Wednesday, March 17, 2010

THE Chocolate Chip Cookie

The chocolate chip cookie. Lunchbox filler, after school treat and bake sale favorite. Sadly, often unappreciated and forgotten amongst the myriad of cookie recipes calling my name. I do love a good Tollhouse cookie but sometimes they're just pedestrian, leaving me wanting more. A perfect balance of chewy, crispy, rich flavor. Sometimes an "updated" version isn't as good as a Tollhouse and I go back to it. It's a viscous cycle - searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Never one to give up, I have continued the search for this cookie of my dreams. Thanks to my good friend, Georgine, the search is over. She suggested I try this Cook's Illustrated recipe, extolling it's many virtues. She has a great palate, especially with things sweet, and I trusted her instincts implicitly. To say that it is stellar is an understatement. Pale, soft and chewy centers, golden and delicately crisp at the edges. The dark brown sugar and browned butter impart a noteworthy butterscotch essence. I love butterscotch.

Treat your self. Treat your family. Thank Georgine.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Cook's Illustrated-The Cookie Jar episode
Like the Jacque Torres recipe, this would be great with a sprinkle of sea salt, too.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4oz.)
1/2 t. baking soda
14 T. unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 t. table salt
2 t. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

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 a medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a 10" 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 use a 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 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. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

Divide dough into 16 portions each about 3 tablespoons. Arrange 2" apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.

Bake cookies one tray at a time until cookies are golden brown, still puffy, and the 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 completely before serving (although they are especially delicous when warm and squishy.)

1 comment:

Georgine said...

Would you believe Mike doesn't like this cookie? He likes the cakey chocolate chip cookies I make from Martha. I am thinking I need to try this butter/sugar method with oatmeal raisin cookies.