Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I grew up making chocolate chip cookies from the recipe on the back of the Toll House chocolate chip bag. My dad always told me that my cookies were great, but my results varied a little. Being a completely novice baker, I had no idea why sometimes my cookies were a bit flat and other times too cakey for my taste.  I didn't know what creaming butter and sugar was. Or what baking soda or powder does. Or if using margarine instead of butter made a difference.

Anyway, my point is {ahem}... those cookies were good, even without knowing what I was doing. I guess that's why the recipe is still on the back of those bags. 

The chocolate chip cookies that I make now are really good. I hadn't made cookies for my dad in years. It wasn't until after I found this recipe, tweaked it a tiny bit, and then waited for his next visit to the great mid-west. My dad concluded, a few cookies later, that the Toll House cookies are a good, every day chocolate cookie to eat with your family when you want to make up something relatively quickly. These, on the other hand, were the type of cookie you could serve company.

I agree with him... but I also think these are good for just your family, too. I don't know if I'll ever go back to making cookies from the back of the bag.

There a many tricks that I've learned from watching and reading America's Test Kitchen, my favorite source for foolproof, diet un-friendly recipes. The brown sugar to white sugar ratio is different. The egg ratio is different (leave out a white). The type of chocolate chips are not Toll House.  Most importantly of all, you need to brown the butter instead of cream it. 

Browned butter is what makes this recipe so different from any other chocolate chip cookie I've seen. It takes on a toffee tone, and whisking the hot butter with the sugar mixture jumpstarts the caramelization process before the cookie even makes it to the oven. 

These cookies are large, chewy in the center, crisp on the edges, and very chocolatey. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk or top with vanilla ice cream.

Ok, enough rambling. Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slightly adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Yields 16-20 cookies (16 if done right, 19 if you're me)

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (fresh, not hardened)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Semi-Sweet Chips (highly recommended; or, if you insist on other brands,  opt for 1 1/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks)
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  1. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl. 
  2. In a separate large bowl, whisk together white sugar, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla.
  3. Be careful here! Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-12 inch *non-coated* skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. {You want to use a non-coated skillet so that you can actually see the butter browning as opposed to a dark pan where you can't see it clearly.} Continue heating, swirling pan or stirring constantly until you can smell a nutty aroma, and, when you look beneath the foamy top, the butter solids are dark golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes. {The transformation is fast, so don't walk away.} Remove skillet from heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. , using a silicone spatula, transfer browned butter to large bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
  4. Pour browned butter over sugar mixture and whisk to incorporate fully. Whisk in the egg and yolk; continue whisking for 30 seconds.  Let the sugar mixture sit for at least 3 minutes. Then whisk for an additional 30 seconds and let it sit for another 3 minutes. Repeat the whisking/waiting once or twice more, until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny (a total of 3 or 4 whisk/wait periods). 
  5. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined. {Once the flour is incorporated, it's better to have small flour streaks than to over mix.} 
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips and toasted nuts (if using).
  7. Make balls of dough that equal approximately 3 tablespoons (#24 cookie scoop or a scant 1/4 measuring cup). It's approximately the size of a golf ball. 
  8. Arrange 2 inches apart on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.
  9. Rotating baking sheet halfway through baking, bake one tray at a time for 10-14 minutes. Cookies are golden brown, edges have begun to set but centers look just underdone. 
  10. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and cool cookies before serving. {If you need your cookie sheet for additional batches, wait 10 minutes before transferring the cookies to the wire wrack.} Cookies are even better on day 2.
I linked up here!


  1. Oooh, I've tried ATK's cookies and loved them. I bet yours were so yummy fresh out of the oven. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog right now and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your cookies up.

  2. @Lisa

    Thanks for stopping. I'll check out your blog!

  3. Saw this on Sweets for a Saturday - I love browned butter and tried that trick with Alton Brown's chocolate chip cookie recipe. It was yummy. I don't think I can make chocolate chip cookies the same way again. Your cookies look great!

  4. Oh, these look really delicious! My children would love these. Thanks for sharing on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday!

  5. I would love for you to link it up to my party that is running now. Any linky goes.

    Come strut your stuff.

  6. bless you. i have experimented with this cookie for years and i'm always looking for help! ever tried the Jacques Torres one where you let the dough chill for around 36 hours? gonna try your recipe!

    you might like my giveaway and i'd love for you to follow!



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