13 February 2014

Pretty Damn Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

About a month ago, my pops sent me a link to a recipe he found online promising the "perfect"
chocolate chip cookies.

And I made them, and they were good, don't get me wrong.

But this is Food Lab, goddamnit. "They were good" doesn't cut it. Drop and give me 20, soldier!

I thought the other cookies were too sweet. I liked going heavier on the brown sugar than the white for a nice moist cookie with a deeper flavor, but 1 1/2 c.  sugar total is too much, particularly with 12 oz. of semisweet chips AND 8 oz. bittersweet.

I also thought they were too large. In the "traditional" Toll House recipe, you're putting down about 1/4-1/2 oz. per cookie. "Perfect" tells you to make each cookie 2 oz. That's 1/4 c. batter. That's not a cookie - it's a dinner plate with chocolate chips in it.

I also followed the mixing directions to the letter, which was a mistake. I ended up with a bunch of unincorporated dry stuff at the bottom of the bowl. And kosher salt was a mistake, too - the grains are too big - and the recipe called for too little (also contributing to the "too sweet" problem).

So I decided to tweak the recipe.

1 c. unsalted butter at cool room temperature
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 tsp. sea salt 
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
16 oz. (ish) of bittersweet chocolate chips (I didn't measure precisely - I had a full bag and a partial bag that was, I think, about 1/2 full, which would technically be 18 oz. of chips)
1 c. pecans, finely chopped (which you can replace with walnuts or skip entirely if you don't like nuts)

Preheat your oven to 375 F. 

Cream the butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla (you can do it by hand but it's a hell of a lot easier to do it in your stand mixer). The creamed mixture will not be as fluffy or light in color as normal because of the higher amount of brown sugar, but that's OK - don't worry!

Add the eggs and beat until they're fully incorporated, then add the baking soda.

With the mixer on low speed (so flour doesn't fly all over the place), add the flour 1/2 c. at a time, stopping to scrape up the bottom, scrape down the sides, and scrape out the paddle periodically. Mix until it's all fully incorporated.

Toss in your chips and nuts, and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Make sure the arm of your mixer is locked, or all those chips and nuts will make it buck. Alternatively, you can take the batter off the mixer first and stir in the chips and nuts by hand.

Drop your cookie batter by rounded tablespoons onto your favorite cookie sheet. You're looking for about 1 oz. batter per cookie. It's up to you whether you grease or not, parchment paper or not, Silpat or not, or just go au naturel. I've tried it with the Silpat and bare and not noticed a significant difference.

Bake for about 9 minutes. The original recipe is correct - you need to pull them out when they're getting a little brown and crispy at the edges but are still underdone in the middle. Let them rest on the hot cookie sheet for about a minute to firm up, then remove them to racks to cool.

Tell me those aren't gorgeous!

Next time, I think I'm going to try forming them into balls and refrigerating them before baking, like I do with most of my other butter-based cookies. I think it will help them maintain their shape better in the oven.


Anonymous said...

When do I get to try them

Anonymous said...

I'll freeze some so you can have them the next time you visit :)