Mary Tutwiler

Bobby Jindal: cookie connoisseur

by Mary Tutwiler

What’s the first thing governor Bobby Jindal says when he arrives home at the mansion after a hard day vetoing bills? “Me want cookie” might not be too far off, although it seems our governor is more of a cookie connoisseur than cookie monster. The Advocate reports that the cook staff at the mansion produced what Jindal described as a perfect cookie a few weeks ago, but then was unable to duplicate it. Finally after a few failed attempts to recreate the gourmet treat, the cooks fessed up that they had run out of dough, Jindal was on his way home, and in a desperate search, found an old ball of cookie dough in the depths of the mansion’s coolers. That aged dough produced the exquisite cookie the governor now craves. The Advocate reports “the cooks agreed to make more cookies that way as long as Jindal did not offer them to anyone else, the governor joked.”

Well it seems, Jindal’s palate, when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, is as refined as the top flight bakers in New York’s tony cookie trade. The New York Times ran a story last week revealing the secret of bakers such as Hervé Poussot and Jacques Torres. While French butter, Belgian chocolate and sea salt all elevate the shopping list at the best bakeries, technique trumps ingredients. And the secret? Let the dough rest in the fridge for 36 hours. Evidently the long hiatus between mixing and baking allows the liquids in slow moving eggs to penetrate the flour thoroughly, producing a better baking dough. At the same time, ageing allows the flavors to develop.

Here’s how The New York Times describes the evolution of flavor over several days.

“At 12 hours, the dough had become drier and the baked cookies had a pleasant, if not slightly pale, complexion. The 24-hour mark is where things started getting interesting. The cookies browned more evenly and looked like handsomer, more tanned older brothers of the younger batch. The biggest difference, though, was flavor. The second batch was richer, with more bass notes of caramel and hints of toffee.

Going the full distance seemed to have the greatest impact. At 36 hours, the dough was significantly drier than the 12-hour batch; it crumbled a bit when poked but held together well when shaped. These cookies baked up the most evenly and were a deeper shade of brown than their predecessors. Surprisingly, they had an even richer, more sophisticated taste, with stronger toffee hints and a definite brown sugar presence.”

Here’s the recipe from The New York Times. We emailed Jindal's communications director, Melissa Sellers, with a cookie query. Seems the mansion cooks inadvertently stumbled on the ultimate chocolate chip cookie secret, and now we’re awaiting the recipe, which we’ll publish, unless it’s covered by one of those non-disclosure bills from the 2008 legislative session.