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Monday, May 28, 2012

Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Pre-blog days, when making cookies, I usually stuck to chocolate chip cookies. I would buy a bag of chocolate chips and make the recipe on the back of the bag. For whatever reason, the classic cookie fell by the wayside the last few years and I found myself making everything BUT chocolate chip cookies: raspberry cream sandwich cookies, chocolate mint puddles, and cake batter truffles, to name a few. When planning my menu for the Cookies and Milk baby shower, I knew chocolate chip cookies were a given....and so began my hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I'd recently checked Baking Illustrated out from my local library and opted to use the Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I have yet to be let down by an America's Test Kitchen recipe!

These are indeed good chocolate chip cookies, but I'm hesitant to call them the best ever. The flavor is deep and complex, thanks to browned butter and a high amount of brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar). The instructions suggest using 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie but I made them a bit smaller and was disappointed that they didn't spread more. The first time I made them I froze the dough balls and baked the cookies the day before serving. The second time I simply refrigerated the dough overnight and then baked the cookies. I didn't notice a significant different between the two, although they did spread a bit more when I didn't freeze them (pictures from this post are from trial #1).

Ryan described these as the perfect cookies to eat with milk, which I suppose made them perfect for the Cookies and Milk themed shower. I will absolutely make this chocolate chip cookie again, especially when I don't want to wait for butter to come to room temperature, but my hunt for my favorite-ever chocolate chip cookie isn't over yet!

Let's hear what your favorite chocolate chip cookie is! Have you tried the Baking/Cook's Illustrated version?

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Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Baking Illustrated
-2 cups plus 2 tbsp (10 5/8 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
-1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 - 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars (by hand or with a mixer) until combined. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla, beating until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients and beat, just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
4. Roll dough into balls (book suggests a scant 1/4 cup). Hold the dough ball and pull into two equal halves. Rotate each half 90 degrees so that the jagged edges are facing up. Press the two balls back together, jagged edges still up, and place on the cookie sheet (smooth side touching the baking sheet). Space 2 1/2 inches apart.
5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the outer edges start to harden but the centers are still soft and puffy. Cool cookies on baking sheets before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.