HOWTO make 36-hour perfect cookies in 3 hours


19 Responses to “HOWTO make 36-hour perfect cookies in 3 hours”

  1. spokehedz says:

    I used to do this all the time, with a vacuum pump that I found at a flea market. What I thought I was doing was pulling out all the air in-between the flour and water therefore allowing them to get closer together and hydrate the flour better. Turns out I was technically right.

    The benefit of the vacuum pump is that you can put the entire batch into mason jars (They make them pretty big, if you look hard enough) and they keep in the fridge for MONTHS and possibly years, but I always ate them before I could get that far.

    I have no idea how many… Umm… anti-PSI? I pulled on the dough… the gauge broke (was what was wrong with the vac in the first place) and I put a plug in it to make it work. I worked out a time method and listening to the motor start to chug for my jars–but I am positive that it would be wrong for another model of pump or jar size.

    Cookies made in March taste the exact same in October. With no refrigeration. They are shelf stable, at least as long as I have tested them.

    My reasons for this are as follows:

    No air = no bacteria can form
    Vacuum = ruptured cell walls of bacteria

  2. Anonymous says:

    One, anerobic bacteria could thrive in a low-oxygen environment. Just sayin’.

    Two, they now sell in supermarkets vacuum apparati:

  3. Lynn says:

    I’m don’t especially like to bake, so I buy the pre-made cookie dough at the store. They’re not as good as from scratch, but they’re pretty good. I’m sure the dough is more than 36 hours old by the time I buy it, but would that be considered aging time? The packages aren’t vac. sealed, but are air tight. Just wondering…

  4. Anonymous says:

    well, then, there goes molecular gastronomy….

  5. Anonymous says:


    My mom did the broccoli thing when I was a kid, but with boiled broccoli, including the bonus points for opening it indoors. The smell is amazingly horrible.

  6. yo soy says:

    I wonder if the vacuum effect has similar effects on vegan chocolate chip cookies. Anybody know?


  7. buttseks says:

    I’ve started to hate Ideas in Food.

  8. vespabelle says:

    I freeze my cookie dough in long cylinders, that way, I can easily make the same sized cookies, and can make only as many as I want/need to eat.

    mmm cookies…

  9. latteberry says:


    Actually, I think you’ve been pretty lucky with the cookie dough sitting on the shelf. If you make it with eggs, it’s pretty risky keeping it sitting on a shelf even with a vacuum.

    Maybe the cooking process kills the bacteria before you eat it.

    The vacuum doesn’t really stop things from deteriorating–it just slows it down.

    If you doubt what I’m saying, try sealing some raw broccoli in a mason jar and stick it in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

    Then open the jar.

    Extra points if you open it inside your house.

  10. skarbreeze says:

    I’m pumped to try this method – making good cookies is a pursuit well worth some education and time investment in my book.

  11. the_coffeegirl says:

    I think I’ve just found the key to making my super awesome cookies even better. Unfortunatly, I don’t have a vaccuum sealer, so it’ll be the 36 hour method for me.

  12. mujadaddy says:

    High altitude recipe?

  13. hscohen says:

    Ideas in Food concludes: “This technique opens doors for other dough preparations from pie to biscuit to cracker to puff dough bases which would be able to be made and formed with very little working of the dough, just compression and nearly instant hydration. In fact, in looking just at the process of hydration perhaps compression can and should be applied from nuts to legumes.”

    Eh? Compression by vacuum?

  14. Snowpea says:

    I love the Ideas in Food duo. Theirs is a blog worth reading for its remarkable culinary adventurousness. I always leave with new ideas and inspiration for my own cookery.

    However, as Coffeegirl, I am sadly vacuum-deprived. But I’m not even going to do the 36 hours thing cuz, well, I have managed to lose 10 kilos to the universe and I’d like to keep it that way LOL!

  15. Snowpea says:


    when you seal the food and suck out the air from the air, the stuff gets very compressed, both by the bag itself and the fact that all the air gets pulled from the food itself.

    You can macerate sealed food with novel flavourings. You unseal the bag and the marinade gets sucked straight into the stuff.

    Actually, craisins and other dry cranberries that are variously flavoured are treated that way. Suck out cranberry juice through vacuum and obtain dry cranberries, nicely collapsed (and cranberry juice, natch). Introduce vacuumed berries into a small amount of grape juice and unseal. SLURP! Voilà, grape flavoured dried cranberries.

  16. Conkle says:

    #4: With all the air (more or less) removed from the dough, the ambient air pressure is free to compress it. Imagine the wall of an empty container: the air inside is at ambient pressure (let’s say 1 atm, or about 14.7 pounds per square inch) and the air outside is also at 14.7 psi. Now remove the air from the inside. The pressure of the ambient air still acts on the wall: 14.7 pounds on each square inch. Hence, pressure; hence, compression.

    It might be more intuitive to imagine something like a sponge in a bag; as the pressure differential increases, the net force on the bag’s surface “compresses” the sponge like a spring.

    The Wikipedia article on “Vacuum” is pretty good.

  17. Girl Detective says:

    I tried the NYT recipe without a vacuum, and waited 31 hours to make the first batch, and 47 to make the second. The 47 hour batch was indeed better and browned more nicely. But the wait (and timing it for when to bake them) was tedious, and the dough very hard to scoop after refrigeration. Letting it warm up a bit interfered with browning.

    Pam Anderson has a similar Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that calls for scooping the dough, then freezing for about 30 minutes. This recipe has great results in a shorter time, and using AP flour.

    More on my results of the NYT recipe, and the Pam Anderson recipe here

Leave a Reply