cookie nightmares & tortured thoughts
Baking nightmares are common for me. When I'm in the middle of developing a new cookie flavor, it can be consuming. When I was making red velvet, I struggled with the buttermilk & vinegar adding so much moisture to the cookie -- haunting, really -- and it still bugs me that it's such a moist cookie. I'd like to fix it before we put it back on the menu in January.
The other day I came home to nap, and was in a dream where a customer came to pick up cookies, and I didn't have any for her, and I couldn't even remember her order at all! I started to stress out in the dream, but then realized, this situation is so stressful in real life that I would never let it happen -- so somehow I woke myself up.
All that to say, every decision we make about the cookies and our business is very thought out, and sometimes I feel really conflicted about them. We've been collecting feedback here, testing out a bi-annual feedback cycle and rewarding feedback with promo codes. The bi-annual nature of this is to track for consistency.
One piece of feedback was about our gourmet chocolate chip cookie, which we recently made larger. It's one of the cookies that gives me tortured thoughts. This is our second major update to the cookie. Our first-ever version of chocolate chip was smaller and occasionally varied in size/shape. It absolutely killed me that it didn't bake predictably. This was already a recipe built on 40+ versions, but it needed to be consistent. When I changed the recipe and released the first major update, it was a tad sweeter, chewier, and finally consistent in size/shape. There were people who loved the first version more, but it was more important for us to give every customer the same experience every time.
For what it's worth, I loved this update. But I was still baking them 10 at a time in our home oven, and it was truly so inefficient -- especially when I got an order for 200 cookies which took ~4 hours to bake and ~2 hours to individually package. So the second major update, making the cookies larger, was so that I could bake our chocolate chip cookies in our commercial oven. For some reason, the cookie was too small. In the big oven, the cookies would be... pretty ugly. No matter what temperature I tried, it was just blah!! When I changed the size, it spread beautifully.
So yeah, I too liked the previous versions of this cookie :) But its history is... conflicted, as am I. I am, however, happy with the way it spreads, and its newfound crisp-er edges. I am mostly very happy with its consistency, and I'm glad these issues didn't affect any of the pudges.
Along the way, I learned so much about butter temperature and how many millions of things can go wrong in making a cookie. Being a professional baker of cookies is a phenomenally interesting ride (for me). This saying applies "anyone can make a great cookie, but can you make a good cookie under time pressure and for a bajillion people?" or something like that. And I'm growing oh so much in my consistency every day, or week!