Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

How is it possible that my year old blog does not have a single chocolate chip cookie recipe? Chocolate chip cookies are the holy grail of home bakers. To not have one in my arsenal of recipes is to let down the baking gods. This grave error must be remedied. And I was craving some chocolate chip cookies anyway. Also, this photo arose because the large, crevasse-filled surface of the cookie reminded of the moon, and I thought I’d give it some high-contrast definition with the lamp.

This recipe is a trusty Cook’s Illustrated one. The recipe itself is a little finicky in terms of steps – you have to brown the butter, and there’s a convoluted whisk-30-seconds, rest-3-minutes x 2 step in order to incorporate the egg into the butter-sugar mixture. But at least that’s way easier than trying to cream butter without an electric mixer, and also unlike many other successful chocolate chip cookie recipes (read: Jacques Torres NYTimes’ chocolate chip cookies) does not require a rest period. This is as close to instant gratification as you’d get!

I really enjoy the balanced flavors in these cookies. They’re not too sweet, and are well-balanced with the amount of salt and the nutty flavors from the browned butter. However, my cookies seemed to fall a little flat. I think letting them chill before baking would create a cookie with more height. Regardless, these were very tasty and I’d definitely make them again.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 16 large cookies (about 3 inches in diameter)

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

Instructions

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. 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.

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. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

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 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

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