a note that the baking time is perfect if you make a large 2 Tbsp cookie like she specifies. If you make a smaller cookie, definite reduce the time, otherwise you end up with a crunchy cookie, rather than a chewy inside with crispy edges.

                      1. re: TorontoJo

                        Noted. Going to add extra chocolate chips, too. She has some other CC cookie recipes that look good, too. Have you any of them?

            2. re: Jessiet

              I think what you want is the ny times choco chip cookies- crisp edges, chewy in the center, all butter. Aging the dough is really important, don't skip it:
              http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/din...

            3. re: medjool

              medjool, not overmixing was my take-away from the Milk cookbook, too. It makes a great cookie.

            4. White Lily AP

              3 Replies
              1. re: Uncle Bob

                I'm afraid all I have right now is King Arthur organic AP. I'll have to get some of the White Lily if I can in the future; don't know if it's available in the mid-Atlantic states. Thank you.

                1. re: Jessiet

                  KA will give you beautiful cookies.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Thank you. Hadn't tried it before; they were selling at a wholesale outlet and thought I'd try it. Use KA regular AP other times. I also use a local (Pennsylvania) soft wheat pastry four.

              2. Here's a list I put together of U.S. wheat flour types
                U.S. WHEAT FLOUR TYPES AND BEST USES:

                .
                Wheat Flour Protein:

                -Protein levels range from about 7% in pastry and cake flours to as high as about 15% in high-gluten bread flour.

                -Protein percentage indicates the amount of gluten available in the a given flour. Gluten is the substance which develops when the flour protein, which occurs naturally in wheat flour, is combined with liquid and kneaded.

                -Because gluten is able to stretch elastically, it is desirable to have a higher gluten flour for yeast-raised products, which have doughs that are stretched extensively; like pizza, most yeast breads, and bagels.

                -For cakes, pie crusts, cookies, biscuits, pancakes, waffles and pastry to be short and crumbly or tender, a lower protein flour is better. Also, in higher gluten flours, the gluten can overpower the chemical leaveners like baking powder or baking soda, causing the final baked goods to not rise as high.

                -Hard winter wheat, mainly grown in the north, has a higher protein and more gluten, 10% to 13%.
                Most northern and national brand all-purpose flours, bread flour and high-gluten flour is made from hard winter wheat.

                -Soft summer wheat, mainly grown in the south, has a lower protein and lower gluten, 8% to 10%
                Most cake, pastry and southern all-purpose flour is made from soft summer wheat.

                Bleaching flour does a couple of things, it whitens the flour and it also alters the flour protein causing it to form weaker gluten.
                Most cake flours are bleached.
                .
                --------------
                .
                FLOUR PROTEIN BY TYPES AND BRANDS (retail flour):
                .
                CAKE FLOUR - 7% to 9.4% protein
                Best Use: cakes, blending with national brands all-purpose flour to make pastry flour or Southern flour substitute.
                -King Arthur Queen Guinevere Cake Flour, 7.0%
                -King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend, 9.4%
                -Pillsbury Softasilk Bleached Cake Flour, 6.9%
                -Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
                -Swans Down Bleached Cake Flour, 7.1%
                .
                PASTRY FLOUR - 8 to 9% protein
                Best Use: biscuits, cookies, pastries, pancakes, pie crusts, waffles.
                -King Arthur Unbleached Pastry Flour, 8%
                -King Arthur Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, 9%
                .
                ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, SOUTHERN - 8 to 9% protein
                Best Use: biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, quick breads, waffles.
                -Martha White Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 9%
                -White Lily Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 8 to 9%
                .
                SELF-RISING FLOUR (flour, baking powder, salt) - 8 to 10.5% protein
                Best Use: biscuits, cookies, pancakes, muffins, quick breads, waffles.
                -Gold Medal Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 10.5%
                -King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour, 8.5%
                -Martha White Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.4%
                -Pillsbury Best Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.7%
                -Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
                -White Lily Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 8 to 9%
                .
                ALL PURPOSE BAKING MIXES (flour, shortening, baking powder, sugar, salt) - 6.25 to 12.5% protein
                Best Use: biscuits, cookies, coffee cakes, pancakes, quick breads, pastry, waffles
                -Arrowhead Mills All Purpose Baking Mix, 12.5%
                -Bisquick Original Baking Mix, 7.5%
                -Jiffy All Purpose Baking Mix, 6.25%
                -King Arthur Flour All Purpose Baking Mix, 10%
                -Pioneer Original Baking Mix, 7.5%
                .
                INSTANT FLOUR 10.5 to 12.6% protein
                Best Use: thicken gravies, sauces, and soups without lumps.
                -Gold Medal Wondra Quick Mixing Flour, 10.5%
                -Pillsbury Best Shake & Blend Flour, 12.6%
                .
                ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, BLEACHED & UNBLEACHED, NATIONAL BRANDS - 10 to 11.5% protein
                Best Use: makes average biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, pizza crusts, quick breads, waffles, yeast breads.
                -Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour, 10.5%
                -Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour, 10 to 11.5%
                -Pioneer All-Purpose Flour, 10%
                -White Wings All-Purpose Flour, 10%
                .
                ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, NORTHERN, BLEACHED & UNBLEACHED - 11.5 to 12% protein
                Best Use: cream puffs, puff pastry, yeast breads, pizza crusts.
                -Heckers and Ceresota All-Purpose Flour, 11.5 to 11.9 %
                -King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, 11.7%
                -Robin Hood All-Purpose Flour, 12.0%
                .
                BREAD FLOUR - 11.7 to 12.9% protein
                Best Use: traditional yeast breads, bread machine, pizza crusts, pasta.
                -Gold Medal Better For Bread, 12%
                -King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, 12.7%
                -Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, 12.9%
                -White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour, 11.7%
                .
                DURUM WHEAT (Semolina) 13 to 13.5% protein
                Best Use: Pasta.
                -Hodgson Mill Golden Semolina & Extra Fancy Durum Pasta Flour, 13.3%
                -King Arthur Extra Fancy Durum Flour, 13.3%
                .
                WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR - 12.9 to 14% protein
                Best Use: hearth breads, blending with other flours.
                -Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour, 13.3%
                -King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat Flour, 14%
                -King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, 14%
                -Pillsbury Best Whole Wheat Flour, 12.9%
                .
                HIGH-GLUTEN FLOUR 14 to 15% protein
                Best Use: bagels, pizza crusts, blending with other flours.
                -King Arthur Organic Hi-Gluten Flour, 14%
                -King Arthur Sir Lancelot Unbleached Hi-Gluten Flour, 14.2%
                .
                VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN FLOUR, Breadmaking Supplement - 65 to 77% protein
                Best Use: Added to raise gluten. Adds extra gluten to low-gluten whole grain flours, such as rye, oat, teff, spelt, or buckwheat.
                -Arrowhead Mills Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 65.0%
                -Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 75.0%
                -Gillco Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 75.0%
                -Hodgson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 66.6%
                -King Arthur Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 77.8%
                .
                --------------
                .
                Retail Flour Companies - Brands:
                -Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Milwaukie, Oregon -Bob's Red Mill
                -C.H. Guenther & Son Inc, San Antonio, Texas - Pioneer Flour, Pioneer Baking Mix, White Wings Flour
                -General Mills Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota - Bisquick, Gold Medal Flour, (sold US Pillsbury Flour , retains Pillsbury frozen goods)
                -Hain Celestial Group Inc, Boulder, Colorado - Arrowhead Mills
                -J.M. Smucker Company, Orrville, Ohio - Martha White Flour, Pillsbury Flour, Robin Hood Flour, White Lily Flour
                -King Arthur Flour Company, Norwich, Vermont - King Arthur Flour
                -Reily Foods Company, New Orleans, Louisiana - Swan's Down Cake Flour, Presto Self Rising Cake Flour
                -Uhlmann Company, Kansas City, Missouri - Heckers Flour, Ceresota Flour
                .
                --------------
                .
                To make self-rising flour, add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp table salt to each cup of flour.
                .
                To make a lower protein flour (similar to White Lily or Pastry flour), mix half cake flour with half all-purpose flour.
                .
                Another substitute for soft Southern flour, not quite as tender, for each cup of regular all-purpose flour, replace 2 Tablespoons of flour with cornstarch, mix well. (1 cup lightened all-purpose flour = 14 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsp cornstarch.)
                .
                ------
                Version 7-6-2013

                1 Reply
                1. re: Antilope

                  Oh my! This is amazing. I'm going to print this out and keep it on my cupboard door. Wonderful! I'll never be confused again. Thank you, thank you!

                2. Alton Brown's chewy CCC uses bread flour.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: jaykayen

                    Well, that's interesting, isn't it!? I suppose it would be tricky not to overwork the dough to activate the gluten. I'll have to read his recipe.

                    1. re: Jessiet

                      He uses bread flour for more gluten.

                    2. re: jaykayen

                      I use KA white whole wheat for just about all my baking, including CC cookies. However, all my adjustments are aimed toward a flat cookie with a crispy surface and edges but with chew on the interior.

                      Shirley O. Corriher's authoritative "Cookwise" has a priceless section on how to tinker with CC cookies. Presumably her later book, Bakewise, has the same info.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        Sounds like what I'm looking for. I don't care if they're flat. Exactly what is "white whole wheat"? Sounds like an oxymoron!

                        1. re: Jessiet

                          See KA website for WWWF info,

                          1. re: greygarious

                            Thank you. Different wheat, but still hard. That makes sense.

                          2. re: Jessiet

                            "Whole wheat" is in general a liar's term (in that it is absolutely not regulated).
                            If you actually want whole wheat flour, look for the words "graham flour"
                            Otherwise, what you generally get is high fiber -- anything sellable for more profit is removed, and you get the dregs.

                            1. re: Chowrin

                              I did not know that!

                              1. re: Chowrin

                                Graham flour is just one *type* of whole-wheat flour, and is not an automatic substitution.

                                1. re: Chowrin

                                  While the use of 'whole wheat' to describe bread can mean all kinds of things, I have read (prior to your posts) that the flour can be 'partial'. What's your source?

                                  'White whole wheat' is a just as well defined as 'graham' in the flour business. The difference is in type of wheat (white v red) and coarseness of the grind. King Arthur and BobsRedMill give good descriptions of both. Items baked with WWF will be closer in taste and texture to white flour. The coarser 'red' bran of graham affects both texture and taste.

                          3. I was just researching this! My favorite recipe uses about a 1:2 ratio of bread flour (for more chew) to AP flour. The NY Times/Jacques Torres/Levain bakery/Alton Brown "The Chewy" recipes, which are known for producing large, chewy cookies, use all bread flour. And of course traditional recipes use AP flour or a mix of whole wheat and AP flour. I like the mix -- I think my ideal is close to half and half bread flour and AP flour, with some white whole wheat flour making up the rest.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Pia

                              Seems as though great minds think alike! Don't want the tall, all bread flour cookies. Maybe a mix of half and half would be good. Thank you.

                            2. I just made a fabulous, chewy, soft Chocolate Chip cookie that has 2 teaspoons cornstarch for 1 1/2 cups AP flour + 3/4 cup brown sugar + 1/4 cup reg sugar.

                              Fantastic recipe!!!! Thick & chewy & soft. Can't wait to bake some more tonight. Wonder how they'll taste after a 24 hour rest in my fridge.

                              1. I always stick with the Toll House recipe but as I recall from perusing a good many recipes, a small amount (as I recall, about ½ tsp.) of corn syrup added to the dough will give you a softer center while maintaining the outside's crispness. If you're loath to keep Karo on hand, Wholesome Sweeteners has an organic option. Stick with AP flour unless you want something scone-like (I'm also a big King Arthur fan). No need to consider overworking the gluten unless you're planning on mixing the ingredients for a rather long time (which would mimic kneading).

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: MacGuffin

                                  So many great suggestions--thank you! I don't have a problem with Karo.

                                  1. re: Jessiet

                                    :) And don't forget, the amount used is fractional.

                                2. My chewy tweaks for chocolate chip cookies : start with the toll house recipe use 1 cup dark brown sugar & 1/2 cup granulated sugar instead of 3/4 cup of each, butter flavored crisco shortening instead of butter, and don't over cook. Just something else I do ,probably laziness, I put the salt and soda in with the creamed stuff instead of the flour. Only one bowl needed this way. I have been using this method for 50 years and never had a bad batch, yummmmmmy

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: salligator

                                    Tried and true; anything that never fails sounds great! Thank you!

                                    1. re: salligator

                                      These are by far the best I've made so far:

                                      http://www.food.com/recipe/perfect-ch...

                                      I use 1/2c Dk brown sugar and 1/4c light brown (instead of 3/4 dk.) and I don't brown the butter; just melt it. Use Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chips. You'll never make Tollhouse again.

                                      1. re: moviefan

                                        Try browning the butter. It makes a HUGE difference.

                                    2. King Arthur AP is the best, another tip for perfect CC cookies. Use 1 less egg white (whites make crispier cookies) and this may seem tedious, but makes all the difference. Brown the butter, then dissolve in the sugars, vanilla & eggs. But you must let this cool before mixing in flour and chips (otherwise if it's too hot your chips will melt. Bake at 350 for 3 min, turn 3 min and pull... your pan will finish cooking while they cool... Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (use Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips for the best taste- not chips from chocolate liqueur, but REAL chocolate). Best of luck

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: davepotwin

                                        Thank you--think I'll try this one! Happy New Year!

                                      2. I use a bread flour/whole wheat flour combination with brown sugar. Took me years to land on this combination but it gives the combination of chewy, substance, and flavor we all like.

                                        16 Replies
                                        1. re: ziggylu

                                          http://recipewise.co.uk/aberdeenshire...
                                          Aberdeenshire parkin is a Scottish cookie made with oats. Scottish oats are coarse ground oats, finer than cut oats. I approximate them by briefly chopping rolled oats in a coffee mill. These aren't chocolate chip, but they are nice and chewy.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            I thought parkin was Yorkshire gingerbread (I have a nice recipe but haven't made it yet): http://www.food.com/recipe/yorkshire-... . I guess Scotia has its own. As you see, you can use either porridge oats (what we call "oatmeal" here in the States) or steel-cut (e.g. McCann's Irish) or stone-ground (e.g. Hamlin's Scottish) oats. And for the record, raisins in oatmeal cookies? Feh! Give me chips and nuts. :(=)

                                            1. re: MacGuffin

                                              recipewise has the Yorkshire parkin, which as you say is a gingerbread. This biscuits (cookies) have similar ingredients (oats, spices, molasses). These aren't very sweet.

                                              The coarseness of your oats makes a big difference in texture, especially in cookies that have less moisture and cooking time. I found that cut oats were too coarse, leaving hard chunks. When I process rolled oats, I am trying to approximate the Scottish oats that Bob's Red Mill sells.

                                              For chocolate chip cookies, using 2/3 white whole wheat, and 1/3 Scottish oats, might make a hearty, chewy cookie (without yelling 'I am an oatmeal cookie').

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                I actually have some fine stone-milled oatmeal a friend brought back from the UK that I plan to use for parkin . . . when I get around to making it (that recipe I posted has been in my Food recipe box since they were Recipezaar). Mind you, I didn't want oatmeal that fine but I guess every cloud has a silver lining. :) I'm thinking they'll produce an authentic result, especially since I have fairly easy access to both golden syrup and treacle.

                                                I love real oatmeal cookies with chips!

                                            2. re: paulj

                                              http://recipewise.co.uk/perkins-parki...

                                              Perkins - another UK oat cookie, this one with less oats and more sugar.

                                              ANZAC biscuits are another chewy cookie, with oats and coconut.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                I find the reference to "cooking fat" in one of the comments deliciously vague. :) I wonder if it translates to "shortening of your choice?"

                                                1. re: MacGuffin

                                                  not necessarily shortening -- could be lard, could be butter, could be margarine....

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    In the 1924 edition (online) of the Glasgow Cookery book

                                                    http://archive.org/stream/cu319240006...

                                                    the fat is lard. (It's in public domain so I can quote it in full)

                                                    PARKINS.

                                                    INGREDIENTS.

                                                    i lb. Oatmeal. J teaspoonful Spice.

                                                    i lb. Flour. 4 teaspoonful Cmnamon.

                                                    2 ozs. Lard. I teaspoonful Ginger.

                                                    3 ozs. Syrup. Small teaspoonful

                                                    3 ozs. Sugar. Bi-carbonate of Soda,

                                                    i Egg. Tew Almonds.

                                                    Mix dry ingredients. Rub in lard. Add syrup and
                                                    egg. Mix to a fairly stifE dough. Place on a greased
                                                    tin in teaspoonfuls — placing well apart. Put J almond
                                                    on top of each biscuit. Bake in moderately hot oven
                                                    about 20 minutes.

                                                    The blurb for the update book describes it as:
                                                    "The Glasgow Cookery Book" started its life in 1910 as the textbook of The Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science - fondly dubbed the Do. (or Dough) School by Glasgow citizens - and was put together by the school's staff to document the recipes they taught in class.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      "Shortening OF YOUR CHOICE": http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/... (note "best answer"). I was aware that this was a UK recipe and of UK culinary semantics when I responded. I know that shortening refers to Crisco and the like (remember Snowdrift?) here in the States.

                                                      1. re: MacGuffin

                                                        I was aware of the UK origins, as well, and am quite aware that while it is available at UK supermarets, the UK doesn't use a whole lot of Crisco-type vegetable shortening -- and used even less of it in 1975, which is the date of the relevant comment.

                                                        Thus my answer "*could* be lard, butter, or margarine", where "or" indicates any of the options listed, or some combination thereof, should the reader be so inclined.

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          They used a heckuva lot of "marg." And the reason I followed up with the link was to support that "shortening of your choice" could possibly include (but we don't know for sure, hence the "vague reference) lard, butter, margarine or something along the lines of Crisco.

                                                          1. re: MacGuffin

                                                            *confused*

                                                            isn't that what I said?

                                                            "not necessarily shortening -- could be lard, could be butter, could be margarine...."

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              My point was they're ALL shortening. My initial "shortening" comment was meant to be understood as "'UK solid-at-room-temperature fat used for cooking' of your choice," supported in the follow-up link. I was using "shortening" in the generic rather than specific sense which, incidentally, is something those of us with dietary restrictions became aware of a long time ago. If an ingredient list for a prepared food item includes "shortening," chances are better than excellent that it includes suet and/or lard. That's why labels now specifically state "vegetable shortening."

                                                              1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                I really don't understand why you're continuing to try to force an argument on someone who bloody agrees with you.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  You did post "not necessarily shortening" and then proceed to cite butter, etc., as alternatives, didn't you? Apologies for not understanding but I took that literally.

                                                                  1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                    "Not necessarily" means that *might* be shortening (aka hydrolized vegetable oil, aka Crisco et al), but, well, um, not necessarily.

                                                                    One possibility amongst others.

                                            3. http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2013/12...

                                              This is both fun and informative.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                Ruhlman has a chart of how various ingredients and quantities affect cookie qualities.

                                                http://ruhlman.com/2011/05/cookulus/

                                                http://ruhlman.com/wp-content/uploads...

                                              2. Use whatever flour you have on hand.

                                                In the grand scheme of things it just doesn't matter. Regardless of the type of flour you use, it is the ratio of ingredients (eg flour, sugar, fat, eggs, etc), the amount of kneading, and temp that will ultimately determine the texture of your cookie.

                                                Focusing on just one ingredient is a bit of a short-sighted way to control the outcome of your baked goods.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  Using a different flour does affect the final result, even though other factors affect it so it does matter if you want a certain type of cookie. An experienced baker can play w/ other ingredients. Saying there are other factors so one doesn't matter is like not showering for a date because there are other things that make a great date. It's a pretty important component!

                                                  A quick answer to the OP: the more protein, the more texture, the less, the cakier so from less to more: cake, ap bleached, ap unbleached, bread. King Arthur flour has more protein than others. I usually combine flour for the result I want and will also replace some w/ cornstarch.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    I think you misunderstand.

                                                    What I am saying is that the type of flour used does not matter in determining the final texture of the cookie because no matter the kind of flour used (high gluten or protein or whatever) the ratio of the other ingredients can be adjusted so that the final baked cookie will either be chewy, dense, crisp or whatever.

                                                    To take the date analogy. Asking what flour to use without knowing what other ingredients and their ratios, is like asking whether this blue scarf looks good. Good with what? With a lime green blouse? With a sequenced dress? A string bikini?

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      I think we're somewhat of the same mindset--yes, it matters but it takes an experienced baker to know how to adjust the other ingredients. If someone is just following the Tollhouse recipe and asking about flour, as the OP is, it matters what the flour is.

                                                      A better date analogy would be, "Beach date. String bikini, speedo or grandma suit?"

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        A better date analogy would be, "Beach date. String bikini, speedo or grandma suit?"
                                                        _____

                                                        Birthday suit.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          LOL, crossed my mind to add that but I was trying to be more appropriate...

                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                        What is a sequenced dress? Part of it now, part later?

                                                  2. I use AP. Also, check out the CC Cookie recipe from Not Without Salt. They really are spectacular.

                                                    1. I have found that using 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening works well... and I sub in some oat flour for the AP flour. Butter melts at a lower temp than shortening- so, you get the flavor of butter and a chewy center, while using some shortening helps to keep the cookie "thicker," therefore allowing the center to be "less cooked" through. This results in a thin crispy surface and a thicker chewy center. I also like to add in toffee chips- they give little pockets of chewy "salty-sweet" bits... no one can figure that one out!