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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is one of my favourite biscuit recipes, and one to which I try to convert everyone. A few weeks ago I noticed Adam made them, possibly based on a comment I had made to his or Angela's site about chocolate chip cookie recipes. You see, about 10 years ago my father and I were travelling through Kentucky and Tennessee for his business (I was just a handbag) and we stayed at the Doubletree Hotel in Nashville. When we checked in we received the most incredible, most wonderful, most gorgeous chocolate chip cookie we've ever tasted. They were still warm from the oven, crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle. I had never tasted anything like it; they were so good we ordered them for room service the next night!
For years I'd wanted to make those cookies but assumed I'd never know the recipe. Somehow, along the way I discovered the website Top Secret Recipes, and it was listed there! Apparently the genuine recipe from the Doubletree hotel chain! Wowee! The recipe is no longer freely available there, but can be found by judicious Googling. I found mine here.
I tend to increase the amount of cinnamon in these biscuits by about 4; I really love the cinnamon taste. This time I added quite a lot of chopped nuts I had hanging around (pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds) , as I didn't have quite enough chocolate.
However, I have a baking problem with chocolate chip cookies. I take them out when they've turned golden and look ready etc. but they're always soggy and not cooked enough! I am careful not to leave them in too long, because I prefer a chewy rather than a crunchy cookie, but this is beyond chewy into some other realm of awfulness. With this batch I returned them to the oven for about 10 minutes, but that turned them into really crunchy biscuits. Some people may like them that way (and many people did) but I don't! Is it just a matter of leaving my biscuits in the oven a little longer than stated in the recipe? I don't think that feels very accurate - as it is I'm concerned that they'll be overcooked if I leave them in the full cooking time. Hmmm. Any ideas?


  • After enjoying too many cookies while staying at a Doubletree, I also tracked down this recipe. I've never made a cookie so totally packed with chocolate and nuts! I can't recall how long I baked them, but when I have doubts about the baking time of a recipe, I'll sometimes bake a small batch to the recipe's specifications, then adjust according to my personal preferences. 16-18 minutes does seem like a long time, but I think they expect the cookies to be quite large and I don't think it's unreasonable for a cookie that starts at 1/4 cup of dough.

    By Blogger Nic, at 5/08/2005 12:09:00 am  

  • I thought I saw a pistachio in the picture, which intrigued me and the recipe looks great. I may even try it today. It's a rainy nor'easter outside, with whipping winds. Perfect day to bake cookies.

    You might want to try baking these at a lower temp next time. Try it at 300 degrees. Many years ago, I used to manage a cookie shop, one of the national chains, and that was one of their secrets. Their cookies were always perfectly done, pale gold on the outside and just the right amount of soft chewiness.
    The other secret, a key one, is to use ice cold butter, and only mix until everything is just blended. This helps to keep the cookies in shape, rather than flattening out or browning too quickly.

    :) Pam

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/08/2005 12:35:00 am  

  • It's interesting, that recipe is basically the famous Nestle Toll House recipe, with oats, cinnamon and lemon juice added. Interestingly, though, Nestle's recipe calls for 375 degree oven. Look's like the jury's out on whether you should go hotter or cooler.

    By Blogger Brian W, at 5/08/2005 05:41:00 am  

  • Hi - thanks for your tips everyone - they're exactly the type of thing I wanted. Ok, I'm going to try a lower oven temperature next time I do biscuits. I've read somewhere that people with fan-forced ovens should lower their temperature by about 10 degrees anyway, and the makers of our oven (Gaggenau - a German company) suggest to lower that even more, I think. I've always been a little dubious of that, as cooking things like biscuits at 150C sounds just so low as to be ineffective, but I'm certainly willing to give it a try. Anything for more perfectly textured biscuits!
    Nic- so far I've not been able to make each cookie with 1/4 cup of dough. I tried with the first biscuit, and it looked so enormous that I laughed, and returned to my nice, quiet, subdued Australian style size. :-)
    Pam - thanks so much for that tip, and if you make these, I hope you enjoy them. I think they're fantastic!
    Brian - I've heard of the Toll House recipe, but never made it. I think I'll give it a go next time. If making lots of cookies improved my cookie making ability then I'm all for that!
    AH - Yep - I don't really enjoy the crunchy biscuits we buy in the supermarkets. Homemade are so much better!

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/10/2005 01:26:00 pm  

  • The best, most fail-safe chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever tried is in Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies cookbook. I think the ingredients and their proportions are pretty standard but the preparation is unusual. You melt the butter, add the sugars and then allow the mixture to cool. Next mix in the eggs and vanilla, followed by the flour, chocolate and nuts. You then chill the dough overnight. The cookies are super buttery, with crisp caramelized edges and chewy centers. If you want the actual recipe, let me know, although the cookbook is worth owning. Medrich's Steve Ritual for Brownies is worth the price alone.

    Also, Shirley Corriher devotes a few pages in Cookwise to tweaks for chocolate chip cookies. She suggests corn syrup, baking powder and butter-flavored vegetable shortening (blech) as ingredients that can radically change a cookie's texture.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/12/2005 04:16:00 am  

  • Great blog! I love the recipes. The one trick I found that took my cookies from consistently gooey to just about perfect is very simple - use cake flour instead of all purpose flour. Apparently the shorter fibers in the cake flour do a better job of soaking up the butter as it melts during cooking. Before this I ended up with cookies that got very flat and tended to be so gooey they'd fall through the cooling rack - now using the cake flour they stay puffier and are nicely chewey inside. It took me a while to find cake flour at the store - once I realized it came in a box and not a bag it was much easier to find though. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/12/2005 06:12:00 am  

  • Ooo! Alice Medrich's chocolate chip recipe sounds intriguing as well - please leave the recipe, Keri!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/12/2005 01:12:00 pm  

  • Keri - Yes - the recipe would be great, if you don't mind posting it! (I understand if you don't) I would really love Alice Medrich's Chocolate & the art of low fat desserts, but it's SO unavailable here in Australia, sadly.
    I agree with a big BLEACH for butter-flavoured vegetable shortening - it's not something we have here in Australia (unless you count margarine!), and I kind of hope we don't get it. Likewise for corn syrup which you really have to hunt down.
    Julie - thanks for your compliments! The cake flour suggestion is a great one; I think I've seen it in various stores so I'll check it out.

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/12/2005 02:03:00 pm  

  • My pleasure to share. This really is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe; it's even won over my husband who is extremely persnickety about chocolate chip cookies, probably because it's the only dessert he knows how to make.

    Alice Medrich’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
    From Cookies and Brownies

    Makes about five dozen cookies

    2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    16 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    3/4 c. granulated sugar
    3/4 c. packed brown sugar, lump-free
    1 tsp. salt
    2 large eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    2 c. chocolate chips
    1 c. coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

    2 cookie sheets, ungreased

    Combine the flour and baking soda in a bowl and whisk together thoroughly. Set aside.

    Cut the butter into chunks and melt it in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugars and salt. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Let the mixture and the pan cool. Stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

    Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit degrees. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Remove the dough from the refrigerator to soften. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough and place them 3 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown at the edges and no longer look wet on the top. Rotate baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Remove from the oven and let cookies firm up on the pan for 1 to 2 minutes. Use a metal pancake turner to transfer them to a rack to cool completely before storing or stacking. May be stored in a tightly sealed container for several days.

    Nut clusters. These are rich. Consider making them half size. Omit the chocolate chips. Substitute 4 to 5 cups of any nut pieces you like for the walnuts, like macadmias, skinned and toasted hazelnuts, salted peanuts, cashews or Brazil nuts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/13/2005 11:05:00 am  

  • Ooooh yeah, they look fine! Anything with 16 tablespoons of butter has to turn out well. Ummm....16 tablespoons sounds rather a lot to this metric measurement girl. Any idea what that might be in 'real' ;-) measurements? When faced with something like tablespoons of butter I'm not sure how to measure it - to me it would make sense to mlet the butter until softened, then take individual tablespoons, level them off etc.etc. But this cookie recipe tells me to cut up the butter - isn't it already in pieces if you've taken out 16 tablespoons? Aieee- I find US recipes so confusing and a bit vague. Give me accurate measurements, goddamit - so I can whack of a chunk of butter and plop it on my scales - one movement, one implement, no faffing around....
    (ok....rant over!! And thank you again for this spectacular looking recipe!)

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/13/2005 04:16:00 pm  

  • Nikki,

    Here is the conversion ... 16 tablespoons butter = 8 ounces.

    My husband and I moved to the US in 1996 (his firm asked him to work in their Seattle office), it took me a couple of months to get used to American recipes!!!!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/13/2005 06:10:00 pm  

  • I made these cookies last night after having a Doubletree cookie the other day. I added 1/4 cup of cinnamon chips and 1 cup white chips with a bag of Hershey real milk chocolate chips. I also found a tip online to bake the cookies at 300 degrees (supposedly that's what the large cookie companies do) and they were awesome. Everyone loved them. I also put the dough in the freezer while I was baking so that the butter would firm up and the cookie would be high. I used a cookie scoop (1/4 cup per cookie - 6 to a cookie sheet and it made 24 cookies).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/30/2008 04:02:00 am  

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