When it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I like them chewy and gooey and warm. Out of all the chocolate chip cookies I’ve personally baked (both on this blog and off), Alton Brown’s The Chewy has been my favorite.
The process of making chocolate chip cookies is pretty uniform throughout each recipe. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer, add eggs, then flour, roll into balls, etc. Some recipes call for melted butter, some for room temperature or softenend butter. Whichever though, the process is pretty much basic.
When I came across the recipe for Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, I was instantly intrigued, for their brand new chocolate chip cookie recipe was quite different than any recipe I’d seen before for this type of cookie. It does not use a mixer; it uses a mix of browned butter and regular butter; it requires a few resting times in between whiskings.
The blog where I found the recipe, The Way The Cookie Crumbles, posts beautiful step by step photos of this process. The blogger, Bridget, was also interested in these new tricks called for in the recipe.
So this morning I got out all the ingredients for making these cookies and started browning the butter – okay, so the butter ended up a bit more brown that it should have been, that’s what happens when your two young children suddenly decide to go nuts when you can’t leave the stove! Anyway, it wasn’t ruined, but I think it made my dough and finished cookies look more brown than it should have, also perhaps made it taste a little toffee-ish.
This new process of making the dough was really very simple. When the dough is finished, the recipe suggests using approximately 3 tablespoons of dough for each cookie, or a #24 cookie scoop. Well, I don’t have that large of a cookie scoop, and I didn’t want my cookies that large. I used 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie, and in my oven it took 11 minutes for them to bake.
One of the most important things to remember with chocolate chip cookies is to not overbake them. Something Alton Brown said that I’ll always remember is if the cookies look done while still in the oven, then they are overbaked. In the Cook’s Illustrated recipe, it specifically tells you when to take out the cookies – “until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft.”. Please do not bake any longer!
I also rotated my tray halfway through baking, since food towards the back of my oven brown faster than the front.
Okay, end result? I ate a cookie when it was still warm, and I thought it was so-so. Then I ate one when they had cooled off, but while the chocolate was still gooey, and I thought it was simply fantastic. The taste of the browned butter really stood out, giving it a really nice, rich flavor that I’ve never tasted in a chocolate chip cookie before. I was highly impressed.
I baked 12 of these cookies today. I’ve always wanted to do my own refrigerator test on chocolate chip cookie dough – a trick that became popular from a New York Times article – so I reserved the rest of the dough in the refrigerator until tomorrow. I have 8 cookies left to bake. And I will post my opinions on the refrigerated dough tomorrow after baking.
Update – be sure to check out the refrigeration test results on this post!