Last weekend, I went on a little baking spree. I was gonna do some spritz cookies, but then Taylor put in a request for chocolate chips. No problem, as long as you go get the chips (as we didn’t have any). So, he comes back with Hershey’s chocolate chips (and Arm & Hammer laundry detergent, but that’s another story…) WHAT? It’s Nestle Toll House or bust, dude. But after a brief moment of paralysis, I decided it’s chocolate and how bad could it be?
Until last Saturday, the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever made has been off the back of that trademark yellow bag. So, when the Hershey chips rolled in, I considered my sources and decided to give America’s Test Kitchen recipe a whirl.
I hadn’t seen the America’s Test Kitchen show when my BFF Elizabeth gave me the cookbook for Christmas 2 years ago. But shortly thereafter, we caught their episode about omelets (Young people—this is the kind of excitement you have to look forward to when you get old. Watching an entire show about OMELETS.) And by golly—-best omelet EVER! And I have rarely met an omelet station I didn’t like.
In the past, my cookies always ended up a little thin and on the verge of crispy. Not these babies. The secrets?
Browned butter. Well, 10 of 14 tablespoons of butter browned.
This super OCD method of 30 seconds of stirring and 3 minutes of sitting. Three times over. It incorporates the sugar better and gives it more time to dissolve. Or something like that.
Other differences: More brown sugar than white sugar, 2 egg yolks and 1 egg white, baking only 1 cookie sheet at a time.
I also have these fancy schmancy pans. (Awesome wedding gift.)
Totally worth it, though. Skip to the end for the recipe. You can also find it on the America’s Test Kitchen site, but you have to register (for free). There is a cool little breakdown chart about where their recipe differs from the Toll House version, so if you’re a Cookie Consumer Reports kind of person, it’s worth checking out.
Other baking endeavors?
Gingersnaps. I think they are kind of under-appreciated, but with a glass of milk, there’s nothing better.
And for the first time ever, cheese straws.
Luckily, I have managed not to eat ALL of them this week (despite what the waistband of my jeans is telling me…)
Did you bake anything new this year? Or just looking forward to old favorites?
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies via America’s Test Kitchen
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) (see note)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
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 (or use #24 cookie 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.
(Note: I made mine smaller than this recipe recommended and it took about half the baking time.)