Fifteen Spatulas

Should You Age Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough?

Aged Chocolate Chip Cookies
Aged chocolate chip cookies…?

What is this, cheese or something???

For months now, I’ve heard over and over again that aging chocolate chip cookie dough before baking makes a big difference in the resulting cookie.

My first judgement was that this was a gimmick.

I mean, how on earth was I even supposed to find out if it wasn’t?

I can’t leave chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge for 3 days.

It’s too tempting. Me want cookie.

Me want cookie now.

Not in 3 days.

But the time came when I finally had to test this out for myself.

This all started when I came across an article David Leite published in the New York Times in 2008.

Read the article for the nitty gritty details, but in a nutshell, chilling the dough in the fridge for a few days allows the dry ingredients to fully soak up the wet ingredients, which results in a better texture when you bake the cookie, and not to mention, better flavor.

Aged Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

So what’s my conclusion?

I went into this as a complete skeptic.

Mainly because like I said, I don’t want there to be a reason to wait 36 hours for cookies.

But I have to say, I think they’re right. Aging makes a difference.

And in hindsight, I shouldn’t be surprised.

I put pasta salad in the fridge to let the flavors meld, and I let yeasted bread doughs age in the fridge to develop a good texture and good flavor.

These cookies are just one more example where a little time makes a big difference in both flavor and texture.

I really didn’t make many changes from the recipe on Leite’s Culinaria, but will say that baking time makes a big difference in the resulting cookie.

This is what the 15 minute cookie looked like (the one my husband prefers) :

Aged Chocolate Chip Cookies

And this is what the 20 minute cookie looked like (the one I prefer):

Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Big difference, you see?

The “underbaked” 15 minute cookie doesn’t allow enough time to set the full texture of the cookie, resulting in a flatter but chewier, denser, and softer cookie.

The 20 minute cookie baked for long enough to set the texture of the cookie and is about twice as thick as the 15 minute cookie. It’s more crumbly, with a crisp exterior but a soft interior, and is much thicker.

The choice is yours! Have fun baking your cookies and share your thoughts with us in the comments section. How do you like your chocolate chip cookies baked? Do you age the dough?

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Comments

  1. Mi Vida en un Dulce posted on June 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm (#)

    I heard in some place to have the dough for next day in the fridge, of course I never tried. I just put the entire dough for 1 hour just to be more easy to make the dough balls. I also freeze so I can bake cookies often without making the dough again.
    So, looking at yout results, I will fridge before baking, just wondering the procedure when you have to bake freezing ones, maybe we have to trasfer to the fridge first for a couple of day…!!!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 28th, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Nydia, Yeah, freezing is a nice option too! I like doing that as well, then I find I don’t eat the cookie dough as much LOL.

  2. Dawn (Dawn's Recipes) posted on June 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm (#)

    I do always try to chill my dough, but I’d never known you should “age” it. I guess that’s where my laziness pays off when I don’t get around to baking it for a couple of days. :)

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 28th, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Hey Dawn! hahaha, laziness does have its benefits then, I suppose! For me, I feel like I can never wait…usually only half of each batch of cookies I make makes it into the oven. I’m a sucker for refrigerated cookie dough!

  3. Candace posted on June 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm (#)

    I read that article in the NY times in 2008 and was amazed at the difference in taste and texture it made for my cookies. The hardest part is remembering to make the dough 36 hours before you want the cookies and not eating all the cookie dough one bite at a time in the meantime. (I once gained 5 pounds as a result.). If your self-discipline is strong, this is the way to make cookies.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 28th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Candace, I love your comment, thanks for sharing your thoughts and personal experience! HAHA I’m the same way, I love cookie dough…can’t resist the stuff!!!

  4. Mary Gillette posted on June 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm (#)

    Another great option with CHOC CHIPPERS is to “brown” the butter and let it cool for a few when making the dough; then do the rest routine. Browning the butter brings out the flavor and everyone RAVES about the cookies and can’t quite pick up what is different about them.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 28th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      Mary, thanks for sharing your tip with us. Brown butter is fantastic stuff. I bet brown butter chocolate chip cookies are absolutely delicious, it’s on the to-do list!

  5. Joy posted on June 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm (#)

    I tend to age my cookies just because I forget about it. I did have a strange occurance happened at my house when my husband was eating a cookie I made a couple of days ago and he was saying it tasted bettee then when it first came out of the oven.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 28th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      Joy, isn’t that funny? A cookie hot from the oven will definitely be different the next day. It’s fascinating how different timings can really change the baked good!

  6. Kristina posted on June 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm (#)

    I used to work at a bakery that did cookie deliveries (you know, like pizza but with cookies!). We would make up our cookie dough, shape it into balls and then place them in the freezer in large containers. I don’t know exactly how long we let the cookies freeze, but it wasn’t longer than a week. I remember that our cookies were thicker and more cake-like, but I thought that was based off the recipe and ingredients we used (which weren’t the best considering the owner tried to skim however she could). I could see how the freezing had something to do with it. I’ll definitely try this, but I don’t think my family will wait that long for cookies!!!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 28th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Kristina, Wow, that’s an awesome bakery! haha. Yeah, there are so many variables, it’s just insane. Even when you bake a cookie that’s really cold vs. a cookie dough that is at room temperature, it makes such a big difference. There are thousands of ways a chocolate chip cookie can turn out!

  7. Kim Bee posted on June 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm (#)

    I love this post. It does make such a difference in the cookie. But then it’s so hard to wait 3 days to make them. I’d worry I’d eat all the dough by the time the 3 days were up. I think the only solution is to make a new batch every single day so you never run out. Your cookies look incredible and make me want to hop on a plane for one.

  8. anne posted on June 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm (#)

    Lately , I’ve been chilling my cookie dough for several hours before baking . It really made some difference ! Not for 3 days though , who could wait that long to bake cookies anyway ?! lol Cold cookie dough won’t spread too much and much more thicker and cakier , well , if you like that kind . If you love thin and crisp just bake it right away !

  9. Diane posted on June 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm (#)

    I have never aged my cookie dough…I might try it. I do not like brown cookies but I can see baking them longer so they are baked. What about baking them longer but maybe at 325 degrees rather than 350?

  10. Joan@Chocolateandmore posted on June 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm (#)

    Hummm, never thought about the flavors developing. The only time I refrigerate cookie dough is if the recipe calls for it. I could never wait 3 days to eat a cookie knowing the dough is right there in the fridge. I have a hard enough time just waiting for the butter to soften! I do freeze cookie dough, just so anytime we want hot out of the oven cookies, I can pop some in but I always let the dough thaw completely before baking. Might have to do some experimenting and taste testing on this. Oh the sacrifices we make to create the best cookies!

  11. Greg posted on June 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm (#)

    I can honestly say I’ve never pondered this question before. Maybe the best approach is to make two batches. One for now, one for three days from now.

  12. Jody Wilson posted on June 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm (#)

    How very interesting! I will have to store mine in the extra fridge for the 3 days! My hubby and kids would eat it all if they found it!!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 30th, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Haha, I know it’s tough! I ended up eating some of the dough anyway, but it’s such a big batch so it’s okay =)

  13. Raymund posted on July 1, 2012 at 4:52 am (#)

    Interesting, I think I will try to age some cookie dough next weekend.

  14. Tommy posted on July 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm (#)

    See, I’m all for better, tastier, more flavorful cookies. But my lack of patience makes this a horrible (and horribly) long process. Sigh. I’m going to have to suck it up and try it, I suppose. I think I’d prefer the 20 minute baked cookies too … crispy outside, soft inside is my kind of cookie.

  15. Meg posted on July 2, 2012 at 10:39 am (#)

    I have to side with your husband on this one: I love the gooey, “underbaked” cookie much more than the crispy version. In fact, if I baked the above, I would have pried that gooey thing right off the cookie sheet and devoured it before anyone in the house was any the wiser!

    Very interesting about aging cookie dough . . . it does make sense, when you think about it, but I don’t know if I’m patient enough to try it! That requires planning I’m not terribly good about. But who knows!

  16. Noelle posted on July 3, 2012 at 10:39 am (#)

    It’s so funny, cause I actually learned this on my own, completely by accident! A few years ago, my friends and I were having a cookie baking party (yes, we’re nerds haha), and I was trying to get some prep work done a few days ahead so we wouldn’t all be tripping over each other in the kitchen. Well I made my chocolate chip cookie dough about 2 days before the party because I figured it wouldn’t hurt to chill the dough in the fridge longer than an hour. And when I baked up the cookies, everyone was all “These are the best cookies EVER! The texture is so great! What did you do?” And I’m wracking my brain…and then it dawned on me…I chilled the dough longer! Cookie success.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 3rd, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      HAHA yes, it’s astounding to watch the texture change! The dough starts to dry a bit after the liquid distributes itself more throughout the dough and the flour absorbs the eggs and all that. Thanks for sharing your story, so funny!

  17. Kristen posted on July 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm (#)

    The only way I could ever age cookie dough is if I bought a second fridge and installed some kind of lock and alarm on it. Yup, that’s not going to happen, so as long as I have teenage boys in the house, I won’t get to try aged cookie dough. Maybe I could disguise it….

  18. Barbara posted on July 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm (#)

    If you don’t want your family to eat the cookie dough while it is ageing, wrap it in saran wrap, then butcher paper, write LIVER on it in a black felt tip pen. Just write it once, so people don’t start thinking. Then, when no one else is home (or around) take it out and bake them! Works everytime around here!

    Good luck with it!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on July 10th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      LMAO!!!! This might be my favorite comment ever. Absolutely hysterical!

  19. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie posted on July 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm (#)

    How curious. The next time I don’t need cookies asap, I will have to try this! I do practice the putting cookie dough balls in the freezer for later technique.

  20. Averie @ Averie Cooks posted on November 2, 2012 at 11:15 pm (#)

    I am posting these on Monday! 16.5 minutes is my magic # for baking time. My husband is at about 18 mins. If I had more dough, I’d try 15 mins. I’m with your hubs, I love underbaked cookies :) But I dunno if I will remake them. So many cookie recipes to try but I can check this one off my list at least now!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on November 3rd, 2012 at 9:14 am

      The life of a food blogger…you never make the same thing twice! lol. I know what you mean. There are too many other cookie recipes to try, but it was fun to blind taste test it. Looking forward to your post!

  21. Julie posted on November 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm (#)

    This is a great post. I think I like my cookies on the browner side. I have made cookie dough and formed it into balls and frozen them for later baking. I never thought to make a comparison though. Does this technique hold true for any kind of cookie dough?

    • Joanne Ozug replied on November 13th, 2012 at 4:08 am

      Hi Julie, thank you. I would say that this technique holds true for many foods in general. Just like when you make something like a bean salad or certain dishes where the instructions say “let it sit for several hours to allow the flavors to meld,” often times “time” will improve a dish quite a bit. What other cookies are you thinking?

  22. Stacie posted on January 16, 2013 at 11:39 pm (#)

    I’m curious to know if you’ve ever used stoneware for baking. I LOVE mine, and love that my cookies turn out better than they EVER did on regular baking pans. I’m excited to try aging my dough first, though, and then putting them on my stoneware to bake. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

    I am REALLY excited that a friend led me to your blog tonight! Can’t wait to learn more from you. I’m a little curious about where Fifteen Spatulas came from. Is there a story behind the name?

    • Joanne Ozug replied on January 17th, 2013 at 12:55 am

      Stacie, welcome! I’m so glad you’re enjoying Fifteen Spatulas so far. The name came from my large spatula collection…don’t tell anyone but I now have more than fifteen LOL. I’m one of those people who has to scrape every last bit of food from the bowl.

      I’ve never tried stoneware but I am curious about it. What brands/pieces do you use?

      • Stacie replied on January 17th, 2013 at 1:05 am

        I’m a Pampered Chef girl, when it comes to stoneware. It takes a little bit of adjusting, but I can bake my chocolate chip cookies to perfection in between 12-15 minutes at 350. It does take a few minutes longer than a regular sheet, but they bake so much more evenly, and I’ve NEVER had burnt bottoms on my cookies. That’s what I didn’t love about cookie sheets, because it seemed to happen more frequently than I cared for.

        I know that there is other stoneware out there; you just have to look for it. But I won’t give up my two Pampered Chef stones. http://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=164&catId=9&parentCatId=9&outletSubCat=

        I even went through a Pampered Chef stoneware phase on eBay a few years back (2003 or 2004, maybe?) and bought up as much as I could when it was a good price, including shipping.

        They’re easy to clean, you just rinse them off, no detergent recommended, because it can ruin the nonporous properties. But they’re amazing. After a few uses, they build up their own non-stick coating. I know this is long, but can you tell that I LOVE this product?? ;)

        • Joanne Ozug replied on January 17th, 2013 at 12:24 pm

          Cool! I have never come across anything from Pampered Chef, believe it or not! I have heard great things though.

  23. Catherine posted on March 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm (#)

    I always let my cookie dough sit on the counter covered with plastic wrap for several hours to let the dough rest and get soft and sweet…the cookies (oatmeal raisin, walnut, chocolate chip are fabulous. Then I freeze them before I give them away.

  24. Corinne posted on March 13, 2013 at 6:09 am (#)

    Wow, thanks for sharing. That’s a really interesting study. I never thought of the aging process effecting how hard or soft the cookies were. I always assumed it’d be related to the flavor, not the texture.

  25. Karly posted on May 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm (#)

    I tried aging cookie dough. Once.

    It wasn’t that they weren’t totally delicious. It was just…yeah. Me want cookie now, too. No patience over here!

    Also, you burnt your cookie. Your husband is totally right on this one. ;)

  26. Trish - Mom On Timeout posted on May 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm (#)

    I always try to refrigerate my dough for an hour or two but 3 days?? I so do not have the patience for that :) I would love to try this out for myself – maybe bake half of the dough up right away and then try the other half in a few days. I’m definitely with your husband on this one – underdone is the way I like mine!

  27. carrian posted on May 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm (#)

    I can’t believe it but I ended up agreeing. It’s my patience that dies though.

  28. Monica posted on June 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm (#)

    Haha I totally have the same problem with self-control and impatience. When I make my cookies, I want my cookies immediately. Still, I think you’re right that there is some wisdom in letting the cookie dough “age” or chill for a while. Maybe I’ll give it a try next time (:

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 14th, 2013 at 9:50 am

      lol glad to know I’m not the only one! The cravings come on quickly and need to be satisfied immediately. Sometimes now I make a big batch, bake half immediately, then “age” the rest for later. Then I get both experiences…and extra cookies! Which is good and bad ;)

  29. Tori posted on June 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm (#)

    Hi Joanne!

    So I’ve made the recipe the link gives, but every time I scoop my chilled dough onto the pan, the cookies don’t spread like yours. How did you get your cookies to be that way? Do you let your dough come to room temperature? Does it have to do with the temperature of my fridge?

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 21st, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Hi Tori, are you flattening the cookie dough balls with your hand or the bottom of a glass before putting the cookie dough in the oven?

      • Tori replied on June 21st, 2013 at 3:09 pm

        Is that what I’m doing wrong? I wasn’t sure as various recipes differ and the one Leite provided didn’t specify. Thanks!

        • Joanne Ozug replied on June 24th, 2013 at 12:48 pm

          That’s my first guess. Temperature could have something to do with it too. Let me know what happens!

  30. Jonnie posted on August 5, 2013 at 10:35 pm (#)

    I have used this method since I found a gluten-free recipe that recommends this! It completely makes a hugh difference in the taste of the cookies! Thanks for spreading the news!

  31. Matt posted on August 7, 2013 at 11:27 am (#)

    Think this works with cookies other than choc chip? Thinking of trying with a batch of snickerdoodles.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on August 7th, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Matt, I think it works with all sorts of doughs, so absolutely. It’s the same deal with bread, aged doughs are more flavorful. It’s certainly worth an experiment.

      • Matt replied on August 9th, 2013 at 11:33 am

        So yikes, 3 days in the fridge was tough, but I baked the snickerdoodles this morning and they came out great. Thanks for the tip.

        • Joanne Ozug replied on August 10th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

          Haha, I know, it’s so hard to be patient! Usually I end up baking off half the dough right there, then “aging” the other half.

  32. Diane posted on October 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm (#)

    I was reading an article on Wally Amos, and he believes in keeping his ingredients very cold and he chills the dough as well. I find that the texture of the cookies is better if it is chilled, and it prevents it from spreading too much while baking for a softer cookie. I will have to also try aging the dough! Your recipes look so good! I am going to try making the dark chocolate cake (http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/dark-chocolate-cake-with-roasted-chestnut-buttercream/) with sunflower seed butter buttercream frosting (http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/chocolate-cupcakes-with-peanut-butter-buttercream/). I’m basing it on the PB version, but I have allergies. This will be perfect because I don’t like to bake sunflower seed butter into recipes because it reacts to baking powder and turns green, making it look unappetizing, though the flavor is always great. This gives the chocolate/”SB” combination and no green! ;) Great blog, keep up the great work!

  33. Ida Sulaiman posted on October 11, 2013 at 12:41 am (#)

    I am new to fifteen spatulas and really love your website.

    I love baking Oatmeal Raisin cookies and my friends in the office like it so much. I want to check with you whetgher this will also be fine to age the oatmeal cookies dough? as the basic ingredient is rolled oats. Thanks.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on October 11th, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Hi Ida, wonderful! Welcome. Hope you enjoy the recipes!

      I think aging the oatmeal raisin cookie dough would be interesting. You could even divide a batch in two, and age one half to see if you think it makes a difference.

  34. Alley @ Alley's Recipe Book posted on October 17, 2013 at 11:43 pm (#)

    Once you start refrigerating your dough, you can’t stop… because you know how much better it could be in 24 hours. I’m not sure how much more melding of ingredients could happen after the first 24 hours. I haven’t waited that long to find out. I just know even an hour of refrigeration makes a difference!

  35. zim posted on October 27, 2013 at 10:25 am (#)

    With a 4 and 5 year old, there is no way I can age the dough, however if I double the batch, and age half…
    I do wonder about the leavener though. The initial lift would be dead and gone after 72 hours in the fridge, however since most leaveners are double acting I’d still get the benefit of the second lift when the cookie hits 170 degrees in the oven. Is that single lift enough to get the job done?

  36. Lisa posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:29 am (#)

    I let them sit overnight and they come out great. The last batch of chocolate chip I did sat longer because other things interfered with the baking and I didn’t really care for the way they turned out. The were a little flatter and didn’t have that chewy consistency that leaving them overnight gives me.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on January 14th, 2014 at 8:11 am

      That’s wonderful, Lisa!

  37. Matea posted on July 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm (#)

    I found out about the ‘magic’ of refrigerating cookie from my sister’s chemistry teacher (gotta love a chemistry teacher who takes his knowledge into the kitchen!)Hands-down those chocolate chip cookies were and are the best I’ve ever made! It takes patience and self-control not to eat the dough, but it’s totally worth it!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on August 1st, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Haha yes, I imagine chemistry knowledge would be awesome for baking and cooking!!

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