Everyone has their own chocolate chip cookie recipe, and let me preface this story by saying this is not the chocolate chip cookie recipe I’m used to making. It’s Cook’s Illustrated so-called “Perfect” Chocolate Chip Cookie.
That’s quite the name to live up to. The perfect chocolate chip cookie? Is there even such a thing?!? Anyways, I decided to give these a shot, and while I wouldn’t say they are perfect, they were still pretty good. They’ve got browned butter in them and are stuffed with chocolate (so are definitely headed in a good direction) but require a little more work than your average chocolate chip cookie. They’re really lovely for chocolate chip cookies, though.
I bring cookies on Wednesdays for class, so yesterday morning I got up early to get the dough together. After running around with Junior until he was good and tired, I was finally able to get to work in the kitchen without his curious little pooch nose constantly sniffing the counters.
After I got the dough together, though, I’ll admit these cookies had already lost a few points on the “perfect” scale. Why, you ask? I’m a cookie dough eater. Always have been. Warn me as many times as you want about the raw eggs and salmonella potential in my cookie dough–I’ll brush your nonsense worries away and steal a bite or two. Or three. Or maybe more….I think we all see where this is going. Anyways! This dough has a fancy-pants version of melted butter in it: browned butter. Which is delicious in its own right. You should make browned butter just for the smell of it! Your kitchen smells like a hug. If hugs had smells, it would be the smell of browned butter enveloping you in a rich, nutty daze. But, whenever you put melted butter in a dough recipe, the dough has a greasy texture that does not make for good eating. I sampled the dough anyways hoping that maybe some of the browned butter magic would overpower the greasiness, but no luck. So, I moved on to baking. The recipe doesn’t call for chilling the dough, and since this came from Cook’s Illustrated, against my better judgement, I decided to trust them on that and stick a batch in unchilled! To you, my lovely readers, I say CHILL THE DOUGH. The unchilled cookies came out relatively thin and crispy on the outside. I don’t want crispy! I want a thick, chewy, soft and gooey cookie! So, into the fridge went the dough while I ran errands.
Somehow I wound up at a pet store (surprise, surprise…) and bought Junior a new ball. Not that he needed it or anything, but it’s blue and rubbery and has feet. And he loves it! I don’t know what it is about the feet, but it makes him go crazy. So, we played outside for a while and then I realized it was cookie time! I’d almost forgotten about the bowl waiting patiently in the fridge. The post-chill baking turned out much better, and again the cookies were snatched up by my classmates this afternoon. Sometimes, when you’re working on an obnoxiously tough math problem (or any problem really), you just need a cookie. Enjoy!
Note: I modified the recipe slightly from the original. I used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate chips and dark chocolate chunks, and refrigerated the dough for a few hours after making it. The original also calls for the entire batch of dough to be made into 16 huge cookies, but I wanted smaller ones, so I adjusted baking times to account for that.
Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
makes 40 cookies
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups chocolate (I used 3/4 cup semisweet chips and 3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks)
Whisk the flour and baking soda together and set aside. In a 10 inch skillet, heat 10 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan, for 2-3 more minutes until the butter is a dark golden brown with a rich, nutty aroma. You’ll know it when you smell it. Depending on your stove, you might have to go a little more than 3 minutes, but that’s okay. Then, add the browned butter to a large heat-proof bowl and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, stirring until melted. Then, add the sugars, salt, and vanilla, and whisk until everything is combined. Add the egg and yolk and whisk until no sugar lumps remain.
Here’s the hardest part (“hard” here doesn’t actually mean hard though, just harder than the rest of the process): let the mixture rest for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the resting and mixing two more times. You should end up with a shiny, smooth concoction. Then, stir in the flour mixture and fold in the chocolate, making sure there aren’t any hidden flour chunks in the dough. Stick that bowl in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours to chill. When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375. Line a pan with parchment paper or a silicon liner and scoop dough onto the pan by rounded tablespoon, baking for 6-8 minutes. Remove the cookies when they still look under-baked but the outside is set. Leave them on the pan to cool for 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.