I don’t know about you, but I find that sometimes my life quest seems to be in search of the perfect cookie recipe. More specifically, chocolate chip cookies.
I grew up both consuming (in copious quantities) and baking with my mother and grandmother the original Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie recipe, which turned out super thin, light-as-a-feather cookies the likes of which I have never seen since. I also messed with the classic recipe on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie package because… #90schild. I was born in the 80s, but can safely say I didn’t begin to hone my baking skills straight out of the womb.
Once I graduated college, moved to NYC, and had a (tiny) kitchen of my own, I started trying and tasting new recipes, and baking became even more solidified for me not only as something I enjoy for nostalgic reasons, but as a way to relax, to boost my mood, to create, and to share with loved ones. That much has never really changed for me.
So, back to the cookies. I have heard from multiple sources over the years that the Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was the end-all be-all for the CCC. My ears perked up especially when they came out as the winner of Actress Eat’s cookie odyssey where she baked her way through every top recipe and did an epic taste test. The writing was on the wall – I needed to try this recipe.
What makes it unique is not only melting the butter (most cookie recipes call for creaming room temperature butter into sugar), but browning it as well. The recipe also calls for dark brown sugar, and combined with the browned butter, there is a depth of nutty flavor that really shines through. While I’m not sure if these are truly the BEST CCCs I’ve ever had, the recipe definitely lives up to the hype. I replicated it in full below, along with links to a few other favorite cookie recipes (in case you have the cookie bug like me). Happy baking!
Copycat Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies – these are big, molten in the center, and SO decadent.
Chocolate Olive Oil Cookies – the flavor is so unique, and the texture is gorgeous too.
Baking During Quarantine Guide – check out this baking recipe round-up for some of my other favorite baked goods from 2020.
COOK’S ILLUSTRATED PERFECT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Makes: 16 cookies
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large (18×12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.
3. Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling the pan constantly until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into the hot browned butter until completely melted. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
4. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to the bowl with the butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until the mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips and give the dough a final stir to ensure there are no hidden flour pockets.
5. Scoop the dough into 16 even portions, each about 3 tablespoons, and arrange them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.
6. Bake the cookies 1 tray at a time until the cookies are golden brown but still puffy, and the edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely before serving. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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