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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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).

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Dorie’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

…but definitely not mine. 

dorie's best ccc

I buy cookbooks based on reviews as well as the pictures.  I like to see the finished product.  That’s probably the reason why most of my photos show the end result and not how I got there. 😛  What irks me is when you see the picture, you follow recipe and what you end up with looks nothing like what’s in the cookbook.  This happened with the chocolate chip cookies I made following the Baked recipe and now, with the recipe I followed in the Baking cookbook (minus the nuts).  The cookies in the photo weren’t thick, but they weren’t flat either.  And I knew they were going to have a softer texture rather than chewy (the amount of white sugar was higher than brown sugar), which was fine. I’m looking for a cookie I can call my favorite, so I’m trying lots of different recipes. 

dorie's best ccc

I should have just passed on by as soon as I saw these words: “They are Toll House cookies’ kin, but I think my nips, tucks, tweaks and variations on the classic recipe make them their own kind of wonderful.” I am not a fan of the Toll House cookie. They just don’t get my vote for favorite. 

090803.1 dorie's best ccc - book
scanned from Baking, From My Home to Yours

My cookies looked nothing like the ones in the book. They were flat and thin.  I even let a batch chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes and those still didn’t look anything like hers.  I was so dissapointed.  Ugh.  The flavor was ok.  More buttery than chocolatey, but I didn’t put in my usual 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of instant coffee granules.  That always seems to add more flavor to my cookies. I also took half the chocolate chips and chopped them up a bit.  1) Because I like to integrate the chocolate into the dough, rather than just putting the chips in there and 2) because I used Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips and those are larger than the normal size chocolate chips.  I love biting into the part of the cookie where those chips are because I get this wonderful burst of bittersweet chocolate and it tastes sooo good. 

dorie's best ccc

My in-laws were dropping MC off at the house around the time I baked these, so they left here with a dozen.  😛  They don’t care what kind of chocolate chip cookie it is.  They’ll eat it.

dorie's best ccc

I usually make half batches when I try out new recipes, but for some reason I made the entire recipe.  I ended up baking two dozen and froze the rest of the dough.  We’ll see if those turn out any better.

Dorie’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: Approximately 3 ½ dozen
Adapted from Baking, From My Home to Yours
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ pound butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.

Beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and mix by hand with a rubber spatula.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the baking sheet and lay them about 2 inches apart from each other.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center. Allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, and then carefully transfer them to rack to cool.

Notes:
The dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen. You can freeze individual balls of dough on a lined baking sheet and then bag them when they’re solid. There is no need to defrost the dough before baking. Just add another minute or two to the baking time.

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Banana-Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins

What does everyone do when they have brown bananas on the counter? Make banana bread! Ok, maybe not everyone. I bet those suckers get tossed more times than we know. But what if you aren’t in the mood for banana bread? Or you just don’t have a few minutes to put it together? Do, what I did. Mash ’em up and stick ’em in the freezer.

About a month ago I had some bananas that were riiiiipe. They were so ripe I was afraid they were attracting things my kitchen didn’t need attracting. So I mashed them up, stuck them in a freezer bag, labeled them and froze them. Then, another round came along. This time, I mashed those up, combined them with the thawed ones and made some Banana-Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins.

I was originally going to make some boring old banana bread, but then I ran across these bad boys as I was looking through my cookbooks again. I’m so glad I made them. They were definitely a nice change from the norm and hubby commented on how they almost tasted like chocolate chip cookies, but in muffin form. That means “mmmm, yummy!” I know this because he ate two of the night I made them, two of them for breakfast the next morning and another two for breakfast again. 😉

banana-coffee choco chip muffins

The original recipe is actually Banana Espresso, but since I don’t keep instant espresso powder on hand – I use instant coffee granules – I wasn’t going to go out and buy them specifically for these muffins. I just subbed in my usual and it worked out great. I also used mini chocolate chips, because I like how they get distributed more throughout the muffin than regular sized chips.

banana-coffee choco chip muffins

If you have some bananas that you’re on the verge of saying goodbye to, don’t. Make these instead! 🙂

Banana-Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yield: 1 dozen regular size muffins & 6 mini-muffins
Adapted from Baked, New Frontiers in Baking
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup milk
1 egg
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray or line a regular size muffin pan. (Plus 6 cups from mini tin).

In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk and egg.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, instant coffee granules, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill each cup about ¾ full. Bake in the center of the oven fro 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on rack for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove the muffins from the pan and let them finish cooling on the cooling rack.

Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Thanks to the 11 of you who voted in my poll. 🙂 I ended up making a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake that turned out fabulous. I even did something I probably shouldn’t have done and used a new-to-me Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. It’s out of a cookbook I’ve had for almost two years now (The Secrets of Baking) and finally got around to trying the cookie recipe.

chocolate chip cookie cake

Whenever we go to the in-laws I always bring them leftover goodies, or make something to specifically take to them. Everyone in the family has a sweet tooth and love the fact that I bring anything at all. For Father’s Day I wanted to do something kind of special and different so the cookie cake won out. My original thought was something you see at the mall, like at Great American Cookies.  But I didn’t have a pan big enough and didn’t want to go out and buy something just for this.  So I went with a “layered” cookie cake. 

chocolate chip cookie cake

The recipe from The Secrets of Baking was the perfect size to make two rounds.  I divided the dough among the two pans and flattened them out with my hands.  I baked them for just a little bit longer than the original called for and they came out great.

chocolate chip cookie cake

It doesn’t matter which way you layer the cookies.  Just make sure the top one is “top” up, so you can tell it looks like a big chocolate chip cookie.  I just used store bought chocolate frosting and smeared a thin layer in between the two cookies.  I wanted to pipe a line around the outside between the two cookies, but the frosting was too loose, so I ended up just frosting the entire thing. The top looked a bit bare, so I piped some stars around the edges too. You could always make your own.  I almost went with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting, but I barely had time or energy to get this cake made!

chocolate chip cookie cake
my nephew’s finger – he really wanted the frosting

I ended up taking this cake, the Strawberry Cheese Pie and some homemade hamburger buns (I’ll post about these in the future, after I’ve perfected them) with us.  Everyone loved them. 🙂

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Adapted from The Secrets of Baking
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ pound cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¼ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
8 ounces chocolate chips/chunks

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans; set aside.

In a medium bowl sift or whisk the flour and baking soda; set aside.

Cream butter until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla. Cream the mixture until smooth.

Add egg and beat on low until fully incorporated. Do not overbeat.

Add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips or chunks.

Divide the dough between the two cake pans. Pat into the cake pans and bake for approximately 15-18 minutes.

Allow cookie cakes to cool completely before decorating.

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Fantasy Football Draft Bars

chocolate chip toffee bars

Hubby made a comment the other day that he needed something sweet.  A cookie, or something.  I don’t keep packaged cookies or sweets around the house for various reasons, so his options were limited. There was some vanilla ice cream, but no real toppings. Well, unless you count chocolate chips, toffee bits & nuts. His response was to save those to make cookies with. Uh huh. So his only option was a Häagen-Dazs ice cream bar. Poor hubby.

I contemplated another version of a chocolate chip cookie, but really wasn’t in the mood. Brownies? I could, but I thought cookies sounded better. What about a cookie bar? Yes! Now, just how to go about that? I’ve made blondies before, but I wanted something more substantial. I did a little surfing and came across this recipe on the Hershey’s website. Now, that was more like it. I had everything on hand and didn’t have to go to the grocery store.  Perfect!

I still have some whole wheat flour in the pantry so I of course had to test it out with these bars to see how well it’d hold up. I cut back on the flour amount just slightly because I thought it would help the texture, since I was subbing some of the ap flour with whole wheat.  All in all I think they turned out pretty well.  A little sweet for me though…blame it on the entire can of sweetened condensed milk. I cut them into 16 bars, where the recipe say 48.  I thought to myself, I can cut the 16 in half and have 32, but 48 bars are tiny and not at all what’s shown in the picture.  Oh well.

Where did the name “Fantasy Football Draft Bars” come from?  Well, have you seen Waitress?  We just watched it other day. A little on the weird side and the acting seemed a bit forced.  But, whatever.  In the movie Jenna (Keri Russell) is a pie baker who comes up with new pies whenever something happens to her and names those particular pies according to the event. So, in honor of Hubby’s draft last night, these bars are now dubbed the “Fantasy Football Draft Bars”.

chocolate chip toffee bars


This post is being submitted to the I Love Baking bi-weekly baking event hosted by Ben at What’s Cooking. Go check it out and post your entries in the forum!

Fantasy Football Draft Bars
Yield: 32 bars
Adapted from Hershey’s Rich Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup butter + ¼ cup margarine
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups dark chocolate chips, divided
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup toffee bits, divided

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Combine flour and brown sugar in large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg; mix well. Stir in 1 ½ cups chocolate chips and all the nuts; set aside 1 ½ cups of the mixture.

Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over hot crust. Sprinkle ¾ cup of toffee bits over sweetened condensed milk. Set aside ¼ cup toffee bits. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture and remaining ½ cup chips over top.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Top with reserved toffee bits. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Peanut Butter Craving

I love peanut butter.  But for some reason I’ve never loved the peanut butter cookie. I may have mentioned that before. I’ve only ever made them a few times in my life, so I decided I’d give them another chance.  I’m all about trying foods more than once.  My husband likes Pittsburg Hot Links and I’ve never really enjoyed them.  So every time he eats them, I take a bite, just to see.  They’re growing on me, but it’s not something I’d ever get myself.  I have however found a food that I thought I hated, but turns out I love…and could eat all by itself…like mounds of it.  See if you can guess what it is.

sauerkraut

Do you need a closer look?

sauerkraut
Yep. It’s sauerkraut. Yum! I know, some of you out there are thinking, ugh, yuck, gross. And others are saying, Oh yeah baby, bring it on.

We grilled up some brats for dinner last night. Can I just say I’m not the best griller? Our brats were a little on the shrunken & charred side, but they were still good! Especially after I slathered them with a mix of grilled onions & sauerkraut. Come to momma! Sorry, no pictures of said brat…I was too anxious to get it in my mouth!

But wait, wasn’t this post about Peanut Butter? Oh yeah. Okay, so back to my peanut butter craving…

I was getting the itch to bake something.  I already have plans for cupcakes this week since MC’s birthday party is this Sunday AND I’ll probably take some to his school as well.  I asked for Hubby’s input.  His response – “Cookie?”  Alrighty then.

I wasn’t ready to delve into Chocolate Chip Cookie, Part 3, but somehow I still managed to incorporate chocolate chips.  😛  Can’t stay away from them! The bold taste of peanut butter sounded really good and I had bookmarked a recipe I saw over at Get Baked awhile ago for some chewy peanut butter cookies, so I figured it was a good time to give it a whirl.  I did make a few modifications to the recipe – including adding some mashed mini peanut butter cups – so they didn’t end up looking like her pictures, but they sure tasted good.  🙂 

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Did I mention I eat natural peanut butter?  The taste of the actual peanut is much more pronounced and it’s definitely less sweet.  Maybe that was the key.  The cookies weren’t too sweet and they were soft and chewy.  I probably should have left them in the oven for about another minute or two, but who doesn’t like a soft middle? I’m talking about the cookie, not my tummy. 😉

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Anywho, here are my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  🙂

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Get Baked’s Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
Yield: 32 cookies
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup natural chunky peanut butter
¼ cup natural creamy peanut butter
8 to 10 mini Reese’s peanut butter cups
½ cup margarine
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 egg
½ cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Cream together the peanut butters and the peanut butter cups, then cream together with margarine.
Mix in milk and eggs until just combined, then stir in mini chocolate chips.
Scoop balls onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly golden.

Serving suggestion:
peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream cookie

Search For The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Part 2

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
these are definitely thick

Finally, the second installment…

This time it’s a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.  I found the recipe here, on the blog Good Things Catered. However, I changed it up a bit to suit my fancy.  😉 I didn’t use the “pull apart” technique.  I just used my trusty, handy dandy, small cookie scoop.  Call me anal, I like my cookies to all be the same size and look about the same.  I also added nuts and changed up the “chips”.

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Part 1 was Alton’s “The Chewy” which showcased 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, melted butter and a higher ratio of brown sugar to white sugar.  All the same components showed up in this recipe. By using my oh-so-highly-honed-skills-of-deduction, it seems this is what gives the cookies their chewy texture. 

They both hold their shape well and taste good, but there’s something about Alton’s recipe that just makes a better cookie.  Is it because I used my small cookie scoop instead of a bigger scoop (like the #20 disher Alton uses) that I got a more crispy exterior from the ATK cookie? Is it the bread flour? The milk? The extra butter?  Bah!

I guess I’ll have to keep looking and tweaking…

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, as found here, from Good Things Catered
Yield: 3 dozen
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
½ cup white chocolate w/coconut
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.
Mix the butter and sugars, in a stand mixer, until thoroughly combined.
Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Stir in chips and nuts.

Scoop out dough using a small cookie scoop. Place the balls about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Cool cookies on sheets until they can be lifted without breaking. Place on wire rack to finish cooling.

Previous Posts
Search For The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Part 1