I need some advice from fellow chowbakers, please.
The whole chewy cookies crusade started off with my desire to replicate Jacques Torres' chocolate chip cookies, which I tasted on a recent trip to New York, and was definitely the best of many cookies consumed on that trip. Fortuitously, the recipe is in the public domain, here:
To my disappointment, they turned out nothing like the cookies of memory: rather than having crisp, caramelized edges, chewy middle region and a meltingly tender centre, they were puffy and definitely cakey. I made the recipe three times: identical results.
So, I moved on. A week later I tried Pam Andersen's version of crispy-edges-chewy-centre choc chip cookie, recipe here:
Exactly the same problem. They looked nothing like the glorious photos, but were puffy and cakey. Yuck. I made these babies three times, same story.
Today I made Alice Medrich's choc chip cookies from her new book, Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies. To paraphrase the recipe, since it doesn't seem to be available online:
MY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
10.125oz unbleached AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and still warm
5.25oz white sugar
5.25oz light or dark brown sugar
tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
12 oz chocolate chips or chunks
3.5oz chopped walnuts/pecans
She combines the soda and flour in a bowl, and in another bowl combines butter, sugars, salt, vanilla, then stirs in the eggs, then dry ingredients just until combined. Follwed by chocolate and nuts (I skipped the nuts). The dough must stand for 2-12 hours, and be softened again at room temp before use.
Scoop onto cookie sheets (ungreased and unlined), bake at 375F for 9-11 minutes, rotating trays halfway through. Sit for 2 min before removing to cooling racks.
Bake at 375 for 9-11 min (according to book intro, she bakes everything in a conventional oven without convection, so I left my convection setting off).
These were much better than the others, but STILL significantly cakey.
So clearly, I am either doing something wrong, or my ingredients in South Africa are not translating well from the US ingredients used to develop the recipes, which is a possibility but unlikely (surely I would have noticed this before in my long experience of baking US recipes here?).
Does anyone have any suggestions here? I've played around with oven settings, leaving the scoops of dough heaped vs squishing them a bit vs totally flattening them just before baking, and I'm just not sure what I'm missing here.