Sunday, May 27
I've been cheating on my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe. *shh...*
Looking back, I'm quite the c.c. cookie swinger. Each new recipe brings with it promises of happiness, peace, and chocolate, and for a while I'm perfectly content...until something fresh, bright, and flashy scurries across the radar.
When I saw this recipe on Tracey's blog, I knew I had to make it, ASAP. What baker could possibly resist a recipe title that's a cross between an irresistible pastry and a beloved cookie?
I'll say on record that these chocolate chip cookies are now my absolute favourite. Why? Not only do they appease my neurotic love for symmetry (thanks to the use of cookie cutters), but they employ an ingenious technique of actually rolling shards of chopped chocolate into layers of cookie dough...at least that's the idea.
To pay homage to my former c.c. cookie lover, Cook's Illustrated, I changed up this recipe a bit by browning the butter and allowing it to re-solidify in the fridge. Because the butter reduced during the browning process (something I should have compensated for), the dough was a bit too crumbly to actually roll out. What I ended up doing was less rolling, and more patting (& self-berating). The fact that these still turned out to be so mind-blowing, despite all the moments of falling to pieces, only proves how much you (yes, you!), really need to make a batch for yourself. No sharing.
The recipe is written with adjustments to the amount butter and eggs, so hopefully it will roll out beautifully. If not, I've also explained how you can use your magic hands to salvage what's sure to me a new favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Happy Memorial Day weekend, Everyone! xo
Thousand Layer-Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 20 cookies (if you're lucky)
1 1/4 cups (that's 2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 room temperature egg
3 room temperature egg Yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into shards (aim for longer, super model-thin "strips," as opposed to cute chubby chunks)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash) *The wash won't be used until very late into the recipe...lot's of dough refrigeration time.
Sea salt for sprinkling (optional, but highly recommend)
Brown that butter: Cut 1 cup (that's 2 sticks) of the butter into Tablespoon-sized pieces. (You won't be using the remaining 1/4 cup of butter right now, so leave it in the fridge.)
Have a heat-proof bowl on hand to hold the butter once it has browned. Place the pieces of butter into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk over medium-low heat until completely melted. Crank the heat up to medium, and continue cooking the butter. As it browns, it will foam up, and then it will calm down a bit. If you notice that one side is more foamy than the other, use the handle of the pan to swirl it around occasionally. Once the foam settles down, check for light brown specks forming at the bottom. Those specks are letting you know that it's almost ready! Keep cooking, and swirling the pan, until the butter develops a nutty aroma. *As soon as it's golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and pour the brown butter into a medium heat-proof bowl. Allow the browned butter to come to room temperature before covering, and refrigerating until solid **(at least 4 hours.)
*Note: Once the butter starts changing colour, it can burn super-fast, so don't wander off while it's cooking.
**Well covered, the browned butter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Any longer, and it may lose some of that nutty flavour.
Remove the solidified brown butter from the fridge, and allow it to soften to room temperature. (Bring the remaining 1/4 cup of regular butter to room temperature as well.)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking Soda, and salt; Set aside.
Scrape the softened brown butter into the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the 1/4 cup of regular butter and both sugars. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and light (about 3-5 minutes). Add the egg and beat for about one minute. One by one, add the yolks, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat just until the streaks of white have disappeared. Use a large rubber spatula to stir in any reaming bits of flour.
Place the cookie dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide it into 3 equal parts. Shape each piece into a 4x6-inch rectangle, wrap each one in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If you haven't done so already, you can pass the time by chopping the chocolate!
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper; Set aside. (No, you're not ready to use the oven just yet. Patience grasshopper) :)
Remove the rectangles from the fridge. If they feel like they're going to be too hard to roll out, leave them at room temperature for a few minutes. Place one of the rectangles onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle it with half of the chocolate shards. Top with a second piece of dough, and sprinkle it with the remaining chocolate. Top with the final piece of dough. You should have a high, delicious, messy cookie sandwich sitting in front of you. Try not to eat it! Dust the top layer of dough with flour, and use a *rolling pin to carefully/gently roll the dough into a rectangle that's about 9x6-inches and about 1 1/2-inches thick.
*This is the part where things started to go south for me. My dough cracked, split, and threw a fit when I tried to roll it out. If this happens to you, don't worry! Instead of rolling out the dough, I used my hands to work the chocolate into the dough. And instead of one big 9x6-inch rectangle, I worked with small portions of dough at a time. Still delicious!
Once the dough has been rolled, patted, or squished into a thickness of about 1 1/2-inches, use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out rounds of dough. [Note: I used 1 1/2-inch round cutters because I'm selfish and wanted more cookies.] Flour the cutter if necessary, and feel free to re-roll the scraps. Place the cut-out cookies onto the prepared sheets, cover loosely, and refrigerate for at least one hour. (Oh the humanity!) The longer you chill the unbaked cookies, the deeper the flavour!
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Have the egg wash on hand, ready to use.
Separate the chilled cookies before baking. These spread out a bit, so make sure to leave about 2-inches between each cookie. Brush the top of each cookie with a little bit of the egg wash. Sprinkle with sea salt (if using).
*Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until the edges have just set. Rotate the sheets half-way through the baking time to ensure even browning. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack.
*My cookies were perfect after only 11 minutes. They looked slightly underdone (which I prefer anyway), but they firmed up nicely as they cooled.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart via Tracey's Culinary Adventures