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Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Perfect" Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2009. This recipe does best making very large cookies. If you prefer smaller cookies reduce baking time 7-9 minutes.  These cookies really are AMAZING!!!  The brown butter adds this great caramel flavor to the cookie.  We love these cookies, but sometimes you want a smaller very chewy cookie so please note we don't make these exclusively no matter how "perfect" cooks illustrated claims them to be.

1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. 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 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whish 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 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). One extra step to help increase the "perfect" texture is to make a jagged surface on the dough. Break the dough ball in half, rotate the jagged halves 90 degrees and smash them back together. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Remember these are BIG cookies).

5. 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, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut and Toasted Almonds
Follow the recipe for Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, adding 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut and 1 cup toasted sliced almonds instead of the walnuts.

Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans
Follow the recipe for Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, substituting 1/2 cup white chocolate chips for 1/2 cup of the semisweet chips. Add 1 cup chopped pecans instead of walnuts.

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