The quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie seems neverending. Periodically, you'll see a new recipe and nearly every food blogger will give it a try to see if it will be "the one". I've been pretty happy with the recipe Martha has in her Martha Stewart's Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share cookbook. I've also made the Nestle Tollhouse cookie many, many times.
When I received the May/June issue of Cook's Illustrated I noticed that they had decided to try to perfect the Tollhouse cookie recipe. They took the usual methodical approach to making changes to the recipe and I think some of the changes actually made an impact on the cookies.
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Melting the butter and browning it really added a new dimension to these cookies. A nutty, almost toffee flavor, which coincidentally was what the author of the article was trying to accomplish. Now, I opted to make my cookies the traditional size - 1 tablespoon drop cookies. The recipe suggests increasing them to 3 tablespoon drop cookies. The purpose is to create the crisp edges and maintain the moist and soft center of the cookies.
The extra step of browning the butter and allowing the sugars to dissolve into the liquids is worth it. The cookies still had crisp edges and chewy, moist centers even though I made them smaller. I made these while My Boys were having play dates at our house. The 4 boys all enjoyed the cookies and somehow convinced me to let them each have a second cookie.
I got permission from Deborah at Cook's Illustrated to share the recipe here, so please do give it a try. I think that you'll enjoy this version of the perfect chocolate chip cookie as much as we did.
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Cook's Illustrated May/June 2009
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspooons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
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, 1-3 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. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whish 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), givign dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
Divide dough into 16 ortions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.
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.