Cookie recipes from “Three Chips for Sister Marsha”

Based on the Nestlé’s Toll House cookie recipe, Alton comes to the rescue of his sister Marsha with three different recipes—the original recipe adapted to thin and crispy, chewy and fluffy. The purpose of this episode of Good Eats is to introduce one to the science of cookie making. Here are the recipes for quicker consulation.

Original recipe

  2 sticks softened butter
  ¾ cup white sugar
  ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  1 tsp baking soda
  1 tsp salt
  1 tsp vanilla extract
  2 large eggs
  1 cup chopped nuts
  2 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl, then combine gradually with fats and sugars. Fold in chips and nuts. Bake at 375° for 9 to 11 minutes.

High altitude advice

Over 5200 feet: increase flour to 2½ cups and add 2 tsp water. Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Alton recommends sifting the flour before measuring. The following recipes list only those ingredients that differ from the original recipe or on which a special observation is to be made about its contribution to certain aspects of the cookie.

When using butter, Alton recommends cold and creaming at very high speed in the mixer to get the maximum air from the sharp sugar crystals slicing up the butter and therefore better incorporation of other ingredients afterward.

Add flour (dry ingredients) slowly because flour absorbes moisture slowly.

Chill the dough giving cookie more time to rise before spreading if fluffy is what you are after.

For thin and crispy, use #20 ice cream scoop and give room to grow (6 per sheet at the #20 size). Smaller cookies rise better and spread out less.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, but check after 5 minutes.

Observations by Alton or by the Cookie Monster’s refined brother are indicated between parentheses.

Thin and crispy

  2 sticks cold butter (if warm, will contribute to spreading)
  1 cup white sugar
  ½ cup brown sugar (higher ratio to white lends crispness)
  1 tsp baking soda (contributes to flatter cookie)
  1 large egg (eggs puff; if replaced in part [2 tbsp] or all by milk, the cookie spreads even further)
  2 tbsp milk (for more moisture, but it will evaporate)

Puffy recipe

  1 cup butter-flavored shortening (melts higher so gives batter longer time to rise before spreading)
  ¾ cup white sugar
  1 cup brown sugar (higher ration creates more tender cookie)
  2¼ cups cake flour (lower protein soaks up less moisture so more steam is made which lifts the batter producing a fluffy cookie)
  1½ tsp baking powder (more acidity, more rise, sets quicker, spreads less)
  1 tsp Kosher salt
  1½ tsp vanilla extract

Chewy recipe

  2 sticks melted butter (water from butter will combine with wheat protein to produce more gluten for a chewier cookie)
  ¼ cup white sugar
  1¼ cup brown sugar (darker the chewier because of molasses content)
  2¼ cups bread flour (absorbs more moisture)
  1 tsp baking soda
  1 tsp Kosher salt
  1½ tsp vanilla extract
  1 whole egg
  1 egg yolk (egg white tends to dry out the cookie)
  2 tbsp milk (for more moisture)