Crafting the Ultimate Cookie

Few things can match the sheer nostalgic joy of eating a warm, homemade chocolate chip cookie - no matter how poorly it's baked. Who among us can be trusted to sit next to a plate of cookies and not slowly consume them like some kind of treat-centric black hole?

But that's no excuse for the sheer number of awful drop cookie recipes out there. They're often packed with so much sugar they'll make your teeth hurt and the only clue that there was even an attempt at balance is the bitter, metallic tinge of baking soda.

So, we synthesized a recipe for an average drop cookie from some of the most popular sources online. Something that would fit the traditional expectation of a drop cookie and give us a simple starting point to get to the heart of just what makes a cookie tick (Kitchenomicon does not endorse eating ticking cookies).

Then, we systematically worked our way through batch after batch of these cake-y little bastards to find out what defines the essence of not just what a cookie is, but what it can be. Over 40 batches of cookies later, the results turned out to be simple: leavening, sugar, and fat.

Trial 1: Leavening

Batch123
Leaveningn/a6g soda4g soda + 5g cream of tartar
Flavorbutterbittersugar
Oven Spreadn/athinmoderate
Appearancedark baseevengolden

Trial 2: Sugar

Batch123
Sugar (300g)cane sugarbrown sugardextrose
Sweetnessextremeluxuriousmild
Oven Spreadthinmoderatenone
Texturecrispysoftcakey

Trial 3: Fat

Batch123
Fat (226g)buttercoconut oilshortening
Flavorsugarcoconutpie crust
Oven Spreadthinminimalminimal
Appearancegoldenbrown/oilygolden/dense