Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I haven't posted any large quantity cookies recipes recently. This post by Mary at Growlies Recipe Exchange and Party Planning Board reminded me of my father's chocolate chip cookies (and here). Here's what Mary asked:

I need to bake 1,200 chocolate chip cookies. I was looking at the recipe for Big Batch Chocolate chip cookies and it looks like a good place to start. How many times will I need to multiply this recipe?
I advised Mary that I'd would start with the size of her mixer. Unless you have access to a large commercial bakery, I doubt you can fit the dough for 1,200 cookies in one mixing bowl. A 20-quart mixing bowl will yield approximately (at 2/3 of the way full) 32 dozen cookies when using a #30 disher. Using that formula, you'd prepare three to four batches of cookies.

I suppose that you could bake 1,200 cookies in a home kitchen. It'll mix 13 or 14 batches of the cookie dough recipe (which is similar to the big batch recipe she references). With three sheets per oven batch (one-dozen cookies per sheet), that means you'll need to bake about 33 oven loads. Assuming you can bake three loads per hour, you're looking at a 10- to 12-hour job.

I'd turn to a commercial kitchen any time you're looking at massive quantities of food. Locate a kitchen, like a church, non-profit or a rental facility (like the Kitchen Chicago, a shared-use kitchen), if possible. Commercial kitchens are equipped with multiple ovens and large-scale mixers that make a monumental task seem easy.


This recipe is adapted from Wayne Gisslen's Professional Baking, 4th edition (John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, New Jersey, 2005). This recipe will fit inside a 5-quart Kitchen Aid mixing bowl.
12 ounces butter
10 ounces granulated sugar
10 ounces brown sugar
1/4 ounce salt
6 ounces eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/4 pounds pastry flour
1/4-ounce baking soda
1-1/4 pounds chocolate chips
8 ounces chopped walnuts or pecans

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Cream butter, sugars and salt in a 5-quart mixing bowl with paddle attachment at low speed. For light cookies, cream until the mix is light and fluffy. For denser cookies, blend to a smooth paste, but do not cream until light.

Add eggs and vanilla and blend at low speed. Sift in the flour and baking soda. Mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Do not over mix, or gluten will develop.

Drop onto lightly oiled or parchment-lined sheet pans with a #30 disher. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 10-14 minutes. Makes about 7 dozen cookies.

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