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How to make a great chocolate-chip cookie

Tips and tricks for making the best chocolate-chip cookies ever

Love a great chocolate-chip cookie? Whether you're more of a crisp and crumbly kind of fan, or you prefer yours soft and chewy, this kind of love requires only one thing: a sweet tooth. Oh, and plenty of chocolate.

Ever wonder who invented the chocolate-chip cookie? Of course you have.

The cookie was created in the 1930s by Ruth Wakefield at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Mass. According to Nestle, Wakefield added bits of chopped chocolate to a batch of butter cookie dough, expecting the chocolate to melt into the cookies as they baked. To her surprise, the chocolate held its shape. The chocolate-chip cookie was born, and history was made.

So what makes a cookie crisp or chewy? A large number of factors -- ratio of ingredients, size of the cookie, oven temperature and baking times -- play into the spread and final texture of a cookie.

Fat is key to texture, with recipes typically calling for butter, shortening or margarine. Butter has a lower melting point, which causes the dough to spread. Shortening melts at a higher temperature to give cookies crisp edges and chewy centers. Margarine-based cookies will vary depending on the amount of water in the margarine itself. Keep in mind that the type of fat used will also affect flavor.

Eggs are also important, whole eggs helping to puff up the cookie and soften texture. Substituting an egg white for a whole egg will increase the crispness of the final cookie.

Sugar types can affect texture -- the added liquid in brown sugar will help cookies spread and stay moist after baking.

Leaveners: In addition to providing lift to the cookie, leaveners (baking powder and soda) are often added to neutralize the acidity of the dough, helping to brown the cookies as they bake.

Oven temperature: The higher the temperature, the richer the browning of the cookie and the faster the dough will set.

Chilling the dough will allow the heat from the oven to set the crust before the dough is fully melted, setting the outer crust before the cookie has spread too much. Hence, cookies that are crisp on the outside but more moist on the inside.

But enough science. We've compiled five of our favorite chocolate-chip cookie recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Now all you need is a big glass of milk.

Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter

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