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The Standard Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe is so DUMB

August 12, 2012

This week has been busy for me, what with work going until midnight on four of the five days of the workweek. This weekend was a muchly appreciated chance to unwind…and on Saturday, my accounting/consulting friends and I watched Up in the Air and remarked (to varying degrees — I am on the low-end, of course) how closely Ryan’s life captures our own. We understood the tricks to packing for air travel, of having and comparing loyalty card bonuses, of being on name basis with people at the airport. It was good times.

But I also prepared cookies for us to eat during the movie. And somehow, that ruined everything.

If you are friends with me on Facebook (and if you aren’t, why not?), then you may have seen my somewhat regular pictures of the cookies I bake. Although in the past I have written about my sordid history with cooking, I have just now become aware that I haven’t been entirely forthright with you here about the situation.

I am now obsessed with baking the perfect cookies, or, as I call the ideal, the OMEGA COOKIE. I don’t even know if the omegacookie is one or many, what kind it is, and so one…what is the truth of cookie-ness?

I think I’ve come up with some pretty good chocolate chip cookies, but even I know that there is more that could be done. One of my friends pointed out to me that my use of “exotic” ingredients (one batch that I baked had some cinnamon and nutmeg in it…I loved it, my friends loved it too…but it was definitely something with a hint of the unexpected) could achieve a decent result — a really good result, even — but it was always an escape or a way of hiding my inadequacy at making the standard chocolate chip cookie.

And so, I started rolling back my approach. I stuck to the standard Nestle tollhouse recipe…No brown butter. All-purpose flour instead of bread flour. Two eggs instead of one and a yolk. The only deviation allowed, basically, was to used chopped ghirardelli chocolate instead of actual nestle chips, because even I have standards (not saying ghirardelli is the best in the world, but it’s a step up.)

Flat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t know what I’m doing, but I can’t get it right. I think part of it is the switch from bread flour to all-purpose flour or…I don’t even know…but the cookies I make with the standard recipe come out pretty flat, and they just…aren’t as good. I mean, they aren’t bad. But they are far from OMEGA.

Anyway, I don’t want to bore you all here…which is why I’m going to announce now that I’ve been thinking about getting a new blog devoted to the pursuit of the OMEGA cookie. That doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning Irresistible (Dis)Grace…I just don’t want to continually alienate one audience or the other by continuing to talk about stuff about which they don’t care about…and you know, I think that the baking audience and the Mormon-interest audience are relatively disjointed populations.

Also, I want to try something a bit more creative with the new blog than I can with Irresistible (Dis)Grace…so the new blog with be a self-hosted installation, and it’ll have its own domain (and not a * subdomain), and I think it’ll be every so much fun, featuring mouth-watering foodporn pictures all the time.

Oh yeah, and there will be substance too…I want to bring freakin’ philosophy to baking. I already gave a sneak preview of some of it: what is the essence of the chocolate chip cookie, the ideal or form or universal to which all accidents or particulars merely try to imitate?

  1. I actually think the toll house recipe is about the worst one out there. Will chocolate chip cookies be the only focus on the new blog?


  2. I think I want to start with chocolate chip cookies, but then move on to other kinds, like peanut butter, sugar cookies, oatmeal, etc.,

  3. Sounds yummy! I have a peanut butter cookie recipe that we call “Scout cookies,” because there are only three ingredients.

    If you get to cinnamon rolls, I will submit the one I use for consideration. Until then, I will look forward to trying out the recipes on the new blog!


  4. Oh man, cinnamon rolls are definitely going to be in! I just…don’t know when. Yum!

    Who knows; I might make it a group blog since I’m just one person…

  5. Maybe each holiday you could choose a different “special” thing to concentrate on, and work on cookies the rest of the year?

    Btw, if you want another foodie guy, my husband came with a $6K plus dowry of kitchen implements, gadget and top of the line baking, cooking and mixing stuff. That doesn’t count about the same amount in barbecue, smoking (food not tobacco), and outdoor cooking stuff. He doesn’t find many guys in Elder’s Quorum who want to discuss the best methods for making broth at home. (Not that he found many at the bars when he was in his alcoholic stages.). He always loves having someone to swap Le Creuset stories.


  6. Every chocolate chip cookie I have ever made has been flat as paper. I don’t know why. Too little flour? Too much mixing? Something wrong with my oven? No clue.

    I look forward to reading about your quest for the OMEGA cookie!

  7. Julia,

    Very cool…I probably should be less of a one-trick pony and become proficient with other kinds of cooking as well…


    With all-purpose and cake flour, I have simply not been able to figure out how to get a non-flat cookie. With bread flour, I get better results. (Of course, with both cake flour and AP flour, the dough is a lot stickier or wetter before being chilled…so my initial suspicion would be to suspect that it’s not enough flour.)

    • I had spinal surgery recently, but when I can get to my recipe box, or if I can find it on one of my old blogs, I will send you my mom’s recipe. It tastes good, and the cookies don’t do the spread out flat.

  8. I have contemplated the search for the OMEGA COOKIE!!! And thus sayeth Moi: it is good.

  9. Wow, you make lovely bakes! =D

  10. Liane permalink

    Follow the nestle tollhouse recipe, but with these modifications for buttery, puffy, sweet choco chip cookies.

    All purpose flour +2 Tbs
    Almond extract instead of vanilla extract
    2 tsp Baking powder instead of 1 tsp baking soda
    Vanilla sugar

    To make vanilla sugar, split 2 vanilla beans down the center and add 4 slivers per 2 kg sugar. Put sugar and beans in container and let steep for 2 weeks minimum. Shake the sugar container occasionally. The longer they sit together, the better. I replace sugar as I use it. Use a cup, add a cup. Every 2 months, I replace beans if I’ve been using the sugar regularly. If I’m not using it often, it doesn’t need to be replaced.

    Happy baking!

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