Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to make cookies that impress, but quite honestly I have yet to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I want to make cookies like they sell at Levain… seriously how insane does that cookie look?

Now, I know that is a dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie but the picture does the best justice to their unbelievable, Throwdown with Bobby Flay winning cookies. It’s huge, fluffy, perfectly underdone, and just begging for a glass of cold milk.

On the other hand, it seems no matter what recipe I use, or what adjustments I make (cold cookie dough, extra baking powder), my cookies come out flat… So, I set out again to find a perfect chocolate chip recipe. Since Levain is smart enough not to share their recipe, I settled on one from Cooks Illustrated. I figured if America’s Test Kitchen did the leg work and decided these were the best chewy, thick, chocolate chip cookies, they must be onto something. Plus, I noticed that they used melted butter and an extra egg yolk which sparked my interest. A few notes from the folks at Cooks Illustrated: apparently these cookies should be cooled on the baking sheet to ensure proper texture. Also, use only one baking sheet at a time for even baking (I usually do this, even though it is more time consuming).

I had a little mishap – more on that later, but I think I may love this recipe if all went well. I’ll certainly be trying it again, and recommend you do too.

Happy Cookie Baking!

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. (*The melted butter makes the sugar kind of dark and caramelly - yum!)

Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. (*I mixed dry ingredients in by hand to avoid over mixing flour). Stir in the chips to taste.

Place cookies on tray by rounded tablespoon (should make about 18 large cookies). Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet.

Disclaimers:So, I have to be honest, I mixed in my dry ingredients and thought to myself, gee, this seems like an oddly liquidy consistency. I re-read my ingredients list, and not knowing what I could have missed I went ahead and put in 8 humongous cookies. They turned out like this…

Lesson learned. Trust your gut. As soon as I saw them, and tasted one overly salty nibble, I realized the error of my ways. I think I was distracted by the extra 2 Tbls of flour that I added 1 cup of flour and then went onto the 2 Tlbs. That means I missed a whole cup! Ruh roh! Having used about half the dough at this point I decided to add ½ cup of flour to the remaining dough. The second batch of cookies looked much prettier – and came pretty close to that fluffy texture I was hoping to achieve. They tasted pretty good too. I think they would have been perfect if I had done it right from the start. Hey, we all make mistakes. And, to be honest, the ugly, salty, buttery cookies were pretty tasty too.

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