Today I came across this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and had to try it, although I had many other things I should be doing. The method intrigued me. Browning the butter is the key to the taste of these cookies. There is usually not much advance thinking when I decide to make a batch of cookies and I don’t like waiting for the butter to soften. Browning butter makes me a bit nervous, probably the result of burning a lot of butter over the years. Today I watched and stirred constantly over a medium low heat. At one point it was covered with a soft yellow foam and I could see what color it was below the foam. Eventually, I could see the golden brown color I was looking for and immediately removed it from the heat. The dough turns out to be much chewier than my usual recipe. The recipe I use all the time is found at Vanilla Carrots. I’ll have to make a batch of each on the same day and do a taste test, but these are really good.
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen)
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 sticks butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk and set aside.
Melt 1 1/4 sticks butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Keep swirling until butter has a dark golden brown color and a nutty aroma, about 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl and mix in the remaining butter until melted.
Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla to the butter and mix well. Add the egg and the extra yolk; whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Let it rest for 3 minutes, then whisk again for about 30 seconds, before letting it rest again. You’ll want to whisk this about 4 times, until you have a thick, glossy, and smooth mixture.
Gently stir in the flour and baking soda just until combined. Stir in the chocolate and nuts.
Form dough balls (mine were about 2 inches in diameter), and place them on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes Mine took 10 minutes, most people cook chocolate chip cookies way too long. They actually looked a bit under cooked when I took them out, but they continued to cook as the baking sheet cooled down. the key is for them to be just barely turning golden on the edges but looking a bit soft in the center. Put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let the cookies cool on the sheets.