Saturday, October 8, 2011

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

A few twists in the typical recipe put these over the top. The instructions below will produce 16 large cookies. The photo is 10 of them on a standard size dinner plate (roughly 10").

  • More brown sugar than white sugar adds extra chewiness
  • Melting the butter first and browning a portion of it adds a little extra nutty flavor
  • Two egg yolks but only one egg white makes them less cake-like and more moist
  • Allowing the sugar to dissolve improves the texture
  • Skipping the cheaper household standard name brand chips in favor of good chocolate makes a huge difference. Use either Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips or, if you can't find them, Hershey's Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate Chips will suffice.

What you need:

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
  • 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)

Here's what to do with all of the above:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees with oven rack in middle position. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  • Heat 10 of the 14 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted. A non-stick skillet is not recommended because you won't notice the color change in the next step. Continue cooking, stirring or swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown. Remove butter from heat and transfer to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
  • Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla to melted butter and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add egg and yolk, whisk until smooth.. Let stand for 3 minutes then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the rest and whisk process 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and optional nuts.
  • Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)
  • 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 and allow cookies to cool completely.

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