Chocolate Chip Cookies
I love chocolate chip cookies. They are, hands down, one of my most favorite cookies of all time. I won’t even start on chocolate chip cookie dough. Dough is definitely worth the risk of a short bout of salmonella. However, no matter the recipe, chocolate chip cookies always seem to taste better when someone else makes them. Every time I make the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s chocolate chip bag, the cookies turn out differently. What gives?
In attempt to find the best possible chocolate chip cookie recipe, I turned to a source that has yet to let me down: Cooks Illustrated. Their pie crust, brownies, flank steak, and double chocolate cookies were all the best I’ve ever had. Suffice it to say I’ve eaten a lot of brownies, double chocolate cookies and pies in my day (no need to delve to far into embarrassing details) and the Cooks Illustrated final products were definitely the best. I was more than willing to take on Cooks Illustrated’s chocolate chip cookies.
The recipe involved some new-fangled techniques (Melting the butter? What? Why?), but they explain how they reached their final decision for each and every ingredient. All I could do was follow the recipe and pray it was as tried and true as they made it seem.
I didn’t want to make monsterously large cookies like the recipe instructed because with small cookies you can eat more of them, rather than eating one huge cookie. It makes sense, right? However, in making this change I sacrificed the textural changes between the outside (crispy) and the middle (soft and chewy) of the large cookies for the relatively one-dimensional texture of the smaller cookies (crispy and a little softer towards the middle, but not much).
Even so, let me tell you something: these were the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. Ever. I mean it. And the dough was right-darn-tasty too. It stands to reason that if you bake something fantastic, don’t really like to exercise and you have limited self-control, you need to move as far away from said baked good as possible.
This was easily accomplished by giving Nate the cookies to take to work. (Unfortunately, I also kept some at home so I could take pictures the following morning and when I came home from work I ate most of them. Oops.) Apparently one of his coworkers took four cookies and shoved them in his pockets for some on-the-job snacking. And I saw some of his colleagues last night and they were still raving about these cookies. Yup, these chocolate chip cookies really are that good.
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Baking Illustrated)
2 cups + 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.
5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.