August 13, 2012

Chocolate chip cookies inspired by DoubleTree

It's back to basics today, with a batch of chocolate chip cookies - preferably, warm and fresh from the oven.  It may be hot outside but I think there's always a need for some good cookies around the house.  I know I feel better seeing a jar of homemade cookies on my kitchen counter.  And with the busy (albeit fun) summer schedule right now, let's remember to take a breather and have a cookie break once in a while
This is a cookie I've only made one other time in the past that was inspired by a stay at the DoubleTree hotel about two years ago.  Having never stayed at a DoubleTree until then, I was really (pleasantly) surprised when we were handed a few small bags, each with a warm chocolate chip cookie tucked inside, upon check-in.  I started munching on the way to our room and, boy, were they delicious!  I know it probably helped that I was hungry and tired at the time but seriously, it was good stuff.  I asked the front desk if I could have the recipe when we checked out but, of course, that wasn't possible.  They did offer me a few more cookies for the road but I gratefully declined (for some reason) and was hoping to dig up the recipe somewhere online when I got home.
Unfortunately, the actual recipe seems to be a secret.  The cookie dough itself is apparently made by The Christie Cookie Company in Nashville.  But from my online search, the closest replica to the DoubleTree cookies seemed to be this one.  I decided to make them again last week since I've been thinking about them - possibly because we just returned from a road trip and it was on another one that we tasted those cookies. 

The cookies that come out of my home oven might not be exactly the same as the one I remember but I think it's a close copy and a very good cookie.  I particularly like the little bit of finely ground oats in the dough that gives the cookies a bit more bite and chew (although it is an extra step).
The other interesting or unusual things about this recipe is a bit of cinnamon and a splash of lemon juice in the dough, which you should chill in the refrigerator overnight.  Those additional ingredients are not very discernible, adding just a little something in the background.  I divided my batch and made half with toasted walnuts (above picture, right) and the other without nuts (above, left) for the little guy. 

I'm glad I re-visited this recipe.  It's better than I remembered.  Cheers to the American chocolate chip cookie! 

I made half a recipe, which yields about 14 fairly good size (3 - 3 1/2 inch round) cookies.  The cookies I made with nuts spread less during baking than the ones without.  I also took the convenient route of using chocolate chips for this recipe.  I used semi-sweet chips from Callebaut, which I really like.  Chopped chocolate would be even better.

For half the recipe, start by finely grinding 1/4 cup of rolled oats.  This gets blended with the flour and other dry mixture (baking soda, salt, and touch of cinnamon) and adds a little texture to the cookie dough.
For the wet ingredients, cream a stick of softened butter with a combination of brown and granulated sugars (6 tablespoons each for half the recipe).  Mix in 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.  Then add an egg, mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl, until everything is evenly incorporated.  Add the dry mixture and blend until just combined.  Then stir in 1 1/2 cup of semis-sweet chocolate chips using a rubber spatula.
Also add 3/4 cups of toasted nuts.  I added toasted walnuts to half my chocolate chip cookie dough.  While I prefer my cookies and brownies with plenty of nuts, the little guy in the family is against the idea so I usually go without or do a combination like this.
Transfer the dough to a bowl (or bowls, in my case), cover tightly, and refrigerate it overnight or for up to 3 days.  I think by now, chilling cookie dough has become fairly standard advice/practice.  Doing so should help make a more flavorful cookie, allowing the dry ingredients to absorb the wet, creating a more caramelized flavor, and also reducing spreading when baking.  There's no official guideline on how long it's best to chill the dough - 12 hours, 24, or maybe 36+?
I think chilling cookie dough is a good idea but I confess that I generally can't tell the difference - at least taste wise - between a cookie that comes from dough chilled 12 versus 36 or, say, 48 hours.   That said, however, I did notice that in this case, the cookies I baked from 2-day old dough were darker, more caramelized in color (which I like) than the cookies I made from dough that was chilled about 24 hours.  The pictures below show the 2-day chilled dough on the left and the roughly 1-day chilled dough on the right baked for about the same amount of time.  Taste-wise, I couldn't tell a difference.
When you're ready to bake...

I usually make smaller cookies than what we typically find outside at bakeries and such.  But lately, I think that larger chocolate chip cookies make sense when you're trying to go after that textural balance of crisp edges to soft, chewy center.  I used a large ice cream scoop (about 1/4 cup of cookie dough) and baked the dough in a 350 degree oven for about 16-18 minutes, until the cookies are brown around the sides and still a bit soft in the center.  

I think I forget sometimes how good a simple chocolate chip cookie can be, especially a fresh one still slightly warm from the oven.  The corners are crisp, the center is soft and a little chewy; the cookie itself is not too sweet, letting the flavor of the dark chocolate and nuts come through.  It hits the spot!  With this hot weather, I think a nice frozen drink would go quite nicely with a cookie or two in the afternoon.


Chocolate Chip Cookie inspired by the DoubleTree Hotel
Adapted from this recipe

- Approximately 2 dozen cookies -

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, finely ground
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 18 ounces chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate)
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Whisk ground oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a bowl.

In the bowl of a standmixer, beat the butter with the sugars until combined.  Beat in vanilla and lemon juice.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each until mixture is smooth.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary to make sure ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Add dry mixture and beat until just combined.  Remove bowl from the standmixer, add chocolate chips and nuts, and stir together using a rubber spatula. 

For best results, chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop 1/4 cup rounded portions (using an ice cream scoop) onto the baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.  Bake for about 16-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.  The cookies are done when the edges are brown and the center is slightly soft.  Let cookies cool on the baking sheets a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.


  1. hai its looks lovely.
    and i already made the dough.right now its in my fridge..will be baking tonite.hope it turn out well as yours.

  2. How was it? I really hope you enjoyed them. Fresh chocolate chip cookies from the oven is always a treat. Thanks so much for commenting!

  3. i've made this recipe too, sadly it is nothing like the doubletree cookie, and compered to many other recipes it is not that good, i'm a pastry student so i've had the pleasure of tasting some pretty amazing cookies.

    however, if you make it at 2oz each, flatten them a bit, also lower the oven to 225 and bake for a little longer. than once they are cool bake for an extra 5-8 minutes, they are not too bad. i read online people who made changes to the recipe, i think it is worth looking into.

    i think for starters lowering the amount of butter and chocolate chips will help.

    1. Thanks for sharing your tips and ideas, Maya.



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