Cook's Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

March 10, 2010

Ok, I think the plan is to post a chocolate chip cookie at least once a month (I hope you are not getting sick of them.) I always think I've found 'the recipe', but there are far too many creatively obsessed bakers who keep coming up with a new trend in c.c.cookies. Their recipes are far too irresistible. It's as though it's my birthday, I'm six years old and there is an ice-cream sundae with a large spoon sitting right in front of me.( I was only allowed to have ice-cream and cake for birthdays. No Little Debbies either, just apples, cheese, and yogurt. Cookie Monster made me cry. Deprivation thy name is therapy.)

There has been a myriad of cookie recipes on this blog the last few weeks, but the bars, cakes, and other incarnations of sugar will return. This particular recipe (made with brown butter) has been floating around a lot lately, and I can see why everyone loves them.

As if a post really needs a boring back story, here it is. I don't vent very often. Sometimes, it helps. The cookie stats are coming up, or you may jump down past the next photo if you just want to get to the good part.

Thanks to a possessed traffic light and the resulting loss of eggs, flour, and sanity, I almost didn't bother making these cookies. This light is right off of the grocery store's road. Most traffic lights have a pattern or will activate when a car is pulls up to it. Not this one. The road that it's on is long and straight, so you can see the thing coming from far away if you're not blinded by snow or a hopelessly clumsy windshield wiper blade. If it a light has been green for a long time, in a logical world, you know it will turn red before you arrive. So logically you and the on-coming traffic slow up. But this light has a sick sense of humor. It will stay green for what seems like forever, I've stared it down in my rear-view mirror and it will be green for over 2 minutes sometimes. Cars pass slowly through it on their bellies, like sheepish children who might get yelled at at any second. Other times it will only stay green for maybe 20 seconds. Numerous people have raced/crawled/prayed their way through many a red light. I have a mental image of a guy with the Nick Nolte mug-shot-look at the light's switchboard. On my way home with all my groceries the other day, I had to slam on my brakes because said light pulled another fast one on me. All my groceries in their flimsy, yet earth friendly tote bags went flying into and under the front seat of the car. That included the eggs and my precious pink lady apples, which rolled around in who-knows-what. To say I was mad would be an understatement. If it were not for my desire to keep a clean record, I would have loved to have had a pistol to shoot the thing, repeatedly, until all that was left were circuits, wires and a slowly fading red light. Or, better yet, find someone to remove it so I could go all Office Space fax machine on it. There were only 5 eggs that survived and I was fuming. Baking was the last thing I wanted to do but someone needed a batch of cookies for a party and these were hard to put off based on all the reviews. Plus I didn't want to give psycho light any smug satisfaction.

The rant is over. Thanks. :) If anyone knows the magic that brown butter can perform on a recipe, imagine how beautiful it is when infused into a chocolate chip cookie. Browning butter is a lot less frustrating than making caramel but the same basic alchemy is involved. The butter turns into a fragrant, nutty, rich dark golden liquid. If the world were to end tomorrow I might make some of that butter and sip it all day. It's really that good. It gives the cookies a healthy punch of caramel-nuttiness. Plus there is more brown sugar than white so the flavour reaches an even deeper level of richness. To top it all off, the cookies have a perfect texture. They have that coveted chewy center with a crispy edge. I think this recipe has gently nudged Thomas Keller out of the top position. Please give these a try, I don't think you will be disappointed.

*Update* I revisited this Recipe with less ranting and more loving!

Cook's Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe from Cook's Illustrated) Print

1 3/4 cups of unbleached, all purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon of baking Soda
14 Tablespoons of butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup of packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon of table salt ( I used 1 1/2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups of semi sweet chips or chunks (I used Ghirardelli's bittersweet chips)
3/4 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking Soda. Set is 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.

*I refrigerated my dough ovenight even though that wasn't included in the recipe. The dough is a little bit greasy and chilling it seemed to help them bake-up into a fatter cookie*

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

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.
Makes 16 cookies
* printer friendly Recipe *


  1. I would hate that traffic light too... I hate when I know I have something fragile in the car and have to brake at the last minute :(

    I like the picture of the interior of your cookie, this looks like a foolproof recipe and the cookies are very thick, yum!

  2. Baseball bats come in handy sometimes. Safer than a gun. ;)

    I don't know... better than Thomas Keller's? Well, I'll give them a try 'cause I love brown butter.

  3. Brown butter chocolate chip cookies...? I need to make them. Right now.

  4. These look and sound wonderful. I can't wit to try them!

  5. Those do look like the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

  6. Wow, that is a tricky light, isn't it? Sorry your lost some eggs, but I'm glad you were okay and made these cookies. They are at the top of my too-try pile, and it's getting to the point where I need to make them...SOON!

  7. This sounds fabulous. I've been dying to try the recipe when I saw it on other blogs, too. Sorry about the light incident!

  8. Trust me, don't put off making these for too long. You may kick yourself for waiting. :)

  9. yum... and that's quite a story about your groceries flying.

  10. I've made these, and they are quite good! I just bought their lightened up version cookbook, and this one has been created with less fat grams. I'm always skeptical, but I'm going to give it a try and see if I like it as much as this recipe.
    Great pics!

  11. Awesome pictures! This is also currently my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, they are super tasty, aren't they?!!

  12. You sold me on these cookies with the treatise on browned butter. YUM! Love that stuff in almost anything.

  13. A lite version of these, really? I don't know Debby but good luck with that. :-)

  14. Oh my! I have been seeing these cookies all over the food blogosphere lately and yours look divine. I MUST TRY!

  15. These have to be among the MOST beautiful CCC I have ever seen. I'm not a CCC fan, but after seeing these, I am inspired. My Sweetie-Pi will be sending you air kisses for this!

  16. I've got my own chocolate chip cookies recipe that people like, but this one is a must-try! Your chocolate chip cookies are just mouthwatering ;)

  17. Hi Rara. This recipe won't disappoint! I'll have to visit your blog for your version, I'm always up for a new c.c.cookie. :-)

  18. Hi! I've just tried those cookies yesterday, but they were not as smooth as yours. They were cracked.
    [If you speak french, I'm not sure that my sentence is right: ils étaient tout craquelés et pas tout beaux *.*]
    Is there a thing to do that I don't know yet to make as good looking cookies as yours?

    Thanks a lot :D

    Jula *.*

  19. Hi Jula,
    I understand exactly what you mean. The cookies in the photos are the 'pretty ones'. A lot of my cookies had that crackley, speckled look as a result of the brown butter. I made a few smaller sized versions which came out much smoother. So don't worry about their appearance. All that really matters anyway is the taste. :)

  20. You were right, they are realy tasty. I was afraid about using melted butter instead of creaming one, but even if the brown butter gives them an unusual look, it gives them an amazing taste!
    So I'll try to make them smaller, I'll tell you!

    Thank you *.* !

  21. I just made a batch of these and they are absolutely amazing! The browned butter makes such a difference and the sweetness is just right. I stuck to your recipe exactly, including the extra salt and chilling of the dough, but I did add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder as I find that my cookies are never puffy enough for my liking. These held their shape, stayed puffy, and taste amazing! Thanks for my new go-to CCC recipe!

  22. Hi Nicole!
    I'm so glad you've found a new ccc fav! Thanks for visiting. :-)

  23. These look fantastic! Now I feel like I REALLY have to try them out. I keep reading rave reviews of this whole browning butter thing, and yours look delectable. I agree with chilling the dough. I tend to do that even if the recipe never calls for it. I also like that your cookies are smaller than what I've been seeing. Fingers crossed! Can't wait to try them!

  24. Hi Aaisha! Brown butter is so amazing, and so addicting!

    Good luck with the cookies...and by good luck, I mean try not to 'sample' too much dough. (I did.) :D


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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