Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

I am sitting here eating a very healthy salad for lunch so I can eat a very unhealthy, but very yummy, chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Richard watches Alton Brown's "Good Eats" show and recently he did a program on chocolate chip cookies. No matter what kind you prefer he has a recipe for it. We like them soft and chewy and this is the recipe for it. There's even a gluten-free recipe! He always uses kosher salt and unsweetened butter but I just used salted butter. It doesn't mention it in the recipe but the brown sugar should be the dark kind and it should be packed.

We've also made his meat loaf. It has a lot of ingredients in it and the glaze is different but it was really good, too. If you make it make sure you don't over bake it (like we did)! There's nothing worse than dried out meat loaf.


  1. You are sitting there by the ocean, eating chocolate chip cookies, while I'm struggling with "bobbles", making one every six stitches in this row of knitting. By the time I get to the end of the row, I will have made 25 to 30 bobbles.

    I hope someone will make me one of these cookies some day. I'll probably still be making bobbles!

  2. I love Alton Brown's recipes. I've gotten a bit tired of his silly skits woven into the shows, but the recipes are usually worth enduring them. I've seen the chocolate chip cookie show a couple times. His sugar cookies are my favorites. I also use kosher salt almost exclusively because of AB.

    I think America's Test Kitchens meat loaf recipe is the best one I've ever eaten. It has a tablespoon of unflavored gelatin in it, and a great texture. Richard should try that show -- Saturday afternoons on PBS. It's my favorite cooking show.

  3. I have done some research about salt types and it seems the only difference is in texture. Table salt is very fine and is prefered by bakers. Kosher and sea salts are more coarse grained and preferred when adding to things where you wish to draw moisture from something, such as meats.

    Chemically they are the same. In fact, kosher salt can be made from sea salt or table salt. Check out this link.

    It looks like you should use 3 times as much kosher salt to equal the same amount of table salt, or in the case of AB's recipes, when using table salt use 1/3 the amount of kosher salt he calls for.

    The thing that made all the difference in the cookies was the use of bread flour. We have always just used all purpose flour previously. It made a huge difference.

  4. The first AB recipe I ever made was his French Onion soup. I didn't care for it but since then I've made quite a few things from his show. I even have a pottery slow cooker like his. I made a temperature control for mine.

    His baby back ribs are very good.

  5. It looks like you are in the same spot you were in last year. Is that correct?

  6. Yep. This is the only camp host site in the park.

  7. I've learned something tonight. Robert uses sea salt exclusively in cooking, and has said that there is less sodium chloride, so it is less harmful to those on restricted diets.

    Any comments? Right or wrong?

  8. Mom, I am no expert and only know what I read, so take this with a grain of salt. :-) Chemically there is practically no difference between kosher salt, sea salt and table salt. They contain the roughly the same amounts of sodium chloride by weight, although sea salt does contain small amounts of additional chemicals that were dissolved in the sea water. Those chemicals may make a small difference in the taste, but that is not why it is used. The main difference is in the size and shape of the crystals and the grains because of they way they are produced. Sea salt and kosher salt have larger grains and therefore do not pack together as well as table salt. This results in different amounts of sodium chloride by weight in equal volumes of sea salt, kosher salt and table salt.

    An extreme analogy would be the difference between table sugar and cotton candy. They both contain exactly the same ingredients and when measured by weight, the same amount of sugar. However, when measured by volume the cotton candy contains much less.

    When baking it is desirable to dissolve the salt completely into the batter so table salt works better in that instance. The smaller crystals and grains dissolve more easily and completely. When seasoning table food, or using salt for its dehydrating properties, the larger crystals of the sea salt or kosher salt have advantages.

    If Robert is placing sea salt in your table salt shakers he is essentially tricking you into using less sodium chloride because there is only about 1/3 the amount in the salt you shake onto your food. That is probably a good thing.

    The main reason cooks like it better is because the little grains of kosher or sea salt are larger crystals and therefore cause a more salty pop when one of those grains hits your tongue. It is not so easily dissolved into the liquids present and the larger grain or crystal hits more taste buds on your tongue. This causes your taste senses to get the salty flavor you enjoy from much less salt.

    We have a salt grinder that has sea salt in it. We have been using it for several years for everything except baking. I quickly learned that I must put much more salt by volume on some things than I would if I were using table salt in order to season it to my taste properly. Popcorn is a prime example. It always looks and feels like I am grinding way too much on, but it takes that much to make it taste right. When I use popcorn salt, which is ground even more finely than table salt, I find I have to use it very sparingly.

    As I said, take this all with a grain of salt. Sorry. I couldn't resist saying that again. :-)

  9. Parts is parts and salt is sodium chloride. Or something like that.

  10. Robert uses it only in cooking. We have regular salt on the tables. after all this talk about salt, we are all going to need a good diuretic to get it out of our system!

  11. Happy birthday, Dianna! I hope you get something yummy to help you celebrate today, whether chocolate chip cookies or cake, or some other decadent dessert. Have a great day.
    Love, Donna