Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In Search of the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

I've long been a fan of Cook's Illustrated and the companion PBS television show, America's Test Kitchen. I've even been able to test recipes for them and many are among our favorites. Recently I read about the America's Test Kitchen challenge to Boston Bloggers to try their Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

Now, I've got to say that my mom's chocolate chip cookie recipe is pretty darned perfect. So could the experts at America's Test Kitchen produce a cookie that was BETTER than hers? I was skeptical but willing to try it. The ingredients are the same as my favorite recipe. It's the proportions that are different: 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk and more dark brown sugar than white sugar. 

I followed the recipe suggestion to weigh the dry goods. This isn't something I normally do. I have vivid memories of my Nannie's hand on mine as we lightly spooned flour into a measuring cup and then leveled the surface with the back of butter knife. I always think of that when I bake. She said it was the key to light instead of leaden cakes. She was an amazing baker as is my mom. Me? I'm good at following a recipe.

This time I pulled out the digital scale that Joel bought long before we were married and weighed the flour, white sugar and dark brown sugars.

The magic is in the 10 tablespoons of browned butter, which makes the kitchen smell amazing. 

The sugars, vanilla, salt and eggs are whisked into the melted butter. Three rounds of whisking and resting helps the sugar dissolve completely. (I used those 3 minutes to fold laundry while watching the Celtics game.)
Speaking of brown sugar, have you tried a brown sugar bear? This little guy keeps brown sugar moist and pliable for months and months. No more rock hard brown sugar.

Then the flour and baking soda are stirred in followed by the chocolate chips. I didn't have any nuts in the pantry and I wish I did. I love walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies. 

The finished dough has a consistency like Play Doh. It's not shaggy and loose like a typical chocolate chip cookie dough. The recipe called for a #24 scoop. I wanted more "traditional" sized cookies so I used a cookie scoop which made 48 cookies. 

The verdict: completely delicious! They definitely were crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. The browned butter adds a wonderful and unexpected toffee flavor to the cookies. Joel and I each ate one last night while they were still warm. Perfect with a glass of cold milk. This morning we packed some to enjoy with our lunch at the Brimfield Fair where my mom gave them a thumbs up too. 
I'll definitely keep this recipe in my files. It was easy to follow, easy to execute and easy to clean up. Thanks Cook's Illustrated for another winning recipe.


Megan said...

I really wanted to make smaller cookies, but I followed the recipe exactly and ended up with ginormous cookies. I'm happy to see that smaller cookies worked out, and I'm going to try that next time.

Post a Comment