I have been craving chocolate chip cookies all week. Visions of gooey chocolate chips pouring out of soft and golden brown cookies...the taste of browned butter thick on my tongue...*sigh.* This is what I daydream about (well besides ice cream). Unfortunately life's more important things got in the way of cookie baking plans this week...until last night!
Although there are thousands of chocolate chip cookie recipes floating around the internet and hidden in baking books, choosing a recipe was not difficult for me. I almost have the recipe memorized. Tried and true, the "Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe from Cooks Illustrated is seriously the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I have baked. What makes these cookies so special? The flavor complexity. Browning the butter and using dark brown sugar brings a subtle nutty flavor to the cookies, and using less granulated sugar provides sweetness that is not overpowering and allows other flavors to shine.
And because everything is always better with ice cream, I decided to use a few cookies to make ice cream sandwiches. The same evening I picked up a pint of New Orleans Ice Cream Company Coffee & Chicory ice cream, so I sandwiched some cookies around it. The rich coffee flavor went perfectly with with bitter chocolate and nuttiness of the cookies.
So the next time you are craving some chocolate chip cookies, try this recipe and you will not be disappointed. Enjoy!
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from original Recipe found on Cooks Illustrated
In order to make sure the sugar dissolves as much as possible, be sure to whisk the mixture during its rest, as instructed in step 3. Also, avoid using a non-stick skillet to brown the butter. The dark color of the non-stick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is sufficiently browned. Use fresh brown sugar, as older (read: harder and drier) brown sugar will make the cookies too dry. This recipes will work with light brown sugar, but the resulting cookies will not be as nutty and full-flavored. If you're sensitive to salt, reduce the salt amount to 3/4 teaspoon.
1 3/4 cups (8.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (5.25 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper (or use a Silpat). Whisk flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Heat 10 Tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes (if you have browned butter before you can also rely on smell). Remove skillet from heat transfer browned butter to large heat proof bowl. Stir remaining 4 Tablespoons butter into hot butter until completed melted.
Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter; whisk until fully incorporated and then stir in egg and yolk. Whisk mixture until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Let mixture sit for about 3 minutes, then whisk it for 30 seconds; repeat this process two more times. After about 10 minutes, mixture should be thick, smooth, and shiny. Stir in flour/baking soda mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving the dough a final stir to ensure that no flour pockets remain.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This is my added step. I find that a short refrigeration helps re-solidify (is that a word?) the butter and results in cookies that are plump and chewy. If you like your cookies flat and crispy, do not refrigerate.
Now it is time to scoop. Personally, I think cookie size it up to you. I used a small cookie scoop, about 2 Tablespoons of dough per cookie. Just remember to keep the dough evenly spaced (about 2 inches apart) and bigger cookies will take a little longer to bake.
Bake cookies one tray at a time until cookies are golden brown, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and cool.
To make ice cream sandwiches:
Pick out your favorite pint of ice cream (or your favorite Scoop Adventures recipe) and allow ice cream to thaw slightly on the counter top. Fill a small biscuit cutter with ice cream and transfer back to the freezer. Once ice cream is solid again, remove ice cream from biscuit cutter and place between two cookies (or if you don't care how it looks, forget the biscuit cutter and scoop ice cream directly on to cookie and squish another cookie on top!).
Update: I have now made my own Coffee Ice Cream recipe, which would also go well with these cookies!