I bought chocolate chips the other day, or at least I attempted to. I put my allotted 1 bag into the grocery cart. When I got home I put all the groceries away.
That night, as I was drifting off to sleep I woke up, thinking, “Did I put the chocolate chips away? Maybe James did. They must have fallen out into the trunk.” The next day I checked but there were no chocolate chips, in fact, they were not even listed on my receipt. Weird. I know I put them in there.
Today I trekked back to the store to finish the job and got what I needed.
About once a month I bake chocolate chip cookies. I have to. If I don’t I will crave them for eternity. I can’t go buy a cookie from the bakery. I can’t have someone bring me homemade cookies. And I especially can’t eat packaged ones. Well, I guess I could do all of those things, but it wouldn’t subdue the craving. It’s almost like the craving is fulfilled by the actual combining and stirring of the ingredients. I feel better once they are in the oven, as if I don’t even really need to eat them. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my share after they are baked, but the craving for them disappears once they are in the oven. I think the craving is really my body’s way of telling me to de-stress and unwind because I always feel a sigh of relief once they are done.
This recipe is slightly different from the usual chocolate chip cookie recipe. It calls for browned butter. Yep, browned butter. If you have never tried browned butter, it is time. Browned butter is not a special ingredient you buy at the store, and you don’t need to add anything special to your regular butter. All you do is melt it in a frying pan and swirl it around a bit until it starts to turn into a lovely golden brown color with little brown flecks.
Browning the butter deepens the flavor to taste almost nutty, perhaps even a bit butterscotchy. If you don’t like nuts or butterscotch don’t run away yet. Browned butter has a flavor of its own that is difficult to describe, so it’s best to try it for yourself and decide. Let me know what you think.
Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter
(recipe from 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
- 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: this recipe makes very large cookies, but I like smaller cookies so I can eat more. So I use a tablespoon to measure the dough and then bake for 8-10 minutes.