Chocolate Chip Cookies for Everyone
March 6, 2012
Margaux says . . .
I know, I know…here we are posting another &^%#@! Cook’s Illustrated recipe. But I promise, these will be the best chocolate chip cookies you will ever make, so all the extra work that those blasted people at Cook’s make us do is very worth it. They really are for everyone: they’re chewy, soft and crispy all at the same time. Crispy on the edges, chewy and soft in the middle. One of the extra steps is browning the butter, which gives them a nutty, toffee-like flavor (and adds to the chewiness). The whisking and resting for 3 minutes (the other extra step in the recipe) is key to the success of your cookies. I don’t remember the scientific stuff from the original article in Cook’s, but this process, along with the browned butter, is what makes them so chewy on the inside and crispy on the edges. It’s tiresome, I know, but just think of it as extra arm exercises for the day! I promise you will never make a Toll House batch again.
Aunt Suzy says . . .
Randy made these cookies for Valentine’s Day and they were so fabulous, I suggested to Margaux that we each bake a batch and do a joint post. She had made them before so she readily agreed! I must say these are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever eaten for all the reasons Margaux stated. I also proposed that we title these cookies “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ever” :-). These are totally worth the Cook’s Illustrated extra-scientific steps, although when I got to the part where you whisk for 30 seconds and let rest for 3 minutes – TIMES 3! – I thought that a funny video could easily be made about these cookies like the one about CI beef stew that was going around recently. You might be tempted to use an electric mixer, but these cookies are totally done by hand mixing – another thing that contributes to their delicousness.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 16 large cookies.
14 tablespoons (1-3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, divided use
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
1-3/4 cups (8-3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups (7-1/2 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
To prepare oven, baking sheets: Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. (AS note: my cookie sheets were on the small side, so I ended up needing 3.) Set aside.
To brown butter: In 10-inch skillet, melt 10 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. (Note: Avoid using nonstick skillet; dark color of nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when butter is sufficiently browned.) Cook, swirling pan constantly, for 1 to 3 minutes or until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma. Transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Stir until completely melted.
To make cookie dough: Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla to melted butter. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk. Whisk for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and no sugar lumps remain. Let rest for 3 minutes. Whisk for 30 seconds. Let rest and whisk 2 more times or until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. (I think this method sets up the leavening of the cookies, as you can see with the bubbles in the pic.)
In medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda. Using rubber spatula, stir flour mixture into sugar mixture for 1 minute or until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Give dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
To shape and bake cookies: Scoop up 3 tablespoons dough. Roll into ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing balls 2 inches apart.
Bake 1 sheet at a time for 10 to 14 minutes or until cookies are golden brown and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft. (Note: Rotate baking sheet halfway through baking.) Transfer baking sheet to wire rack. Cool to room temperature.
(Margaux): You definitely want to make these the size that the recipe says…I know it seems like really extra-big cookies, but they don’t turn out the same when smaller. I tried making them smaller once (1 1/2 tbsp) in order to get more cookies out of it, and they turned out flatter and crispy. When baking, err on the side of under-done. They still taste great if they get a little over-done, but they’re really great when you take them out when the center looks puffy and slightly raw. Because you let these cookies cool in the pan, they continue to cook after taking out of the oven. I found that for my oven and pan combination (I used a regular aluminum cookie sheet) that 12 minutes was just right.
(Aunt Suzy): Because I like a cookie with not so much chocolate, I used 1 cup of chocolate chips and increased the nuts (pecans) to 1 cup. I agree with Margaux about the amount of cookie dough to use – don’t make them too small, although it’s tempting because these cookies are a lot of work for a small number of end product. I ended up with 19 cookies, a little more than promised. Taking a cue from Cook’s Illustrated, I did an experiment of my own. I baked a batch on an insulated cookie sheet – the kind with air in-between 2 layers of metal – and a batch on a regular aluminum cookie sheet. They came out very different! The ones on the insulated spread out more and those on the non-insulated sheets were rounder and a little more well-done. Perfect timing for my oven was 10 min for non-insulated and 12 min for the insulated. Both batches taste great, but if you’ve got an insulated cookie sheet, I’d recommend using it.