CI Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

On Tuesday I promised to share a wonderful chocolate chip cookie recipe and here it is!  This recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated and resulted from their attempts to create a cookie that would be moist and chewy in the center yet crisp at the edges.  There are a few interesting thing about the recipe.  First, it has you brown most of the butter before incorporating it into the cookie dough to add just a bit of nutty flavor.  Also, the cookies are mixed by hand, and once the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla have been combined, the mixture is whisked for 30 seconds several times with a 3 minute rest in between. 

CI Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I baked a few cookies the day I made the dough and portioned the rest into individual balls of dough to stick in the freezer and bake off another day.  The ones I baked immediately spread a bit more and were slightly thinner than the ones baked from the freezer.  I preferred the ones from the freezer, but both shared many similar qualities.  They both had the most wonderfully moist and chewy centers possible – they were the exact texture I hope for in my chocolate chip cookies.  The edges were perfectly crisp too.  I separated a bit of the dough before I added the chocolate so I could bake a few cookies plain (as I mentioned the other day, the chocolate is actually my least favorite part of chocolate chip cookies).  The plain cookies were amazing – rich and buttery with toffee notes.  There’s a very high likelihood that I’ll be making an entire batch without the chocolate very soon!

CI Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Shane and I bought thought these cookies were about as close to perfect as they could be so they certainly live up to their name.  I can’t state with 100% certainty that they’re my absolute favorite ever, but only because I can’t accurately compare them to my other top contenders without a side by side taste test!  I simply don’t have a good enough memory to remember the intricate details of the flavor and texture of the other cookies.  Give them a try – they may just become your favorite chocolate chip cookie!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
from Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2009

1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional) (I omitted)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and baking soda together.

Set a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add 10 tablespoons of the butter. Cook until melted, about 2 minutes, then lower the heat slightly and continue cooking until the butter is golden brown with a nutty aroma. Swirl the pan frequently to ensure the butter browns evenly. Transfer the browned butter to a heatproof bowl and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, stirring until it melts completely.

Whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla into the butter until fully incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth, about 30 seconds. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Add the flour mixture to the bowl, stirring with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts (if using).

Portion the dough into large balls, each about 3 tablespoons, and arrange them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake, 1 tray at a time, until the cookies are golden brown and puffy, with edges that are just set and centers that are soft, about 10-14 minutes. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely.

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