You know....from the back of the Nestle's Chocolate Chip bag? Because she anticipated the almost frenzied response she would get from us, my mother always tried to bake them in complete secrecy. But we always knew. Always.
"Ruth Wakefield invented the Toll House brand of chocolate chip cookies. Ruth Graves Wakefield graduated from the Framingham State School, Department of Household Arts in 1924. (I think that's the same as Home Economics) She worked as a dietitian and lectured on food, until, together with her husband she bought a tourist lodge named the Toll House Inn.
Ruth Wakefield prepared the recipes for the meals served to the guests at the Inn and gained local notoriety for her desserts. One of her favorite recipes was for Butter Drop Dough cookies. The recipe called for the use of baker's chocolate and one day Ruth found herself without the needed ingredient. Instead of panicking, she substituted a semi-sweet chocolate bar cut up into bits. However, unlike the baker's chocolate the chopped up chocolate bar did not melt completely, the small pieces only softened. As it so happened the chocolate bar had been a gift from Andrew Nestle of the Nestle Chocolate Company. As the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe became popular, sales of Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate bar increased. Andrew Nestle and Ruth Wakefield struck a deal. Nestle would print the Toll House Cookie recipe on its packaging and Ruth Wakefield would have a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate."
Or so the story goes. Betcha didn't know all of that, did you??? Hopefully this topic will come up while you're playing Trivial Pursuit and you will blow everyone away with your extraordinary facts about Ruth Wakefield and the Toll House Cookie.
I love them, really I do. But one day I found this recipe and ever since that time I've wanted to test its claim that it is the best chocolate chip cookie. Ever. Jacques Torres developed this recipe and published it in the New York Times. Among other things, he is a pastry genius. The key to this recipe is to refrigerate the cookie dough for a minimum of 24 hours before baking the cookies. The article suggests that allowing the dough to "rest" make the cookies more moist, therefore more flavorful. This is Jacques.
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds (2 1/2 cups) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Using a mixer, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar about 5 minutes on medium speed.
Don't forget to add the eggs. The eggs always get the "bums rush" in cookie recipes. Speaking of "bums", I'll have to remember this particular photo as I'm taste-testing these cookies. Would it be counter-productive to eat these cookies while using the Elliptical? Just asking.
Add the chocolate pieces and incorporate them into the batter with a large spatula making sure not to break up the larger pieces.
Where was I? Ah yes. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown. About 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool and repeat with remaining dough.
I placed a dozen per baking sheet and found that by using the scoop, I got a consistent result every time.
Jacques Torres's Chocolate Chip Cookies are really delicious and well worth the few extra steps. However, the 24 hour "hold" kind of threw me. I kept throwing glances at the refrigerator all day as if waiting for it to explode. That was one of the toughest 24 hours of my life. The anticipation was excruciating. But are they the "best chocolate chip cookie. Ever?"
I really had to think about it. And taste test. With milk. Cold milk. It was a roller coaster ride of emotion until I finally reached my decision.
Mr. Torres, you bake a mean cookie, sir. My hat is off to you. Your talents are unsurpassed, your ingredients are sublime.
What it comes down to for me is just this: The differences between these two cookies are unremarkable yet immeasurable. They are so similar yet they are still worlds apart.