The verdict: David Lebovitz’s chocolate chip cookie recipes and the end of my search

I know I mentioned that I was on a search for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, and my lack of updates on how the search was going does not mean I have let up. The near-disaster that was the Cook’s Illustrated recipe didn’t deter me from my search. If anything, it made me even more determined to find my go-to recipe.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of looking for a  David Lebovitz recipe earlier, he did write a book on chocolate and a desserts cookbook after all. Surely, the blogger/pastry chef has a recipe for chocolate chip cookies somewhere.

Well it turns out he has three. And of course I had to try them all.

All three recipes have the same ingredients: butter, white and brown sugars, vanilla, flour, baking soda, eggs and of course chocolate chips (nuts are optional). The differences just came in the proportions, the condition of the butter (cold versus room temperature) and the treatment of the dough. And here’s my completely amateur attempt at differentiating one from the other:

  • Basic CCC recipe: Now, David himself doesn’t really call this his “basic” recipe, I only called it that because this was the most straightforward of all the three recipes, since nothing “special” was really needed. Among the three recipes, this has the lowest brown to white sugar ratio at 1:1, while the other two have more brown sugar. Also, this recipe requires butter to be cold, whereas most recipes require it to be room temperature.
  • Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie : Obviously, the big difference in this one was the salted butter. All the recipes I’ve perused online call for unsalted butter and this recipe was the only one that specifically required the salted kind. David also requires you to tap the tops of the cookies with a spatula after they have been baking for ten minutes and putting them back in the oven for 2-5 more minutes.
  • The Slice and Bake CCC: I might as well call this the “Patience Test CCC recipe”. This is because after making the dough, you need to form it into logs, wrap it in cling film and refrigerate it for a WHOLE DAY. And this did not sit well with me. Within a couple of hours of putting the logs in the fridge, I was already asking “Maybe two hours is enough?”

I’m actually not sure which cookie recipe these cookies are from. Sorry. Hehe.

And my favorite among the three is (drumroll please…)

The Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie!

I guess it has to do with my love for all things sweet-salty, to me this is the best-tasting of all three recipes. I think the salted butter just adds that extra dimension of flavor. The other two recipes seem bland in comparison. Texturally, as well, I think this recipe is the best. It’s crispy on the surface but moist and chewy in the middle. Maybe it has to do with the extra step of tapping the cookies? The slice and bake recipe is similar in texture, but why go through the effort of roulade-ing the dough and waiting 24 HOURS for it to chill when I can get similar results without having to wait?

The salted butter recipe is the best among David Lebovitz’s, but is it the best one among all I’ve tried? You might remember that I was head-over-heels in love with the flavor of the brown butter from Cooks Illustrated recipe. And I still am, and I think the wonderful caramel-ly flavor of those cookies just eeks past the salted butter cookies. BUT. You might also remember that that recipe almost gave me a nervous breakdown, since I couldn’t get the consistency of the dough right. So, until I pluck up the courage (I know, I know that these are cookies we’re talking about here) to tackle the brown butter again, then David’s recipe will be my go-to cookies for now.

I do think about coming up with my own recipe, though, using a combination of salted butter and brown butter. I’d use a smaller amount of the latter to prevent runniness issues. Again, I’ll have to gather the courage for that, since it seems quite presumptuous to think that I could come up with a better recipe than David Lebovitz AND Cooks Illustrated.

But, a girl can dream.

(and yes, I do realize it’s a little sad that my dreams involves cookies)

Feel free to let me know what you think!

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