Evolution of a Cookie Recipe

Last night, I baked off the last two cookies from a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookie dough. I used a recipe from a blog whose author recently published a cookbook entirely devoted to cookies; so when she promised that the recipe would produce chewy cookies that definitely weren't cakey, I believed her.


The cookies tasted smashing, but if one was specifically looking to produce a decidedly non-cakey cookie, I can't figure out why one wouldn't have made a few more tweaks to the recipe before publishing. So I decided to make the tweaks myself. Immediately. With about 45 minutes to go until my usual bedtime.

I baked a couple of the newly-tweaked (heh) cookies off last night after barely making the 30-minute mandatory minimum chilling time, and they were an undeniable improvement. I'm a real priss about cookie texture, though, so I think I need one more go-'round to get them Goldilocks-quality (you know: juuuust right). And then I thought, hey, all these bloggers only share their final recipe. Sometimes they mention the different things they tried to get the right one, but wouldn't it be sort of informative to share each version of the recipe on the way to getting the cookie we originally envisioned when we set out? Wouldn't food bloggers be doing their conscientious part in combatting the "just the highlight reel" nature of the internet? Could this not be an exercise in both education and vulnerability? Am I perhaps asking way too much of cookies?

I'm not a food blogger (I'm not even a blogger most of the time), but I reply YES to the aforementioned questions. So here you go: I present step 1 (or is it step 2?) in the evolution of a cookie recipe. The original recipe is here for you to compare. I encourage you to bake both and conduct a taste-test, for the sake of science and all.

Less Cake-y Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 2 tsp molasses
6 Tbsp pumpkin puree (GUYS. Guys. Use Libby's. Every other pumpkin brand is inferior. Target carries it, as does Walmart, in the event that your local grocery -- AHEM PUBLIX -- does not.)
1 1/2 cups AP flour*1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup chopped chocolate (I like Trader Joe's Pound Plus dark chocolate bars for this. Not to be all Ina or Martha, but while you can totally use chocolate chips, quality brick chocolate mixes and melts in a superior fashion. )

Whisk sugars into butter until smooth. Add in molasses, vanilla, and pumpkin, and whisk again to blend.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Do a good job, so your spices get well-distributed. Nobody wants a big ol' clump of cloves. I mean, maybe someone does, but that someone is not in my kitchen.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Then, add chopped chocolate (OR CHIPS, okay, or chips) and stir to combine. Refrigerate the dough for AT LEAST 30 minutes. It's difficult. Feel free to eat some raw dough while you wait, because you're impatient AND you laugh in the face of food safety. (Fun fact: it doesn't matter that the eggs are raw, as raw flour can also jack up your gut! Second fun fact: I've eaten raw cookie dough my whole life, and I feel like my gut bacteria is heartier for it. This is only anecdotal and should in no way be construed as medical advice.)

When you're ready for baking (um, the cookies, not yourself, but I mean, you do you), preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone cookie mat. Scoop 1 Tbsp rounds of dough onto the sheet and flatten each slightly with your hands. They don't spread very much, which I think needs a little more tweaking.

Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool before eating. People love to talk about how great cookies are fresh from the oven, but these people are confused. Cookies totally taste better once they've cooled a bit, so the flavors have had time to mature but the chocolate is still a little melty. This is also only anecdotal, but I'm pretty sure there's some good science behind this, and it SHOULD be construed as cookie-eating advice.