Chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite desserts. When they're homemade, they never fail me. Over the years I've tried a lot of different recipes, but my favorite is one that I've adapted from Cooks Illustrated. It literally makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Lightly crisped on the outside, but moist and ooey-gooey on the inside. Here's a peek at the best chocolate chip cookies in the making, and the recipe (complete with a few chocolate chip cookie game-changing tips) below!
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 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (Optional, of course. Sometimes when I feel like being a chocolate chip cookie purist, I don't put these in.)
1. 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. Here's game-changing tip number one: Melt your butter, rather than just beating it in with the other dry ingredients. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 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. Game-changing tip number two, you're going to do this a few times. 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 you want nuts, that is), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches. Tip number three, if you're using separate sheets, bake each sheet separately, rather than simultaneously on two different racks. That's a recipe for uneven cookie baking, so take the extra 10 minutes to bake those bad boys evenly.)
5. Bake cookies 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. Game-changing tip number four: I like to undercook the cookies just slightly. Remember, these little beauties will continue to cook through on the pan after you take them out of the oven. As soon as they start to get golden brown at about ten minutes, I immediately take them out.
6. Pat yourself on the bat for being such an amazing chocolate chip cookie baker and enjoy!
Next week I'll be using these yummy cookies as part of another delicious dessert. But you'll have to stay tuned to find out what it is!