Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie


Have you ever wondered where the recipe for the best chocolate chip cookie comes from?  Well, I was recently informed that it comes from American's Test Kitchen.  Affiliated with both Cooks Illustrated and Cook's Country, America's Test Kitchen lives up to its name- the group takes a regular recipe and puts it through a variety of tests to come up with the best techniques and combination of ingredients to create the ultimate recipe.  And thus we have found the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.


After my first glance at the recipe two items stood out- the whisking technique calling for 3 sets of 30 seconds of whisking and 3 minutes of rest and the note to bake one cookie sheet at a time.  I sometimes try to find ways to take shortcuts in the kitchen, so I figured these two techniques were just what I was looking for.  But then I realized that if I wanted to seriously test the recipe for the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie, I would need to fully commit myself and make sure I had ample time to complete each step without shortcuts.  In case you're wondering, I did, in fact, follow the recipe exactly as called for!


The jury is still out on the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I have to admit that these cookies deserve a spot at the top.  As soon as I caught the smell of the browned butter while the first batch of cookies was in the oven I knew this recipe was destined for greatness.  And it's not just the smell, you can really taste the browned butter in each bite of the cookie which provides a unique distinction from other chocolate chip cookie recipes.  While the cookie's outside had a slight crunch, the inside was soft and chewy.  No need to fight over crunchy versus chewy because this cookie provides it all!


Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie
taken from America's Test Kitchen

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted 

Directions

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heart to 375 degrees F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

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

Place 4 Tbsp of the butter in a large heatproof bowl.  Heat the remaining 10 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes.  Continue cooking for about 1-3 minutes more, constantly swirling the pan, until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma.  Remove the skillet from the heat and, using a heatproof spatula, transfer the browned butter to the large heatproof bowl and stir until the 4 Tbsp of butter are completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to the butter mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.  Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds.  Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds.  Repeat this process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and light brown.  Using your spatula and a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute.  Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving the dough a final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

If you like large cookies, divide the dough into 16 portions (about 3 Tbsp per cookie).  If you prefer smaller cookies, divide the dough into 32 portions.  Sometimes I try to get away with placing more cookies than called for on the baking sheets to decrease the batches, but you cannot do that with this recipe!  The cookies will spread, so be sure to arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies 1 tray at a time until the cookies are golden brown and still puffy and the edges have begun to set but the centers are still soft, about 10-14 minutes.  Make sure to rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking.  Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.  


The next time I make these cookies I think I may add an additional 3/4 to 1 cup of chopped nuts.  I may also may mix it up and add some walnuts as well.  :)


4 comments:

  1. I love the look of those cookies. I have not yet tried this recipe, but really want to try out the browned butter trick one day. I have a new linky on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/01/sweets-for-saturday-1_21.html

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  2. Thanks for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday. I truly appreciate your support and hope that you'll be able to join in again next Saturday.

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  3. The test kitchen cookbooks are excellent and you know you're in good hands with all of their advice and tips. I brought them to France with me they are so valuable! Martha Stewart also has the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe--it won me a teacher bake off at the school I used to work at:) Definitely a must try!

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