Perfect? Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick and chewy but not gooey in the center.
Thick and chewy but not gooey in the center.

Two days ago I received my May/June issue of Cook’s Illustrated. On the front cover I could see “Chocolate Chip Cookies, Reinvented”. That alone was enough to pique my curiosity, but when I flipped to page 22 and saw “The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie” I couldn’t help but think it takes a lot of ego to call a recipe or a baked good “perfect”. Despite the arrogance of the title I had to make the cookies to find out what constitutes the title “perfect” in the test kitchen at CI.

Basically they’ve tweaked the Nestle Toll House recipe by browning most of the butter, removing some of the egg white, changing the ratio of brown to white sugar, and using a larger scoop of dough for each cookie. Does it yield a “perfect” cookie? The cookies are thick and chewy and are not gooey in the center. The edgesw are crisp. They aren’t greasy, and they have just the right sweetness without being sugary or grainy. The toffee flavor that I like in chocolate chip cookies is pronounced due to the browned butter and dark brown sugar.

In my vocabulary the word perfect doesn’t apply to food, but these are truly excellent cookies, and even if you have to buy the issue off the rack it’s worth the $5.95 to get the recipe, at least if you’re a chocolate chip cookie aficionado. Besides, there is a recipe for the “Best Blueberry Muffins” that looks very good. Apparently they aren’t “perfect”, but I’ll give them a try anyway.

 Thick and chewy, but not gooey in the center.

FYI the recipe for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies appears on page 24 of the May/June issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

This post has been updated to include the recipe with permission from Cook’s Illustrated!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon table salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12- inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

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

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use#24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking seet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

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8 Responses to “Perfect? Chocolate Chip Cookies”

  1. VeggieGirl Says:

    Those definitely look/sound like divine chocolate chip cookies!!

  2. Katrina Says:

    I’ll have to check out the magazine and get that recipe. Your cookies look great. Since I like SO many ccc’s, I’m not sure I could ever say one is perfect. But I do like when they are different from another and still really good. Can’t wait to try. Were they more crispy throughout on the next day? Still chewy? Thanks, Sue.

  3. Sue Says:

    The texture was still good the next day. Chewy. They didn’t become hard or dried out and the edges retained a little crispness.
    I used Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips and was pleasantly surprised. CI listed them in their “recommended” list and I’m glad I tried them. They’re chocolatey without being too sweet and they’re less expensive than the chips I usually buy. The next time I make the cookies I’m going to chop up some good quality chocolate. I think Big cookies benefit from bigger chunks of chocolate.

  4. Elyse Says:

    Mmm, these cookies do look quite delicious. I love that so many are inspired to play around with the Toll House standard. Toffee flavor is my favorite, so I definitely need to get the latest issue of CI to check out the recipe!

  5. Sue Says:

    Hi Elyse!
    I definitely recommend getting the magazine. The article is very good and as you’ll see in today’s post the blueberry muffins in the May/June issue are excellent as well. If you can’t wait to get the magazine you can see the recipe in the link I provided under a post today titled “A link to the CI Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.”

  6. Steph Says:

    Sue, these look exactly like the cookies I’ve been searching for. I’ve been looking for one that’s a little thinner, yet chewy and crisp. I can’t wait to give these a try, but they seem to be a lot richer and sweeter than the thick and chewy and I think those are rich enough! I usually have to reduce the sugar when I make the thick and chewy too. By the way, do they explain why the sugar should be melted?

    • basicallybaked Says:

      Hello Steph!
      These cookies are actually pretty thick so they might not be what you’re looking for. If you want a thinner cookie I would recommend the recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies from Gourmet. You can find it at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-108703 It is one of my favorite CC cookie recipes.
      As to your question regarding the why of melting the better. The author wrote that it has to do with seperating the water from the fat in the butter so the water can interact with the gluten in the flour to make the cookie chewier. It’s an interesting article with all kinds of insights regarding the how and why of the chocolate chip cookie.
      I can’t remember if I’ve made the recipe I’m about to mention but Anna at Cookie Madness has refererred to Wellesley Chocolate Chips cookies as a favorite of hers. I think they might be more of what you’re looking for as well.

    • basicallybaked Says:

      Hi Steph!
      I just went over to Cookie Madness to find the recipe I was referring to. Here it is.

      http://www.cookiemadness.net/?s=Wellesley+Chocolate+Chip+Cookies

      They sound like just what you’re looking for.
      Sue

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