Almost Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you tweet?  Or twitter? Or whatever it’s called?  I didn’t until this past weekend.  I’m not sure what made me do it, cuz it’s not like I need another distraction!  I just signed up to see what all the tweeting was about.  I’m glad I did it though, because I came across Christopher Kimball’s blog (of America’s Test Kitchen fame) and saw this chocolate chip cookie recipe (it shows up correctly on my iPhone, but for some reason doesn’t on my desktop). 

"perfect" chocolate chip cookies

He (and America’s Test Kitchen) may think they’re perfect, but I’m not sure I’d go quite that far.  They are definitely closer to what I’ve been looking for in MY perfect chocolate chip cookie: they’re larger than an average cookie, they aren’t thin and flat, they are chewy with a slight crispness and have a nice buttery flavor.  I think next time I’d add just a little bit more chocolate.  But that’s just me.  🙂

"perfect" chocolate chip cookies

I ran into a little bit of a problem as I was browning the butter.  I guess the center of my pan got hotter than the rest, so I started getting these brown bits of butter.  Mind you, I’ve never browned butter, so I’m not sure if I was doing it right or not.  Does the butter start turning brown bit by bit?  Or does all of the butter turn brown at the same time? Was I supposed to be swirling the pan the entire time (I guess the recipe does say “constantly”)? Should I have left it alone?  Did my butter even get brown enough? Regardless of whether I not the butter was browned properly, the cookies came out just fine. 

"perfect" chocolate chip cookies

Another method used in these cookies is the whisking of the “wet” ingredients and letting them sit for 3 minutes, then whisking again, and repeating two more times.  He doesn’t explain what this process does, just that you want the mixture to be “thick, smooth, and shiny” at the end of the process.  Anyone have any ideas on this?  I’m just curious. 

Almost Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 16 cookies
Adapted from Christopher Kimball Blog
Printable Recipe

1 ¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Line two large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a 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.

Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla to the 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, and 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, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

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

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

*Note from the blog: Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored (I used light brown sugar and it was just fine).



16 Responses

  1. hmm. it does look awfully tasty, but in my oh-so-humble opinion, there can always be a little more chocolate. 🙂

  2. If I remember correctly, if you have browned the butter properly you will have some brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Every time I have browned butter this has happened.

    I agree with you regarding this recipe, I tried it a few months ago and while the browned butter flavor is nice, there is something more than chocolate lacking in the flavor profile.

  3. These so look perfect to me!!!!!

  4. Came to your blog through Tastespotting. Love the blog name! Very clever.

    I’ve tried this recipe and thought it was pretty good. But I prefer Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” recipe for chocolate chip cookies.
    I think the difference for me is the amount of brown sugar. Alton’s recipe has a larger proportion of it. It’s also a much easier recipe overall all than the ATK one. You melt the butter, but don’t have to deal with browning it. And I don’t get the whole stir and rest thing either.

    As I was looking up the recipe I found that he has updated some things online and now has a “Gluten Free Chewy” for people with gluten intolerance.

    • Hi Susan. Glad you came by and enjoyed the blog.

      I’ve tried Alton’s The Chewy as well and as much as I enjoyed it I’m still looking for something that doesn’t require “special” ingredients (bread flour). And now that I’ve tried one with “special” techniques, I’m not that impressed either.

      I’m still looking! 🙂

  5. The browned bits are just fine. That’s actually the milk solids, including the milk sugars, and they are caramelizing. The clear liquid is the pure fat, which would be how you get “clarified butter.” So yes, it sounds like you did that perfectly.

    And I don’t know for sure, but the “stop start” thing on whisking ought to build the gluten and the chewiness by building a protein structure that make those cookies a bit more substantial.

    As for what might be missing… perhaps a little sprinkle of Kosher salt across the top? A little “Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie” ala

    • Thanks for the info Marti, I always like to know why I’m doing something.

      I’ve read about the whole sea salt/kosher salt thing on the cookies, but haven’t brought myself to try it yet.

  6. I’m still in search of MY perfect chocolate chip cookie. I’ll give these a try.

  7. […] thing that helps out a rainy day is this chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve been making Tollhouse cookies for, ahem, about 30 years, give or take…. […]

  8. One secret to delicious CCCs is chilling the dough at least overnight, which is something Ruth Wakefield (inventor of the CCC) mentioned that she always did in her Toll House Cookbook.

    Shirley Corriher explores the science behind this in her great book, Bakewise.

    I’m holding a BC Cookie Cookbook Giveaway through the end of September if you are interested:-)

  9. Haven’t found my perfect chocolate chip cookie just yet, but I will be trying these VERY SOON! They look delicious… and delicious cookies are my favorite comfort food. 🙂

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe

  10. I’ve made this recipe 5 times – it is by far everyone’s favorite. Much better than Tollhouse. The chocolate chip measurements on this recipe are different from those on America’s test kitchen recipe – 1 1/2 cup choco chips and 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. I think this ends up being waaay too much chocolate – I scale it back to 1 1/4 cups and it’s perfect.

    I usually make it with chopped peanuts, mini peanut butter cups (available from Trader Joe’s) and increase the salt to 1 1/2 tsp and they are THE perfect cookie.

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