Nothing beats a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies right? I like them a little crispy on the outside and fresh out of the oven so the cookies are warm and and the chocolate bits from heaven just melt slightly. But what makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie? I was invited down to the Chipits Bake Bar (1918 Queen Street East, Toronto) to meet with Linda Stahl, Chief Baking Officer, Hershey’s, to find out the secrets. She’s been in their kitchens perfecting recipes for over 28 years and this is only her second time in Canada!
How did this humble cookie all start? Stahl mentioned the most famous Toll House cookie that was first created in the 1930s. So, we dug a bit and found out that it was American chefs Ruth Graves Wakefield and Sue Brides who came up with the recipe in 1938 at the Toll House Inn located in Whitman, Massachusetts — an inn that was known for it’s homestyle cooking. Wakefield was playing around with her butter drop dough cookie recipe and decided to add chocolate for something different – she chopped up a chocolate bar and added it to the recipe.
So, what makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie? (see recipe below) Stahl first tells us that “perfect” means something different for everyone. Some people like a chewy cookie while others prefer a crispy. So the measurements of ingredients will differ but she encourages bakers to try different recipes and find one that you really like. Here are some of her tips and secrets…
Does humidity matter when it comes to baking cookies? Stahl doesn’t believe so when it comes to the baking of the cookies. Storage yes, of course. Once cookies are completely cooled put them in a tight-sealed cookie jar or other container with a tight lid that doesn’t let air in. Also don’t store with other fresh baked cookies as they will absorb not only flavours but moisture.
What about butter vs margarine debate? “If you’re using stick margarine, it’s actually not lower fat.” explains Stahl. “Because margarine and butter both have 80% fat and the rest is water. The margarine in tubs don’t seem to work as well because they have more water in them. The biggest difference is in the flavour.” Stahl and I both agree that butter is the way to go.
How about coconut oil and other alternatives ? While Stahl herself likes to stick to the traditional recipe she knows there’s growing interest in using ingredients like coconut oil in baking but for now nothing beats the original. But the kitchen team at Hershey’s are always experimenting. Stahl did mention that they’ve had success using gluten-free flours as substitutes for regular flour.
What about the type of sugar you use? Stahl tells us that the ration of sugar and type of sugar you use does affect not only the taste but also the texture. “Some recipes call for white sugar and whether or not you have any brown sugar in the recipe, it can make a difference. If you use a recipe that calls for only white sugar, the cookie ends up being crispier and flatter,” says Stahl. She says it’s okay to see what happens when you alter the sugar ratio. (I’m guessing it will taste good anyway!)
What types of chocolate chips does she love? Stahl is a traditional chocolate chips kind of cookie lover but is drawn to the dark chocolate. She tells us “most of the time the dough you use for chocolate chip cookies is so sweet but a dark chocolate chip helps balance the flavours. Chipits has 70% dark chocolate chunks that are great for baking.”
What about adding marshmallows? Stahl loves that addition but suggests using slightly stale marshmallows instead of fresh because being a bit drier will help keep the shape better. An easy way to make them slightly stale is to take fresh bag of marshmallows and leave spread them out on a sheet uncovered over night.
Everyone is invited to visit the Chipits Bake Bar pop up to bake a batch of cookies. You can choose from their list of recipes or create your own. For every batch baked, Hershey’s will donate a meal through The Daily Food Bank.
Chipits Bake Bar opens July 7 to 16, 2017
Location: 1918 Queen Street East, Toronto
Monday to Thursday: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm
Friday to Sunday: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
HERSHEY’S PERFECT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (550 mL)
- 1/2 tsp salt (2 mL)
- 1 cup butter (250 mL)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (175 mL)
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar (175 mL)
- 1 tsp baking soda (5 mL)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (5 mL)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups CHIPITS Dark Chocolate or CHIPITS Semi-sweet chocolate chips (500 mL)
- Heat one to 375F (190C)
- Stir together flour, balking soda and salt. Beat butter, granulate sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add eggs and beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop rounded teaspoons of mixture onto uncreased cookie sheet.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.