Being a big Twitter fan has led me to following many cooking sites- including America's Test Kitchen. Previously, I had known little about the company, but in the past few months, I have learned quite a bit about the company, especially when I had started receiving Cook's Illustrated in the mail. My first impression of the magazine was that it had wordy articles that took me days to read, and I was not an immediate fan. However, in reflecting upon what I had read, and what I am continuously reading in the magazine, my opinion has changed. I LOVE the magazine. I was especially in love with the Greek Yogurt comparison in the most recent issue.
America's Test Kitchen makes many claims about their recipes, and are offering bloggers the chance, via a Tweet on Twitter, to bake their "Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie," and possibly win a chance to visit the actual Test Kitchen. When I saw this opportunity, I nearly jumped in my seat! What a great opportunity to visit the foodie scientists themselves!
I must admit I was skeptical about the recipe at first because I am a huge Tollhouse cookie fan- they are nostalgic for me. More recently, I became a Flour chocolate chunk cookie fan too. I wasn't sure if this cookie would outdo the others, especially because it involved more work with an extra step of browning the butter...
Friends, I am here to tell you, that this recipe ROCKS! The browning of the butter really makes these cookie delicious, and in the words of my taste tester Jack, there will never be another cookie recipe made in our house again. I think we have a clear winner in the chocolate chip cookie race!
Here's how to make these fantastic cookies, courtesy of CooksIllustrated.com.
1 3/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2teaspoon baking soda 14tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (see note)
1teaspoon table salt 2teaspoons vanilla extract 1large egg 1 large egg yolk 1 1/4cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
3/4cup 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 sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.
**A Few Notes:**
Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Unfortunately, I only have nonstick pans, and I just watched the butter very carefully, and was successful
Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored.
For our winning brand of chocolate chips, see related tasting at CooksIllustrated.com