Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cook’s Illustrated is one of my most trusted sources on recipes.  I absolutely love the scientific method they take (one of the reasons I love Alton Brown as well), and the numerous trials they run to develop each recipe perfectly.  Therefore I knew that their recipe for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies had to be one of the best out there.  It’s very similar to the recipe from Baking Illustrated except without that extra dough shaping step, but goes a step further with the cookie flavorwise, not only melting the butter, but browning it as well.  Wow…. If you’ve never browned butter before, you have to try it, if only to make your kitchen smell like the most amazing place on earth.  That extra step made a subtle difference in the taste of the cookies, adding a depth of flavor that my tasters really loved… this is one of the top two of my trial recipes so far.  Amazingly these cookies got better after a few days of sitting, which I would never have expected cookies to do.  In fact, most of the recipes I’ve tried have been better after a couple of days, rather than when they first came out of the oven (they were delicious then too)!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes about 16 cookies

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 tsp baking soda 
14 tbsp unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and adjust rack to middle position.  Line 2 large baking sheets (18- by 12- inch) with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
3. Heat 10 tbsp of 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 to 3 minutes more.  Remove the skillet from the heat, and transfer the butter to a large heat-proof bowl.  Add the remaining 4 tbsp of butter, and stir together until completely melted.
4. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla to the bowl with the melted butter, and whisk until fully incorporated.  Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until the batter is smooth, with no sugar lumps, about 30 seconds.  Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 more seconds.  Repeat this process of resting a whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.
5. Add the flour mixture, and stir until just combined, about 1 minute.
6. Add the chocolate chips, and stir to incorporate.
7. Divide the dough into 16 portions, or scoop into 3 tbsp balls (#24 cookie scoop).  Arrange on the prepared baking sheets, 2-inches apart.
8. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through, until the cookies are golden brown, still puffy, and the edges have begun to set, but the centers are still soft.
9. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack, and let cool completely before serving.
Notes:
  • Once again, I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips for these cookies.
  • I loved the way these tasted, but I wanted them to look a bit more crackly…. next time maybe I’ll use the method for shaping in the Baking Illustrated recipe.
  • The flavor of these was awesome, the texture remained chewy, and they got better by the day!  ….. only time will tell if they become the overall favorite.
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