Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Toll House Cookies

In this hot weather I'm willing to chill anything (myself included) and chocolate chip cookie dough is no exception. In today's New York Times dining section David Leite provides some keys to successful chocolate chip cookies, one of which comes from the 1953 edition of the Toll House Cook Book. Unlike the recipe featured on the Toll House chocolate chip packages, the cookbook suggests you chill the dough overnight which, according to Leite, produces a drier dough, more even browning, and vastly improved taste. Leite claimed the cookies that had rest in the fridge for 36 hours had a stronger toffee flavor and a more pronounced brown sugar taste. It's definitely a tip worth broadcasting, but since the Times didn’t provide Ms. Wakefield’s original recipe, I’ll do it for you.

Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies
(as written in the Toll House Cook Book)

1 cup butter. Add
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar class
2 eggs, beaten. Dissolve
1t. soda in
1t. hot water. Add alternately with
2 ¼ cups flour sifted with
1t. salt. Add
1 cup chopped nuts
2 packages semisweet chocolate morsels
1t. vanilla

Drop by half teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 100 cookies.

At Toll House, we chill this dough overnight. When ready for baking, we roll a teaspoon of dough between palms of hands and place balls 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Then we press balls with finger tips to form flat rounds. This way cookies do not spread as much in the baking and they keep uniformly round. They should be brown through, and crispy, not white and hard as I have sometimes seen them.

Keep in mind that the Library also has some earlier editions of Toll House cookbooks, if anyone is interested in other recipes coming out of Wakefield's kitchen.


Megan said...

This is so cool. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Last winter I started making a lot of Toll House Cookies. I'm a bachelor and a glutton, so to exercise a little self control, I baked them in three or four batches (one a day), leaving the extra to chill out in the fridge. And I can say from experience, it does make a better cookie when chilled. Nix the nuts, though. And extra grease for the pan is overkill, no? When you've already got 2 sticks of butter in there? I guess I like the package recipe...

...Which can be problematic, though, since there are two different recipes on the back. Remember attempting a batch of cookies as kids, but somehow we mixed up the ingredient lists for the classic cookies and the one for the brownies or whatever the other recipe is? Brown goo. And no more chips to try again.

Betty Carlson said...

Have you tried this out?

My mom makes great cookies, and often the dough does live in the fridge for awhile -- more for organizational purposes than anything. I wonder if this has something to do with the quality of her cookies?

Anonymous said...

Great!! I'm fond of cooking & used to get different recipes from my recipe books.

David Leite said...

So glad to see you have the recipe for Toll House Cookies that includes water. Most recipes no longer print that. It's suspected that the water is added because the flour back then was a bit closer to our current-day bread flour, and it needed the extra moisture. Have you noticed how the current recipe for Toll House cookies spread? It could very well be the flour!

David Leite

Anonymous said...

Boing Boing alerted me to an article on how to cheat on the 36 hours: vacuum sealing. Apparently they were "pretty damn good."

And the Time itself has a follow up letter pointing out each cookie in it's perfect cookie recipe is a staggering 500 calories.

Anonymous said...

I still have the old toolhouse recipe from an old package. I always chill the dough, as I am too tired usually to bake after making the dough...Actually, I chill all my cookie doughs. Louise E.

Anonymous said...

Dear Louise E. ~ Are you willing to share the recipe from the old package?? (puleeze say "yes"!)

I've been searching for a LONG time for the recipe from the 60's. It is decidedly different from the recipe they've been publishing since then.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marti! Here is the recipe:


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together 2 and 1/4 cups sifted flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt; set aside. Combine 1 cup butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon water; beat till creamy. Beat in 2 eggs. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in one 12 oz. package (2 cups) of Nestles's Semi-sweet Chocolate Morsels, l cup coarsely chopped nuts. Drop by well-rounded half teaspoons onto greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 375 degrees F. TIME: 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 100 2" cookies.

VARIATIONS: l. Omit nuts; add 4 cups crisp, ready to eat cereal. 2. Add 2 cups chopped dates. 3. Add 1 tablespoon grated orange rind. 4. Add 2 cups raisins. 5. Add 1 cup peanut butter.

Personally, I have never done the variations. I have only used walnuts. I have used half butter, half margarine. I use large or extra large eggs. I mix the flour mixture into the dough in 3 parts. I always chill the dough before I bake it (sometimes for several days).

Hope this helps,
Louise E.