Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Oh, Cook's Illustrated, you've done it again!

These really are amazing chocolate chip cookies. Big and chewy, with a TON of flavor. Toffee and chocolate and yum. And they only take a few more minutes than the usual Toll House cookies.

This is dangerous.

It's so simple, too -- just a little more brown sugar than the standard recipe, one fewer egg white, and - swoon - browned butter. It's the strangest thing -- as you stir the unmelted butter into the browned butter, you can smell toffee, even though there has been no sugar involved yet. It's wonderful.

I made two batches in as many days -- one for us, and one to send to a family friend who recently started treatment for breast cancer.

I think they'll cheer her up!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Cook's Illustrated

1-3/4 cups (8-3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 Tbsp (1-3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (preferably dark brown)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1-1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Cook's Illustrated's preferred chip is Ghirardelli 60% cocoa, and I agree)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional - I did not include these)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18"x12") baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a 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 a nutty aroma, 1-3 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.

3. 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. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.

4. During one of the rest times, whisk flour and baking soda together in a small bowl and set aside.

5. After final rest, us a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough a final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

6. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 disher). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.

7. 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 cooking. Transfer sheet to wire rack; cool for as long as you can stand it before diving in.


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