I recently watched an episode of America's Test Kitchen devoted to cookies, one of which was "The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie". What was their idea of perfect? A soft and chewy cookie that remains that soft and chewy, even the following day.
Based on the traditional Toll House recipe, this version incorporated some non-traditional techniques which piqued my curiosity. 1 - instead of creaming softened butter and sugar together, some of the butter is melted and carefully browned to develop a nutty, caramelized flavor. 2 - the remaining butter is then stirred in to the browned butter to stop the cooking process. 3 - both sugars, eggs, and vanilla are added to the melted butter; whisking and resting, in three phases, until the sugars liquefy before the remaining ingredients are stirred in by hand. And lastly, 4 - the baked cookies remain on the cookie sheet for a full 30 minutes after they are removed from the oven.
I should also mention the Toll House recipe makes tablespoon size cookies, where as these are about 3 times larger. From a textural standpoint, they are indeed soft and chewy, even the following day. From a flavor standpoint, they were very good, but they're not my all-time favorite. With that said, they're certainly wonderful and my family had no trouble gobbling them up.
Cook's Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 16-20 cookies
1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (10 tbsp; and 4 tbsp)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F and line 2 large sheet pans with parchment or silicone baking mats.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda; set aside.
In a small stainless steel sauce pan or skillet over medium-high heat, melt 10 tablespoons butter; swirling pan until butter is dark golden brown and smells nutty (don't let it burn); transfer to a large, heatproof bowl and immediately stir in remaining 4 tablespoons butter until completely melted.
Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla and whisk together.
Add egg and egg yolk and whisk for 30 seconds; let sit for 3 minutes and whisk for another 30 seconds.
Repeat whisking and resting process 2 more times; until mixture is smooth and shiny.
Using silicone spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture completely.
Stir in chocolate chips and optional nuts.
Divide dough into 16 portions or use a #24 cookie scoop.
Arrange 8 cookies per sheet pan.
Bake one pan of cookies at a time; at 375F for 10-14 minutes until the edges have begun to set but the centers are still soft.
Allow cookies to rest on sheet pan for 30 minutes before moving.
Note: A #20 scoop will yield 20 cookies. Ghiradelli bittersweet 60% Cacao chips won CI's taste test. 60% Cacao (not cocoa) means the chips are 40% sugar and 60% cocoa solids and cocoa butter.