Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

What should you do when you're sitting at home craving sweets but trying to resist? Work on a blog post for your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, of course! I made these for someone last week, and I've longed for them each day since. This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated, so that alone tells you they're worth trying. I'll leave the professionals to explain why this is technically the best recipe ever, but let me just say these cookies are game changers. I don't have a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe because I'm one of those weirdies who bakes by mood, but if I had to choose just one to stick with from here out, this would be the one. These are rich, decadent, and worthy of gifting. I guess what I'm saying is that if you do something awesome for me, I'll bake you some fab chocolate chip cookies.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) 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 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 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 (use scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

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

Hello, beautifully measured ingredients! Brown sugar, could you get your act together and avoid spilling on the Cutting Board? You're embarrassing. Ok, so here's the rundown on what I'm using: Measuring Cup Set, Easy Read Measuring Cups, Measuring Spoon Set, Pinch Bowls, 1-Cup Prep Bowls, Stainless Mixing Bowls, Stainless Whisk, 10" Executive Skillet, Mix 'n Scraper. I love making sure I have everything needed before getting started. Ever begin mixing batter only to realize you're out of eggs? Thought so.

Browning butter isn't difficult, but it's easy to second guess yourself if you've never done it. Just add your butter to a pan over medium-high heat, and let the butter cook. Continue swirling the pan, but don't stir it with a spoon. The butter will sizzle, and then it will stop. The color will turn brown, and the butter will smell nutty. At this point, take it off the heat to avoid burning it. I'm cooking this in the 10" Skillet from the Executive Cookware Collection.

This is the mix 30 seconds / rest 3 minutes / repeat 2 times step. Notice you don't need a hand mixer, just a Stainless Whisk. I know it might be tempting to short cut here, but let me discourage you. By following this recipe exactly, you'll end up with perfect cookies that don't dry out the next day. Part of the magic is whatever goes on while this batter mixes, rests, and mixes again.

I baked my cookies six at a time on Cookie Sheets to give them plenty of space. When it comes to baking from scratch, don't shortcut on your tools. The Pampered Chef's baking products will blow your mind, whether you're using our line of metal or Stoneware.

3 stages: Scooped cookies, baked cookies, cooled cookies. The ones on the Cooling Rack tempted me like crazy, but you'll be happy to know they made it to their new home untouched.

If you're looking for a new chocolate chip cookie recipe to try, don't ignore this one! I'd say they're the absolute most satisfying cookies I've ever had, and trust me - I've had a lot of cookies.

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