Friday, January 6, 2012

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Get ready to throw out your old chocolate chip cookie recipe!

I wanted to title this post "Perfecting Chocolate Chip Cookies" because I felt that's what I did here. I struggle with cookie baking due to the extremely high standard I hold to cookies. They basically have to be perfect. Bakery style perfect. Good looking. Amazing taste. Something to be proud of. Unfortunately most people's cookies don't fit my bill. Not to criticize, I was in the same boat with every cookie I've ever made until last month. Now I have 1 cookie recipe that is, in my eyes, as perfect as possible. And it's a good one to have in the repetoire – chocolate chip – the American classic.

Last summer, I decided that I would perfect chocolate chip cookies. I made a few recipes, decided that they weren't up to par, and stumbled upon this beauty. It's originally from Baker's Illustrated, titled "Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies". I made it over the summer, but it wasn't quite perfect. I was doing something that missed the mark. So I went and tried some different recipes. They all sucked. I found myself back at the Baker's Illustrated recipe. I made these cookies 4 times in 2 weeks in December. The 4th time around, I had the method down. It turned out to be all about method.

Key elements to perfect cookies with this recipe, read carefully:
1. Make 18 cookies. No more. No less. 18.
2. You want ragged edges. No cookie scoops people. Use your hands to crab the right amount of dough.
3. Measure everything perfectly. Sprinkle flour into measuring cup and level.
4. Bake 1 sheet of cookies at a time. Don't even think about doing anything else.
5. Remove cookies from oven just as the edges turn brown. The center may look gooey, that's how they should be. They will cook more on the sheets after removing from oven. If you don't remove in time, you will get crispy cookies.
6. Seal cookies in air tight container. Put a piece of bread inside. Believe it or not, Andrew taught me this trick. It makes any cookie stay moist for longer. It even adds moisture. Change the piece of bread daily.

Ingredients:
2 Cups + 2 Tblsp All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
12 Tblsp (1&1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, melted & cooled until warm
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Large Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1&1/2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, heaping

Directions:


Gather your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 325. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.


Cut butter into cubes and melt in the microwave on low. Refrigerate to cool for 5-10 minutes.


Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside for later.


Lightly whisk the egg and egg yolk in a small bowl.


Once the butter has cooled, but still slightly warm, beat the brown sugar, sugar, and butter using a stand mixer, 3-5 minutes. Scrape down as needed.


Add the eggs and vanilla until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down.


Add the dry ingredients about a 1/2 of a cup at a time using the "stir" setting or lowest mixer speed. Scrape down between each addition.


Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.


On cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, drop 6 cookies per sheet. Get all three sheets done before putting any in the oven. If you have extra dough or not enough dough to do 18 cookies, divide/pick-at/add-to cookies until you get 18 comparably sized cookies. No more. No less.


Remember: we want ragged edges. Grab the dough using your hand, turn over and put the bottom up if that side is more ragged looking.


Bake for 15-18 minutes. Mine were in for about 16 minutes. You want the edges to be at that "just hardening" stage; and for the centers to still be soft & puffy and a little wet looking. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheets.


Once cool, move to a wire rack. Or eat one that is still a little warm. Just look at how beautiful this cookie is!!


Seal in air tight container with a piece of bread (hot dog bun, whatever). It will help to keep the cookies soft and actually add a little moisture.


They are so lovely! Writing this post has made me want to go make some right this second!




Ingredients:
2 Cups + 2 Tblsp All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
12 Tblsp (1&1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, melted & cooled until warm
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Large Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1&1/2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, heaping

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 325. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Cut butter into cubes and melt in the microwave on low. Refrigerate to cool for 5-10 minutes.

3. Lightly whisk the egg and egg yolk in a small bowl.

4.  Once the butter has cooled, but still slightly warm, beat the brown sugar, sugar, and butter using a stand mixer, 3-5 minutes. Scrape down as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down. Add the dry ingredients about a 1/2 of a cup at a time using the "stir" setting or lowest mixer speed. Scrape down between each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

5. Drop 6 cookies per cookie sheet. Ragged edges up. Get all three sheets done before putting any in the oven. If you have extra dough or not enough dough to do 18 cookies, divide/pick-at/add-to cookies until you get 18 comparably sized cookies. No more. No less.

6. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven when edges are at that "just hardening" stage and the centers are still "soft & puffy". Let cool on the cookie sheets. Once cool, move to wire rack. Store cookies in air tight containers with a piece of bread.

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