Friday, March 4, 2011

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, courtesy of Bella Rose B&B, and Cook’s Illustrated

I promised you cookies, and cookies you shall have.  I also promise this recipe beats all other chocolate chip cookie recipes you've tried to date, I think mostly because of the browned butter.  So, from my house (or bed and breakfast) to yours, bake away and eat to your heart's content!  And, this won't be the last recipe Bella Rose publishes, so be on the lookout for more!  Bon Appetit!

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ t. baking soda
14 T unsalted butter
½ c. granulated sugar
¾ c. packed dark brown sugar
1 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ c. semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (60% Ghiradelli Bittersweet preferred)
¾ c. chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (opt)

Preheat oven to 375.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour and baking soda in medium bowl, set aside.

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

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 sec.  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 min.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (I make them a bit smaller…).  Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Bake cookies, one tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 min, turning baking sheet halfway through baking.  Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving (uh huh…).

 NOTE:  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.  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. 

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