Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


One Year Ago: Buttermilk Spice Cake with Pear Compote
Two Years Ago: Banana Cake with Caramel Cream and Pecans

I often hear heartwarming stories about how people have grown to love cooking. Many of these stories sound the same.  They grew up cooking along side their Grandmother or Mother and inherited all their amazing skills and now naturally love cooking.  Or maybe they grew up on a small farm somewhere in the Midwest and can do everything from butchering to baking. My life, was nothing like either of these scenarios.

I grew up in a small town in Northwest Ohio. I had hard working parents and lived a standard middle class life. There was cooking every night but it was usually hurried and there was little time for cooking lessons.  As I got older I was naturally interested in cooking but my meal choices were not overly popular.  There was the time I attempted to make homemade “stuffing” by mixing cubed white Wonder bread, peanut butter, grape jelly and eggs. It was not good. At all. It ended up becoming a giant ball of peanut butter and jelly scented mush. I remember my step-dad standing in the kitchen laughing at my creation.  There was another period of time where I became fascinated with honey.  Now, here is the weird thing. I hate honey. It’s alright in baked goods but I cannot just eat honey. Totally not my thing.  Which is why it was odd that I became fascinated with making creations out of it. At first, my Mom was grateful for the “delicious” honey sandwiches I would make her. However, it quickly grew old. After her sixth honey sandwich of the week she told me I had to start eating them. Ewww! There was no way I was eating that sandwich. Well, my mom won and I ended up eating the sandwich. I also never made another honey sandwich again. I wasn’t going to be roped into eating one of those gross things every again…

Now of course this all happened when I was around 8 years old so of course when I was older my skills improved….right? Well, you would be wrong.  I did manage to perfect a really great pie crust by the time I was 16 but other than that it was touch and go.  Since you cannot live off pie (or so they tell me…) I was not going to last in the “real” world.  However, I did manage a few years by living off Ramen Noodles and drinking large amounts of Diet Coke….soooooo healthy I know Smile

This is when I knew I had to do something with my life.  So at nineteen years old I decided I would go to the English Nanny & Governess School.  I was going to become a certified nanny – work for the rich and travel the world!  Instead I ended up moving to New York and working for a fantastic family who helped me grow and move into another phase of my life.  They taught me about Italian cooking (clam sauce?…we didn’t have that in Ohio…), helped me grow up and taught how to manage a family.  I quickly learned how to put together meals that could happily feed a family of five.  I had moments of failure but most of the time we were happy.  I still talk to the kids I first worked with and they almost always bring up my “famous” taco night.  It may have not been gourmet but they loved it…and I loved it.

I would like to think that I now have the cooking thing down pat.  I can make a dinner and 90% of the time it will turn out delicious.  However, there are a few things I know I need to work on. I’m soooooo not great at recipe development.  For some reason I seem to think by throwing stuff together it will result in a fantastic outcome.  This rarely, if ever, happens. It would also work better if I actually used ingredients I enjoy eating.  True story – I tried making a new marinade and used steak sauce in the recipe. I hate steak sauce. When I made the meal I was disappointed the meat tasted like steak sauce.  Common sense should have told me not to do this…I don’t always listen to common sense. I can’t be the only one out there that does this same thing….

I have now learned that when it comes to recipe development I’m going to leave it to the professionals. They seem to know what they are doing.  That is why when I wanted a cookie I went to Cook’s Illustrated. They did the hard work for me – they perfected the recipe. It has brown butter, dark brown sugar and dark chocolate chips. Oh man…..so delicious. Plus you don’t have to dirty your mixer to make them.  Just a bowl, whisk and wooden spoon. Easy cleanup! So if you are looking for a perfect chocolate chip cookie this might be the recipe for you.  I think it’s wonderful, and I should know, I have eaten a lot of crappy self developed recipes in my life…..

 

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Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Yield: 16 cookies

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 10 - 14 minutes

Total Time: 45 - 50 minutes

Ingredients:

1 3/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2teaspoon 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
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

Directions:

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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32 Responses to “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies”

  1. #
    1
    Lisa @ Sweet as Sugar Cookies — May 4, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Those cookies definitely look scrumptious.

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    Blond Duck — May 4, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I can’t believe you went to Nanny school! Awesome! And I’m definately trying these cookies….

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    Simply Life — May 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    What a fun story – these cookies look great!

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    christo/doggybloggy — May 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    these do look perfect and they look chewy too and I love a chewy cookie – I make little round granola cakes when I make a cookie so your recipe is now my recipe.

  5. #
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    Faith — May 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    You can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies…definitely my favorite cookie of all time! They look wonderful!

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    Rachel @ Rachel's Recipe Reviews — May 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Oh my. These do look perfect. And I love your story. Honey sandwiches, good for your mom for eating them 6 days straight!

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    Tiffany — May 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    These look amazing! Nothing beats the classic chocolate chip cookie. What a great story! Honey sandwhiches???Not so much for me either, but I am sure your mother appreciated your efforts. :)

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    Joanne — May 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Haha I definitely did NOT come from a foodie family either. And my first cookie baking attempt….peanut butter cookies…they had the consistency of sand. My ex boyfriend still makes fun of me for them, especially given how much I love cooking now.

    I do trust Cook’s Illustrated implicitly, however, and so I know these cookies must be rock-star!

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    Denise — May 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I have used this recipe in my never-ending quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Cook’s Illustrated hit the nail on the head with this one. It is a great recipe. I let the dough sit in the refrigerator for 2 days to give the flour and eggs a chance to “incorporate” as recommended on the NY Times chocolate chip cookie recipe. It makes them even more better (lol) if that is all possible. Thanks for sharing!

  10. #
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    Erica — May 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    So awesome. I always love hearing about how people learned to cook. A honey sandwich huh? regardless- the cookies look amazing. PERFECT. I am always looking for new cookie recipes to try

  11. #
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    EmandM — May 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Looks amazing! so perfect =)

  12. #
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    Maris (In Good Taste) — May 5, 2011 at 12:41 am

    These look like the perfect chocolate chip cookie!

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    Erin — May 5, 2011 at 1:45 am

    WOW! I LOVE the stories about your past. Let’s me into to who you are. :) I think everyone at some point experimented.. especially when it meant feeding their parent the creation. lol Cook’s Illustrated is my favorite “go to” recipe source, especially for baked goods. I watch the shows on tv whenever they’re on (and I’m home) Great recipe choice! I think I’ll make these with the kids my next weekend off! :)

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    theUngourmet — May 5, 2011 at 3:03 am

    I think my kids would love attempting the PB & J stuffing! ;)

    It’s wonderful that you ended up taking a job with the family you did and that you were able to learn so many things. Your cookies look fabulous! I’m all over the hand mixing!

  15. #
    15
    Chiara — May 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

    They are perfect cookies! You just made me soooo hungry for cookies. Yum.

  16. #
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    Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) — May 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Chocolate chip cookies are so standard, it always seems odd that they can taste so different! These look absolutely amazing. You’re giving Nestle a run for their money!

  17. #
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    5 Star Foodie — May 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Yum! These do look perfect indeed!

  18. #
    18
    Jessica — May 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    You had me at brown butter….that’s all I’m sayin:)

  19. #
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    claudia lamascolo — May 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    your right these are perfect!

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    cooking rookie — May 5, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Lovely cookies! I espacially love the photo of the half eaten one :-).

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    Cookin' Canuck — May 6, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Wonderful story of your trials and tribulations as you were learning to cook. These cookies look soft and chewy – perfect!

  22. #
    22
    Shannon — May 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    these are definitely on my to-try list ;)

  23. #
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    Barbara — May 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Cook’s has some of the best recipes. This looks like a must try.

  24. #
    24
    grace — May 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    it seems you’ve tweaked your chocolate chip cookies to perfection–bravo! thanks for writing and sharing this insightful post. :)

  25. #
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    Megan — May 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I loved not having to pull out a mixer to make these! I’m touched by your story of how you learned some valuable cooking lessons and skills.

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    Lori @ Girl Meets Oven — May 7, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Um, I have to confess. I love peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I ate them as a kid, and I still eat them today. I think these cookies would be the perfect dessert following a peanut butter and honey sandwich. :)

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    Megan'sCookin' — May 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I loved hearing your story and I’m not good at recipe development either. These cookies do look perfect!

  28. #
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    Reeni — May 10, 2011 at 1:38 am

    I love honey – would eat your sandwiches any time – the stuffing you can keep! I’m still searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie – nothing has compared to the tollhouse recipe for me. But I like the looks of these! And the method is so different.

  29. #
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    DK — May 18, 2011 at 11:04 am

    This recipe from Cooks Illustrated is my go-to for choc chip cookies. It is absolutely delicious and I’ve made them countless times…as my hips can attest.

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    Veronica — May 23, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    This was the blog I chose to read out of all I missed, and I’m so glad I clicked it b/c I loved reading your history with food and cooking. The PJ&J stuffing is hilarious. When my sister was little she wrote a recipe for stuffing that called for croutons and water. LOL! She also tried to make tea by sprinkling loose tea in the microwave. As for me, the first thing I ever made was a raw egg in a bowl, sprinkled with sugar. I was so proud of my creation! Needless to say, Dad didn’t eat it when I presented it to him. :) These cookies look incredible–my favorite chocolate chippers are made with brown butter but for some reason when I tried this recipe, it didn’t turn out for me. I guess I’ll have to try it again!

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    Carolee — May 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I just made these cookies, and I’m not going to lie, they are everything they promise and more. I’ve read this recipe before and thought…..NOT! But you made it look easy. And they are. It’s a few more steps (by hand, mind you) than the tollhouse cookies but the reward is so amazing! I will never make those “other” cc cookies again. YUM!

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