Senior editor of books Stephanie Pixley was charged with one of the most difficult tasks while developing recipes for our latest title, Naturally Sweet: she had to reinvent the chocolate chip cookie. How did Stephanie manage to cut out the granulated sugar and get chocolate chip cookies that were still crisp on the edges with a chewy interior? I caught up with Stephanie to discuss her development process, which included a lot of trial and error—she made 75 versions of the recipe, or approximately 1200 cookies, until she got it just right.
At what point during development did you realize that bittersweet chocolate worked better than semisweet chocolate?
I realized early on that the chocolate we used could help or hinder us in our development of the perfect low-sugar chocolate chip cookie. Sugar plays a very important structural role in baked goods. Simply eliminating half the sugar in our favorite cookie recipe left us with tough, dry hockey pucks, but we were committed to developing a recipe with 30 to 50% less sugar. Since every gram of sugar counted, I decided to take a closer look at the chocolate. I put our favorite recipe through our nutritional program and found that nearly half of the grams of sugar in our favorite recipe were coming from the chocolate. Switching to bittersweet chocolate in the dough meant that we had room to use more Sucanat—which is more important for the structure of the cookie than the added chocolate—while still using a generous amount of chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate was also better suited to the bold flavor of Sucanat in our cookies.