Much has been made about the idea of “aging” chocolate chip cookie dough. A NYT article highlighting this very thing swept the web a few years back, and this practice has since become the new trend in the world of chocolate chip cookies. I made their sited Jacques Torres recipe, even using the prescribed cake flour, and it was nothing special. The rested cookie dough (aged, I believe, 48 hours) was strictly mediocre: the toffee flavors of the dough were muddy and obscure; the chocolate lacked punch and distinction. I decided this technique was not for me, and I thought nothing more of it.
Tonight I pulled a few unbaked balls of my chocolate chip cookie dough out of the freezer and baked them off. Now this was frozen dough, not rested dough, and I wasn’t expecting much difference in flavor from the original. But I ate them with disappointment. As noted in that prior post, the dough should have a salty, buttery, toffee-like flavor, and the chocolate should be dark and intense against that background, creating the perfect marriage of two contrasts. This was no longer the case. The toffee flavor was, I have to say (and I know I repeat myself) MUDDY. The chocolate’s intensity had dimmed and was now non-descript. The pecans had a mealy texture. This is not an appealing description — especially for the so-called “Second to None” chocolate chip cookie I was so formerly excited about.
I often recommend freezing as the best storage method for maintaining freshness of already-baked goods (as opposed to refrigeration or room-temperature storage), and I’d counted on that to hold true for cookie dough, too. I’d thought that freezing dough would preserve the original character, not alter it. But I was mistaken. The aged/frozen dough still made a tasty cookie, but — if you are like me, and are judicious about your consumption of cookies, wanting them to deliver supreme satisfaction — stick with the freshly-made dough. And then freeze already-baked cookies, to be thawed as needed.