So I needed a new Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I don’t even remember what my old Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was. I know I have made them before, but the recipe I used must not have been impressive enough to stick in my mind. You can see why I needed a new one.
Here is the thing: I am not a huge fan of most chocolate chip cookies. I realize that is heresy in many states of these United, where chocolate chip cookies are considered almost as American as apple pie. But I don’t like bitter, dark, or semi-sweet chocolate, so chocolate chip cookies for me must contain milk chocolate chips instead of the more usual varieties. I also don’t like thin, crispy chocolate chip cookies. Cookies must be thick and soft and chewy. And no extra nuts or coconut or add-ins. I am talking straight up chocolate chips and that is all.
I know I tried Alton Brown’s The Chewy in the past and I wasn’t all that impressed. I have in my Chocolate Chip Cookie folder recipes by Jacques Torres, Martha Stewart, and Dorie Greenspan, but in the end I decided to go with a Baking Illustrated recipe that Brown Eyed Baker recommends on her site: Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.
A few things surprised me about this recipe. Instead of softened butter, you melt the butter and then beat it into the sugar. But the most surprising thing was the way you are instructed to shape the cookies. You roll them into little balls. The instructions were a little confusing, but as best I understand it, you then tear the dough in half and stack the pieces on top of each other, so that the torn edges are on the bottom and on the top of the stack. So you end up with dough that looks like this:
This is supposed to make the cookie’s surface look more craggy and elegant, like large bakery cookies.
I forgot to mention earlier that I only had half the amount of milk chocolate chips that the recipe required, so I made up the rest with white chocolate chips.
The tearing technique did give the cookies that characteristic “puddle” shape on the surface. In some cases, the effect was completed by the cookies actually flowing in to each other, like so:
I was very happy with how these cookies turned out. They were soft, moist, and delicious. They are also really, really big. I baked nine of them on a cookie sheet for 18 minutes per batch (I alternated instead of baking both batches at once). I have a bad habit of overbaking cookies, but although I went to the limit of the recommended baking time, these were not overdone. I let them cool on the baking sheet and they turned out perfectly. I baked them yesterday, and they are still soft today. Also, there are not many left.
I will probably try a few of those other recipes in my folder, but I would be perfectly happy with this as my new chocolate chip cookie recipe from now on.
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
via Brown Eyed Baker, who got it from “Baking Illustrated”
Makes about 18 large cookies.
These oversized cookies are chewy and thick, like many of the chocolate chip cookies sold in gourmet shops and cookie stores. They rely on melted butter and an extra egg yolk to keep their texture soft. These cookies are best served warm from the oven but will retain their texture even when cooled. To ensure the proper texture, cool the cookies on the baking sheet. Oversized baking sheets allow you to get all the dough into the oven at one time. If you’re using smaller baking sheets, put fewer cookies on each sheet and bake them in batches.
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips [GP note: a cup of chocolate chips is 6 oz., so I used 9 oz. of a combination of milk and white chocolate chips for extra chippiness. I weighed out all the ingredients of course, a habit left over from bread baking.]
1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray. [GP note: I baked mine one sheet at a time, on the middle rack. I did turn them halfway through. I did not use parchment, since I ran out earlier this week, and I didn't spray the cookie sheets. I might have if I were using regular baking pans, though.]
2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.
4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. [GP note: Brown Eyed Baker says that the balls should weigh 2.15 oz. I weighed mine to match, but the last two were a little short.] Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.
5. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.