The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2

This thorough guide to chocolate chip cookies shows you how different ingredients and techniques produce different chocolate chip cookies. See part 1 here.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com

Exciting post today! I’m sharing part 2 of my Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookie series with you.

I used the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe as my control and made little changes and variations in techniques and ingredients to show you how they affect the cookie.

I halved and adapted the original Tollhouse recipe and that is what you see here. I kept everything the same through each recipe test, changing one key thing to see its effect and photographing the results for you. The first post was such a huge success that I knew I had to write another one with different ingredients and techniques tested. I listened to all of your requests for what you would like to see and tested many of them to share the results with you today. Keep reading to find out how dark nonstick baking pans, cornstarch, egg yolks, cake flour, bread flour, and shortening affect chocolate chip cookies.

Tools, Ingredients, and Technqiues Used:
-OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop
-Chicago Metallic sheet pans
-Silpat baking mats or unbleached parchment paper
-KitchenAid 5-quart Stand Mixer
-Oven thermometer
-King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and King Arthur Cake and Bread flour when tested
-Fine sea salt
-Light brown sugar
-Large eggs
-Unsalted butter at a cool room temperature and Crisco vegetable shortening when tested
-350°F oven and 10 minute baking time for each test

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com

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CONTROL RECIPE - Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: About 22 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces or 142 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, beating well to combine. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls and place onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com

Dark Nonstick Baking Sheet:

Instead of using a Chicago Metallic sheet pans with a Silpat baking mat, I baked the control recipe directly on a dark nonstick baking sheet to test the differences between baking sheets. As you can see, the dark nonstick sheet significantly increased the browning on the bottom of the cookies. The cookies browned on the bottom more quickly, causing them to spread a little less. They also had more of a crunch due to the browning. If you have a problem with your cookies burning on the bottom, it may be due to your baking sheet. Luckily these ones didn’t burn and were quite tasty. However, I prefer to use unlined baking sheets to ensure my cookies won’t burn.
The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com

Cornstarch:

Added 2 teaspoons cornstarch to the cookie dough along with the dry ingredients. The cornstarch cookies were more pale in color but had crisp edges and very soft and slightly gooey interiors. I was surprised by the amount of spread these cookies had, I thought they’d be thicker considering cornstarch is a thickener. Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction has a very popular cornstarch chocolate chip cookie recipe that calls for melted butter and chilling the dough so I wonder if one or both of those steps creates the best effect with the cornstarch. Sally’s cookie recipe also has a higher ratio of flour to butter compared to the Nestle Tollhouse recipe. I’m thinking these differences must produce a thicker cookie.
The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com

Extra Egg Yolk:

In addition to the whole egg called for in the control recipe, I added an extra egg yolk to this test. This produced ultra soft cookies with a little bit of a chew. Egg yolk is full of fat which acts as a tenderizer. This allows you to add softness to your cookies without having to add more butter. I think the extra liquid added to the dough from the yolk increased the cookie’s spread. If you want to add more softness to your cookies with an extra egg yolk, you may want to add a little more flour to create a thicker cookie.
The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com

Cake flour:

I swapped out all the all-purpose flour for 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (127 grams if you’re interested in the weight) and the results were interesting. These cookies turned very brown and looked like they would be crispy but were actually very soft. Jared actually called these cookies “mushy.” They spread out fairly flat.
The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com

Bread flour:

I swapped out the all-purpose flour for 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour (142 grams) and the resulting cookies were thick and ultra chewy. Jared and I both favored these cookies over many of the other trials. If you like thick, chewy cookies I would try substituting at least half of the all-purpose flour in your favorite cookie recipe with bread flour. It totally makes sense now why Alton Brown uses bread flour in his “The Chewy” cookie recipe.
The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com

Shortening:

Okay, I had a LOT of requests to test of the differences between butter and shortening. I don’t use shortening in my house, I don’t like it. BUT I went out and got some Crisco just for you guys since you all asked so nicely! Plus I was quite curious about what kind of cookie shortening would produce since so many of you swear by using all shortening or half shortening half butter. For this trial I swapped out all of the butter with an equal amount of vegetable shortening and the resulting cookies were more pale and had a thicker texture that was crisp at the edges and soft in the middle. I thought these cookies would be super greasy but they weren’t. Tasting these shortening cookies made me realize that many bakeries and chain restaurants that serve chocolate chip cookies must use shortening because they had a similar taste and texture to those cookies. I was surprised to find these cookies didn’t taste super artificial or plastic-like, however they didn’t have that crave-worthy butter flavor either. The texture was fantastic but they definitely lacked flavor.

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2 from HandletheHeat.com
Here are all the tests from Part 2 side-by-side for easy comparison.

Which test surprised you the most? Will you use any of the information here to alter your family’s chocolate chip cookie recipe? Let me know if there are any more ingredients or techniques you’d like me to test or any other types of food or recipes you’d like me to create an Ultimate Guide about.

See chocolate chip cookie recipes I created based off the results to this experiment:

Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Skinny Chocolate Chip Cookies made with whole wheat flour and no butter!
Skinny Chocolate Chip Cookies

   

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88 Responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part 2”

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    Cassie | Bake Your Day — August 11, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I prefer bread flour in my cookies and have been making them (mostly) that way since I started making cookie recipes from the Milk Bar cookbook. I adore that texture!

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    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs — August 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Bread flour cookies are my favourite, their texture is flawless! I never went back to all-purpose since I tried them ;-)
    The shortening cookies look amazing too, but I hate that stuff and LOVE the flavour that butter adds. Did those taste buttery or…? I’m curious too!
    Thanks for writing these posts, they’re super helpful xxx

    • Tessa replied: — August 11th, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

      That’s a great question! I’m going to edit the post to include more thoughts on the taste of the shortening cookies. To my surprise they did not taste noticeably artificial or plastic. However, they had no buttery flavor which made them fall a little flat. The texture was great, though, so I can definitely see why people use half shortening half butter in cookies!

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    Caroline — August 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Love your site. Love this post. Thank you for all the fantastic recipes!!

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    Tieghan — August 11, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Wow, Tessa! This is amazing and must of taken so much time! Thank you so much, it was so fun to read about all the differences. I have no idea which one to try first. Maybe the bread flour or cornstarch, not the crisco though since I don’t like it either!

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    Bryn — August 12, 2013 at 6:38 am

    So…which cookies were your favorite? After both posts, which combo of ingredients/techniques will you use to make your everyday cookie?

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    Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts — August 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    The ones with bread flour look perfect!! I’ll have to try that next time..

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    Averie @ Averie Cooks — August 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Love these cookie posts! Bread flour, cornstarch, butter vs shortening, Silpats…all so interetsing! I used to use bread flour in my cookies more but they were getting almost too thick and chewy (if that’s possible) so have gone back to King Arthur AP along with cornstarch and that’s my fave combo. And always, always a Silpat. The NYT recipes uses cake flour and also some Christina Tosi/Momofuku recipes call for cake flour – I am not a fan and agree with Jared re the mushy :)

    Thanks for doing these posts, Tessa!

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    Marcie — August 13, 2013 at 4:47 am

    I am a fan of butter myself but I did start using the butter flavor shortening sticks and replacing 1/2 the butter with it. It makes the perfect cookie!

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    Tina — August 13, 2013 at 8:20 am

    After many, many years of disappointing, crispy chocolate chip cookies, I started using Alton Brown’s recipe. That is now my go-to recipe. It’s a bit more time consuming, but worth every minute. He may be nerdy and a bit hokey, but the guy knows his stuff! I have discovered, however, that the original Toll House recipe on the Nestle bag does make a great, lacy, toffee cookie, almost like a tuile, but not quite as delicate. Make the dough as directed, add toffee chips (preferably the ones without chocolate) instead of chocolate chips and keep at relatively warm room temp. Bake as the recipe directs, on a sheet lined with parchment (no silpat) and the resulting cookie will be very thin, super crisp and have the most amazing flavor…even better if you drizzle melted chocolate over them.

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    See — August 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you so much for all the variations in both Parts 1 & 2. I’ve read them along with all of the comments to both postings. However, in your shortening variation did you use pure vegetable shortening? Did you try the Crisco butter flavor vegetable shortening & if so, what was the result & your opinion, please? Regarding the cookie sheet used, have you made any cookies on the air-layered type? If so, what was your result, opinion, &/or any tips using an air-layer sheet? I tried using an air-layer sheet a few times to make gingerbread cookie pieces for gingerbread houses. It baked much differently than my old cookie sheets (cheap, dark sheets, NOT non-sick coated). It took longer to bake & I had a very hard time telling when the cookie pieces were completely baked.

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    Row — August 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Awesome! I really liked part one of the cookie guide, for I had a better idea how changing different ingredients would affect the end result. Now I’ll have a few more elements to play around with. Thanks! :)

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    Emma — August 14, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Love seeing all the variations! I wonder if a comparison of baking surfaces would be worth the time… I only use baking stones for my cookies which always turn out flawlessly on the bottom and never burn. (You have to work quickly though in putting new cookies on and getting them in the oven since the pan stays hot for so long.) I see someone else asked about the airbake pans too. I’d be curious to know if there was an “ideal pan” to use after settling on an “ideal recipe”. Thanks for your hard work in making all the cookies… and your willingness to eat them all…I’m sure that was a huge sacrifice! :o)

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    Elisabeth — August 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I’ve been making chocolate chip cookies using butter flavor Crisco for several years and love the texture. This was a great post – I never knew how different the results would be just by changing a few of the recipe components and the cooking utensils.

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    Kim — August 16, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Just found. Our blog and loved reading about the cookie experiment. I prefer softer chewy cookies. Thank for all your work…and sharing the information.

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    Andi — August 19, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Thanks so much for these excellent visual baking experiments. You are a kitchen scientist and I really loved reading both parts 1&2. The Tollhouse recipe has always been a quick and easy go to when I need some cookies and I know next time I bake them I will have a lot to think about!!

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    Jeanette Nyberg — August 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I’m amazed by you. Thanks for doing all of this strenuous research for our benefit :) I’m excited to try the +baking soda and baking powder recipe, and the bread flour recipe.

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    charlie — August 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    This is fantastic! I wonder what some of hte combinations would be like. Have you tried the bread flour with the extra egg yolk? Or thought about doing this for cakes or other desserts like muffins and cupcakes?

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    Shanna — August 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    When I use the Nestle Tollhouse recipe I use half butter and half shortening. I also add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour than the recipe calls for. I get perfect looking and tasting cookies every time. I seem to have trouble with them raising when I use all butter. No matter what consistency the butter is at.

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    Leslie — August 22, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I would love to know your opinion regarding different brands of vanilla. I use the “Maybe Mrs. Fields” recipe, using unsalted butter, Gold Medal unbleached flour and the vanilla from Williams-Sonoma. Whenever I use grocery store or Costco vanilla, it seems that the cookies have much less flavor, but the WS vanilla is so expensive!

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    Candace Moegling — August 22, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I didn’t read through all of these posts, but I thought I would say that I do use shortening in my cookies, but I use the butter shortening – so that adds a lot of flavor. I really enjoyed reading about the differences in the cookies, both part 1 and part 2. Thanks!

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    Marta Nelson — August 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Some of my favorite old time cookie recipes (before 1950) use shortening. One of my grandsons is allergic to dairy, so I’ve been using lots more of the butter-flavored Crisco and like the results.

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    Misha — August 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Have you tried with KA white whest flour?

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    Kristen — August 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    This as well as your Part 1 has been extremely informative!! I also use the Nestle Toll House recipe and add French Vanilla pudding mix. It gives it great flavor. I make my cookies very large and therefore have to turn down the temp which makes cooking times a lot longer. Two years ago I had made a great cookie with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts for my youngest son who does not like regular chocolate chips and have not been able to remake it since. My cookies always seem to turn out different each time and I never knew why. This past Christmas I made a bunch as presents for family and they came out awful! Flat, extremely crispy and pretty much burnt. I realize now I used melted butter instead of softened and that made all the difference. I will refer to your blog from now on and pass it along. Thanks so much for all the tips and putting everything in one place!!

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    KJ — August 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks for doing all of this, I see you answered the question I posed in part one (didn’t know about part 2 at the time). How cool of you to do all this and baking science is fun, isn’t it? Especially the results….keep up the good work!

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    Carolyn — August 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    You rock sista! Taking the time to do all these different recipes on my favorite food in the world makes you a hero in my book.
    The comment about the vanilla goes along with what I was thinking in if you changed the quality of the ingredients to all organic I bet they would be fantastic! Using organic butter, chips without high fructose corn syrup, organic vanilla and egss etc. I am going to try it with organic bread flour if I can find it. I am guessing it will be the best cookie I ever baked.
    Thanks for the cookie love! Wish I was around to taste them all, I bet that was fun! Happy Baking!

    PS Another cool test would be a “healthier version” less fat and calories that still tasted yummy.

    Thanks for the great post!

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    Elaine — August 27, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Great post(s)! I would LOVE to see an ultimate guide to brownies — what’s the difference between using different flours, cocoa vs chocolate chips, 2/3/4 eggs, baking time, etc etc. Seems like all the recipes out there say “best brownies ever!” but they are all different!

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    Amy — August 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    This is great – thank you for doing all that work! I’ve been dissatisfied with my last few batches – now I know why! I’m going to try the bread flour one. I just read about how much healthier grinding your own wheat is (my grocery store has bulk wheat and a grinder – as easy as doing coffee) … since that makes a kind of heavier texture, do you think it will be the equivalent of bread flour?

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    Joanne - Inspired Taste — August 28, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Wow, thank you for this. So helpful! I thought the difference between all-purpose and bread flour was interesting. Thinking I might try a combination of both next time. Awesome post :)

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    Debbi — August 29, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Fascinating and helpful! Would love to see you experiment with gluten free flours!

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    Alice Lomax — August 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I have a problem making chocolate chip cookies because they need to be gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free. I use Bob’s Red Mill All-purpose Flour, Earth Balance Butter and I use 1 tbsp. cornstarch + 3 tbsp. water for each egg in the recipe. The cookies are very flat and remind me of lace cookies. I do use all brown sugar. Any suggestions for a better cookie? Thanks for your help!

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    Lisa — September 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you for *all* your hard work!! The chilled dough seemed to make a world of difference just in the initial recipe! I see great ideas with the bread flour, and I liked how the half Crisco ended up as well. I have a *very* old recipe from my husbands grandmother that uses liquid oil. Makes a very interesting cookie, quite different in texture but very pleasing.

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    Diane — September 8, 2013 at 10:41 am

    this is great!! I teach a high school “Bake Shop” class and have been looking for lesson ideas when we didnt have access to the lab … I’m gonna use this to put together a webquest assignment for my students! THANK YOU!!

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    Chelsea — September 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I use a combination on bread flour and cake flour and also refrigerate dough for 24-48 hours. My cookies are AMAZING! So soft!!

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    Deb — September 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Great post and thanks for trying all these methods. I use mostly WW flour. Did you ever try that? I will never ever use shortening again due to nasties but it’s interesting. Did you try carob chips? Due to nasties that’s all I use as I want as many chemicals as possible from my life. B flour is more expensive, at least last time I looked, so go with unbleached always and usually at least half WW flour. makes a dessert much healthier. I only use SS pans never aluminum and not parchment sheets as that’s money I don’t have. Non-stick aren’t healthy so I don’t use those either. I bet everyone at your home loved the cookies you made. I haven’t had a reg. Tollhouse cookie for many years and I resist temptation but with real ingedients I think you have me in the notion of making some with healthier ingredients. Thank for doing all the cookies and posting.

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    Joanne Swain — September 14, 2013 at 5:29 am

    I worked in a middle school with special needs students and when it came to science fair projects I would encourage them to do cooking experiments. I was always puzzled when the teacher thought that cooking was an unusual topic. The kitchen is the first ‘science lab’ children experience and your project is perfect example of that.. I wish I had your site to use as a demo a few years ago.

    • Tessa replied: — September 15th, 2013 @ 8:56 am

      You make such a great point! It’s too bad most students don’t learn anything about cooking in school.

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    Lisa Stevens — September 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    This post and Part 1 are AMAZING! I have always wanted to do this exact experiment with cookies. I make my cookies from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook recipe book and I always get requests to make them and share the recipe. From comparing my recipe to the Toll House, I think the biggest difference is Magnolia’s use more baking soda. I also swear by parchment paper and an electric oven. Thank you for taking the time to do this and share your results. So excited to have discovered this on Pinterest, I am adding you to my daily blog list!

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    Laura — October 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Loved your part 1 and part 2 – I was just telling my son last night about the different ways I was going to try for making “perfect” chocolate chip cookies but now you have done the work for me! I have done half/half butter/crisco but it wasn’t “perfect” so now I am going to use bread flour and refridgerate the dough a day – from your pics/description I think that’s what I was missing.

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    Barb — October 5, 2013 at 9:31 am

    These 2 posts about chocolate chip cookies are fantastic! Thanks for taking the time to work through this. I knew about a few of the modifications but what you’ve done is a great resource. I’ve just found your website and have only seen these but I’m intrigued by what other gems reside here!

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    Marian — October 6, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I use both white, and brown sugars, and I use Crisco in my cookies, and my fans love them, I have a special guy who will not eat anyone else’s choc chips except mind. I don’t like the butter flavor, so it works for me. Thanks for sharing, I always wondered why the cookies came out so different.

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    Holly — October 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Love all the comparison and the images. If you do a part 3, I’d love to see how replacing some of the all-purpose flour with almond flour would affect the taste!

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    Kathy — October 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I love both these posts….I have been contemplating trying different cookies batches with different flours. For example King Arthur, Gold Medal, Walmart brand and Aldi. I am wondering if there is a good reason to spend money on the higher priced ingredients.

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    Tisha — October 7, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I love all the pictures and comparisions you made between the varying . My request for a part 3 would be to see how you can get a soft, fluffy cookie (that looks kind of like the shortening cookie) using coconut oil/butter. I have been working on this off and on at random for about a year but would love to see what you find. I, too, use a King Arthur Flour (all purpose and just tried Bread Flour last night). My next goal is to make sure I use both kinds of sugar.

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    Pamela Stetter — October 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Is dark brown sugar, or partially dark brown sugar an option?

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    Laura — October 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I love this! So fun to bake and try out all of these I bet. I have used the butter flavored crisco recipe for years. It uses a few tbsp of milk and brown sugar. Rich flavored cookie deliciousness. I personally love a cruchy edge with a soft center, semi sweet chip cookie. I throw in pecans when I am feeling nutty too. I always bake mine on stoneware. They always come out perfectly.

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    lisa — October 23, 2013 at 7:03 am

    LOVE all the variations! It’s interesting how cookie preference scan be so different. Can’t wait to try some of them out.

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    Jill — October 26, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Awesome post! Thank you very much. You must have chocolate chips chasing you in your sleep.

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    John Burke — October 28, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Tessa, this is impressive and wonderful – thanks. I lean towards the thicker and chewier end of the spectrum, so your extra-flour and bread-flour recipes interest me. In return, let me share some variations I’ve worked over the years (separately and in combinations with each other):

    – replace about half the all-purpose with whole-wheat flour and bump up the leavening a smidge (i.e. an extra 1/8th teaspoon/.625mL or so); this gives a wonderful nutty wheat flavor to the cookies and a bit more crumble to the texture

    - instead of chocolate chips, chop up good Mexican drinking chocolate

    - replace the vanilla with 1/8th teaspoon almond extract

    - replace the brown sugar with maple sugar

    Cheers!

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    Sonyaloveskorn — November 3, 2013 at 4:43 am

    When you swap out butter for crisco you should use butter flavored crisco not regular. Blaaa no wonder the crisco cookies didn’t have much flavor. I always use butter flavor crisco when my cookies call for butter n they’re gobbled up like they’re going out of style. Lol

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    Hilda Looyenga — November 3, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I am so glad to see these tests that you did. I just glanced over all the the information. But will sit down and digest it at a later date when I have more time.

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    Dawn Haley — November 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    How about using dark brown sugar, butter flavored shortening, or putting in a tablespoon of lemon juice. I’m not sure of the science behind the lemon juice but I would think it would bring something to the party. I use the lemon juice in my cookies and I think it ups the chewy and softness.

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    Cindy Kanak — November 8, 2013 at 8:10 am

    I will try the bread flour. I have found the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made have been refridgerated for at least 24 hours. Thanks for the info…what a great testing idea.

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    Kim Wood — November 14, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I’d like to see the results of this test at high altitude now! :) I live in Denver and no matter what recipe I use, all cookies go flat as soon as you take them out of the oven. They usually lose their chewiness once they cool off too. I’ve tried adding more flour, a little extra liquid, more baking soda, etc. Just tried the bread flour substitute, same thing happened. Any recommendations? Just curious, but do they touch on high altitude baking in your culinary studies?

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    Bob — November 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    My mom always used the full Tollhouse recipe, but with only one egg instead of two. I’ve never thought to do a comparison like this, but very nice job! It’s very informative.

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    Kari — November 16, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    I WILL USE THIS! I loved my mom’s cookies, but my sister can’t even mimic it… sorry to say. I will try out this! Thanks a lot!
    :D

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    Muna — November 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    May sound weird, but I have been using cooking oil , corn or canola instead of the butter, and sometimes half oil have crisco. My cookies were ok and accepted by my family. We try to avoid butter as possible in our food . Can you test this option please and advise what’s the right ingredients? Thanks

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    Sam — November 28, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    3 words – Butter Flavor Crisco.

    All the texture of crisco, all the flavor of real butter.

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    Christine — November 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I have accidentally done most of your trials and always wondered, “what went wrong?” Thank you for your trials, now I know! One other tip I have learned and not sure if you mention it but weighing flour makes a huge difference in the cookie texture. Thanks again!!

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    Robin — November 30, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    have you ever tried using unsweetened apple sauce instead of butter or shortening……. i do that substitution ALL the time in brownies and cakes and it works great and i always get compliments on it, less fattening and no greasy feel

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    Diana Boles — December 2, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I really appreciate all the work you did here. Most of the time bakers when a baker has to make a substitution the cookies come out pretty good anyway, but here a baker has more control over the product and can modify the recipe intentionally. Thank you.

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    Annabelle — December 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Love your study of chocolate chip cookies as they are my personal favorite! I worked for years to perfect my own recipe and the things I decided on were using medium eggs, following the directions (!) and always room temp butter. I actually pour off some egg if I have XL or L eggs in the frig.

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    Lisa — December 3, 2013 at 1:10 am

    My friend swears she can soften hard cookies by putting them in a ziplock bag overnight with a piece of bread. I’ve never bothered but am really curious to see if it works (my cookies come out soft 90% of the time! but it would be interesting to use this to get a softer cookie with one of the crispy effects or a good compromise in a household with different preferences)

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    Julia Roark — December 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Very well done on the trials and the documentation. Really well worth it. Thank you.

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    Jenny Kearl — December 9, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I’m assuming you used normal, white Crisco. I would like to see a half butter, half white Crisco comparison; a half white Crisco and half butter-flavored Crisco comparison; and an all butter-flavored Crisco comparison. I’d also like to see a higher temp and shorter cook-time comparison.

    Thank you so much for this. I need it. My cookies never work out.

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    Jenny Kearl — December 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Also, in this, and any recipe, how does the butter vs margarine and salted vs unsalted change things?

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    haley pounders — December 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    To the person asking about air bake pans a few months ago: I use a Calphalon air baking sheet exclusively for cookies and I’m not going back (until I burn the heck out of it I suppose I’d give up lol). The first use was strange. None of my recipes came out at the same time as usual and I burned a few things before I got it down. It cooks quicker and more evenly. I haven’t seen a burnt cookie bottom in a LONG time. I always watch the cookies at the end instead of timing exclusively on new recipes, whereas on my plain baking sheet time suggestions were accurate.
    Sometimes when in a hurry with too many batches I bake on a super cheap walmart baking sheet with a silipat on top and notice no difference. I don’t bother with the silipat on the calphalon if it’s a sturdy cookie like the tollhouse that will transfer easily to the cooling rack. So the calphalon air baking sheet is not a game changer, just easier to clean than a silipat.

    Tessa: you seemed unimpressed with the cornstarch as a cure-all for the chocolate chip, correct? Only effective with completely different recipe?

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    Jenny — December 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Well now I am definitely going to buy some bread flour for the next time I make chocolate chip cookies! My mom always used all shortening, no butter, and even though I liked the texture – I never thought they had much flavor. Now it looks as though I can get the texture I want with bread flour, and I won’t have to sacrifice the butter! Yay! Thanks!

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    Luke — December 13, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Great site – glad I found it via Google

    I have always been curious why my cooies sometimes come out a little different, and now I can see why.

    Have you tried honey instead of sugar in some test batch Chocolate Chip cookies? I am thinking of trying it myself, but all your cookies look better than mine

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    app103 — December 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    @Luke – Don’t use honey instead of sugar, unless you want to make pancakes instead of cookies, as they will spread a lot and be very moist and cake-like.

    @Tessa – You could do a Part 3, in which you make substitutions of the following:

    - Fats: liquid vegetable oil, lard
    - Flours: whole wheat, coconut flour, various nut flours
    - Sugars: powdered sugar, replacing the white sugar with molasses, replacing all sugars with a combo of powdered milk and sugar-free sweetener
    - Additions: increase the ph with the addition of lemon juice, vinegar, or orange juice
    - Subtractions: leave out the yolks, leave out the whites, leave out the eggs entirely

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    jan — December 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I would, similar to app103 (above), like to see some fat comparisons, which I know affect the result quite a bit:
    * butter (standard), salted vs. unsalted (any difference other than saltiness?)
    * butter/margarine combination (this is what my mom always did)
    * margarine
    * Crisco, butter flavored
    * Crisco/butter combination
    * Crisco/margarine combination
    * margarine spread (specify what brand — I was thinking Imperial, as it claims it can be used in place of margarine in recipes
    * lard
    * lard/butter combination

    Very interesting — I love your approach!

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    Margi — December 30, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I have a friend who comes and does heavy work, repairs for me and the only think he wants in return is Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have made so many of these in the past year and they always turn out different every time. They range from hard as a rock, very crunchy, cakey, etc. and I never knew what I was doing wrong. Your site is a god-send to me. I have all the items you use but I also think one of my problems may be in creaming the sugars and fats too long. Was told I should be able to really feel the sugars so I have been creaming for 5 min or better. So after the new year is over and I have an operating kitchen I will get going on your way of doing it. Had a tree fall on the kitchen and it has been out of commission for 7 months. Last week they brought in all my cabinetry and counters and today the appliances showed up. Nothing hooked up but I can see that light at the end of the tunnel. Chocolate chip cookies will be my first baking endeavor. Thanks again for such a great post and so glad I found you on pintrest.

    • Tessa replied: — January 3rd, 2014 @ 9:18 am

      I’m so sorry to hear about your misfortune. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I can’t wait to hear about your first baking endeavor once your kitchen is back in commission!

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    Barbara — January 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    I really enjoyed your comparisons of various recipe variations. I use a combination of butter and butter-flavored Crisco, regular and dark brown sugar, add oatmeal and swap out 1/2 cup of whole wheat for the regular unbleached flour. However I also have a recipe that ran in the NY Times a few years ago for Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies. It uses a mix of cake and bread flour, light brown and regular sugar, both baking soda and powder, dark chocolate chips, and requires chilling the dough for 24-36 hours. The finished product is HUGE (3.5 oz), with crunchy edges and a chewy center. They are fabulous — but I still love my standard tollhouse-type CCCs. The “Neiman Marcus” style CCCs are great too for a change of pace.

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    Ninay — January 6, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Hi Tessa! Thanks for having the patience to do all those trials. You’ve been a godsend: I’ve finally been able to make excellent cookies. :-) I do have a question, though. I’ve been using all dark brown sugar and all bread flour in my cookies, but they never get as thick as the ones in the bread flour photo above. They’re flat, but very chewy and tasty. I’d love to get thicker cookies. Would you be able to point me in the right direction? I use a scoop to measure the dough out and bake them on an unlined, light colored cookie sheet. I also live in a somewhat high altitude city in Southeast Asia, if that helps. Thank you! :-)

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    Susan — January 6, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    WOW… I was just thinking about doing this and then came across your site… I love you for doing this! The picture of all the diff cookies side-by-side was an amazing help for me!! Thank you so much!
    I have been playing around with more of the organic-type cookie. I tried using half organic butter and half organic coconut oil. Since it is winter in AZ right now, the coconut oil is not in a liquid form – but not really solid either. My last batch looked like your All Granulated Sugar sample, tho’ I followed the Toll House recipe pretty much. This last batch I put the 8 tablespoons of coconut oil in the freezer for 15 minutes. They were rock solid when I took them out. I also used cooler-than-room-temp butter. I sort of mashed a little then mixed a little, back and forth, until the butter and coconut oil were well blended with the flour mixture (half organic whole wheat and half Pilsbury all purpose).
    The cookies were actually pretty good and still had that buttery flavor. I also added a cup of chopped walnuts.
    It seems that when I’m trying recipes for the “perfect” cookie for our family, it doesn’t matter how I change the recipe, those cookies are always gone in record time!
    Thanks for all you do!

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    tv — January 13, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    What makes these so quick to burn on bottom?

    http://www.coconutoil-online.com/Ginger_Crinkle_Cookies.html
    GINGER CRINKLES
    2 1/4 cups flour (I like King Arthur unbleached)
    2 teaspoons soda
    1 teaspoon ginger
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup brown sugar (192 grams)
    3/4 cup Coconut Oil Supreme™ (melted) (157 grams)
    1/4 cup dark molasses (56 grams)
    1 large egg (room temperature)
    Preheat oven to 400°F.
    Combine egg, brown sugar and molasses and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add coconut oil and continue mixing until all of the oil is incorporated into the first mixture.
    Sift together flour, baking soda, spices and salt and then add to liquid mixture. Mix on low-medium speed until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and it forms a smooth oily dough. Make walnut-sized balls of dough and drop them into a bowl of raw sugar and roll around until coated on all sides. I use a #40 disher to make uniform balls of
    dough and to speed up this process. Using this disher a single batch produces 24 cookies.
    Bake about 2 inches apart on parchment paper for about 10 minutes or until cookies puff up and split apart on top.
    After removing from oven, slide parchment paper from cookie sheet onto a cooling rack and allow cookies to cool before removing them.

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    Jenna — January 29, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Great article! Thanks for all the helpful information. :)

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    Bryan — February 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    “I was surprised to find these cookies didn’t taste super artificial or plastic-like”

    REALLY? Are you THAT out of touch and prejudicial about food ingredients????

    REALLY? Plastic-like? PLASTIC-LIKE?

    Well, la-di-da, got to go play the Grande Piano, now.

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    Connie — February 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I make a lot of Chocolate Chip cookies. over 130 dozen at Christmas time. the Christmas ones have a little peppermint twist. I use the recipe on the Butter Flavor Crisco sticks and have never had it not turn out well. I Love the flavor. It uses all brown sugar, baking soda and all purpose flour. I do add about 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon to the recipe which gives it just a little different taste. I always use light colored 1/2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Just a note. I live in Colorado. When I moved here from California I had to change my recipe and add a bit more flour because of the altitude. I have done that with most (not all) of my recipes. Flat cookies might just be a result of altitude.

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    Sandi — February 5, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I just found your blog and am really appreciating this cookie information. My husband and I own a whole-grain bakery where we mill our own flours. I am interested in trying the bread flour we use (milled from an uncommon variety of wheat with a lovely, mild flavor and aroma) in place of the soft, locally grown wheat that we have been using for all of our pastries. I do have a suggestion for another ingredient: coconut oil. We switched from shortening (ugh!) to coconut oil quite a while ago and found it made dramatic improvements in both taste and texture. It is definitely worth the extra cost. Finally, we are now making our own vanilla and I can’t wait to see the difference with that, too. Thank you, again, for your scientific approach to this project!

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    will — February 10, 2014 at 5:15 am

    I use my great grandmas recipe which is half shortening half butter makes crave worthy but gooey with no burning like I’ve experienced with just butter everyone loves my cookies

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    Alice — February 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Thirty some years ago a friend of mine and I were studying abroad and found ourselves missing Chocolate Chip cookies. We were in London, and I can’t remember now if we didn’t have a recipe or if we got one off the back of the bag of chocolate chips. I remember that the sugar and flour in that country looked different than I was used to; the cookies they produced were nothing like I’ve seen before or since. They were almost like Lace cookies, *very* gooey until cool and then very crispy. We’ve tried to recreate them since returning to the states and have never succeeded. Any idea what ingredients/process might lead to such a result?

    • Tessa replied: — February 15th, 2014 @ 10:46 pm

      Interesting!! It can be quite challenging to recreate recipes from other countries, the ingredients are just not the same. I couldn’t really say what might create that result, though I’d be curious to see the possible recipe from the back of the bag of chocolate.

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    Liz — February 15, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Any chance you’re going to experiment with gluten free chocolate chip cookies?

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    Tracy — March 5, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Came across this and my 13 year old decided to recreate the tests for her science experiment. We had the control batch (bag recipe), then we used: all baking powder, all granulated, all brown sugar, all bread flour and all melted/cooled butter. We did everything the same, baking pans, cooking time, etc. Interestingly enough, our results were different than yours, which I do not understand.

    The bread flour cookies, however, fell flat.
    The all granulated are just as thick as the original. They did not fall flat. I was really looking forward to the all granulated falling flat so my 13 year old would have to research why they weren’t thick (didn’t allow 13 year old to read your blog yet).
    Any ideas? I really do not want to remake these batches!

    • Tessa replied: — March 5th, 2014 @ 8:46 am

      Hi Tracy. It’s really difficult to answer your question since I didn’t get to see your 13 year old’s kitchen experiments to see what might have happened. I’m most surprised by the granulated sugar cookies, because from my personal experience and from what baking science tells us, the granulated sugar offers no acid to react with the baking soda so there is no leavening powder in those cookies and the white sugar doesn’t provide moisture like brown sugar does so it tends to create flatter and crisper cookies. If you do a simple Google search of this you’ll find the same info (there’s a good article on Serious Eats about cookies). I’m really not sure why you experienced different results, but my suspicion is that maybe the sugar + butter were overbeaten, or too much flour was added to the dough (did you weigh the flour?). Also, did you use an oven thermometer to ensure your oven was at a consistent temperature throughout your experiments?

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    Stephanie Williams — March 14, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    For years my Aunt Rita has made the most amazing CC cookies and says she’s using the TH recipe but I think I’ve finally figured out her adjustments! They look like the all brown sugar, but are fuller so I’m guessing she uses bread flour and chills them too. She lives so far away and is getting older now. I hope I can try these adjustments and recreate her cookies if she is no longer able to make them. The only other thing I can think of that could make them any different is the love that she puts in them. I hope that I can come close so that we’ll always have a reminder of her on the days when Aunt Rita’s cookies and a cappucinno just made everything better.

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