It should come as no surprise that our entire team takes cookies (and anything containing sugar and gluten, for that matter) very seriously. In fact, a common interview question we ask is "Where is your favorite chocolate chip cookie in Los Angeles?" I'm not going to say it's the most important interview question we ask, but it definitely holds some weight... In preparation for the holidays, we decided to hold a Team Cookie Bake-Off in our office (watch the full Instagram Live we posted on Thursday, here). We prepped with some ground rules (it had to be a clear 'classic' chocolate chip cookie recipe, no added nuts or oats), and invited three guest judges:
1. Adrianna Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen
2. Stacey Kane (Jess's sister, who's baked at arguably the world's best chocolate chip cookie bakery, Levain, in New York and now bakes at Bub and Grandma's Bread)
3. Jenny Olson (of Sweet Martha's Cookies in Minnesota).
The judges evaluated each cookie based on appearance, then taste. Here are the top five cookies and their recipes, counting down to the winner:
Recipe: Julia Moskin's Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Tips and recipe adaptations: I followed it by the book!
Recipe: Amanda Hesser's Thin-and-Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies via The New York Times
Tips and recipe adaptations: I used buttermilk instead of regular milk (using the same amount as the recipe suggests) to give them a sourdough taste, and I love using Plugras butter. I melt it down and let it cool first—you can also totally use a microwave if you don't want to get a pot dirty. I also use King Arthur flour!
Recipe: Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Crush Cookies [Ed note: This is not actually Levain Bakery's recipe, our guest judge Stacey confirmed—though was tight-lipped about their actual, very secret recipe!]
Tips and recipe adaptations: I used 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract, and doubled the amount of chocolate the recipe lists (though the judges docked points for them being too chocolatey).
Recipe: "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies" by Shirley Hendrickson, adapted from Jacques Torres (also featured in this blog post)
Tips and adaptations: I followed the recipe by the book!
Recipe: David Leite's Chocolate Chip Cookies via The New York Times
Tips and adaptations: These are the chocolate chip cookies Jonah makes for us on the reg, so we've had time to make tiny tweaks to it (though it hardly needs any!). I love it because, to me, it's the perfectly chewy cookie with a crispy exterior. I baked them for exactly 16 minutes (rather than 18 to 20 minutes) and used 1/4 cup more light brown sugar, and 1/4 cup less white sugar—but the key to this recipe is the addition of cake flour!
Baker's Choice Award (a.k.a., the team's overall favorite): Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie by Jessica Kane, Social Media Manager
Watch the full Instagram Live here to see the judges' deliberations: