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Science!

Today I stumbled on an article about making a better chocolate chip cookie which was linked from a blog entry about how to perhaps attain the same effect but in a shorter time. As the chocolate chip cookie is one of the greatest inventions of the modern world I was definitely intrigued. Reading the post at Ideas In Food however I was disappointed that the author didn't maintain a control sample during his experiment. There are so many variables in the baking of a chocolate chip cookie that it can be difficult to determine what changes had how much of an effect. Could vacuum sealing the cookie dough in a plastic bag have an effect on the cookie dough? Would it aid in the rate of hydration of the flour grains? The world must know!

I decided to use Science™ to find out.

I made up a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough. I split the batch into 3 more or less equal portions. One portion was placed into a glass bowl and covered with plastic cling wrap. The second portion was vacuum sealed in a plastic bag with a consumer grade vacuum sealer. The third portion was left in the mixing bowl, covered with plastic cling wrap (this is my control). All three portions were placed in the fridge.

Three hours later I removed the vacuum sealed and control portions. I portioned the cookies out using a #20 disher on identical room temperature half sheet pans lined with parchment. Each cookie was sprinkled with a small amount of course sea salt. I baked each pan for 13 minutes at 375º F. I allowed the cookies to cool for about 30-45 minutes.

Willing test subject 1 (crankygirlie) tried both cookies and found the control to taste better, but detected a definite texture difference in the two samples.

It should be noted that I have identified an potential difficulty in preventing test subject 1 from exhausting the supply of test cookies. Hopefully I will be able to prevent such a catastrophe before completion of the experiment.

Should we make it to Friday with sufficient supply in hand I intend to conduct blind taste tests with more willing test subjects. Applications are now being accepted.

Comments

adrinna
Jul. 23rd, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
Aha! That must be why... de-panning hot buttery cookies is danger danger for me, and no time to be careful about it at school, so that must be the reason. And yes, I always put new cookies on a room-temp pan.

Zoom zoom! We made a dragon sculpture today! It's so cool. We have an airbrusher we use to spray food coloring everywhere. My hands are blue and green and purple!!
matthew
Jul. 23rd, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
I de-pan by just sliding the whole sheet of parchment onto a cooling rack. I also only have 2 pans so I need to do this in order to cool the pan in time to make another batch.

The sculpture sounds cool. Did you take pictures? I've got a cheap old airbrush that could be used for such shenanigans. It sounds like fun :)
adrinna
Jul. 24th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
Heh, yeah, even sliding parchment is dangerous for me (both for burning and losing/breaking cookies).

Yes! Pictures... I just have to put them on smugmug.
matthew
Jul. 24th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
I can understand the burning thing... I'm pretty careful. However when my cookies come out they are still soft and gooey enough that de-panning doesn't risk breakage. They also stick to the parchment well enough that they don't fall off easily. Anyway, works for me.

*goes looking for pictures*