Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Crunchy on the outside, gooey in the center.
I love cookies, it's a well known fact that chocolate chip cookies are the end all to be all of cookies. Don't try to contest this, you will not win. I have, over the years, made countless batches of cookies, with almost as many different recipes. It's also a well known fact, just like pizza and sex, that even a bad cookie is still pretty good. But the art of making a perfect cookie is often lost in translation, but we'll get to that in a bit.

I found this recipe online whilst looking for the holy grail of chocolate chip cookies to make for Charlie and his work buddies. I wanted to be the one that all those hungry construction workers begged to make "those amazing cookies" so I really needed a good recipe, cuz let's face it, hungry men aren't that picky. I can't tell you how I found this recipe, because simply put, I don't remember, but I bet it went along the lines of me googling "the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever". What I found was this...

The blog Sweet Savory Life and Alice Currah's recipe.  It's true, her cookies are amazing. I've tried them, many times, but my problem with her method is, for whatever reason, inconsistent. And believe me, I've tried. The first batch was flavorful, but flat, the second had more rise, but the brown sugar created too much caramelization and created a lacy center. I weighed the flour like she suggested and both times I was unhappy. Once it was too cakey, the next too flat. I decided that her method worked for her and I had to just chalk up my failure to the fact that I wasn't her. Now don't get me wrong, her recipe is great and every time the cookies tasted great, but my results just didn't look like hers, or even hold up past 24 hours. The last time I made it, I had to substitute a few things as I didn't have enough brown sugar, and I was low in the semi-sweet chocolate chip department as well. But low and behold, I created the perfect cookie!

A plate of perfection.
The last time I went to Costco with my parents I mentioned I needed to grab some more butter because I was going to be making Charlie these cookies, since he asked so nicely, and my dad asked me why Charlie couldn't just make the cookies himself? I laughed and he asked, "Don't you have a Betty Crocker cookbook? Can't he read and follow a recipe?" Well, yes and most likely yes, but making cookies is more than just reading a recipe. There are reasons why people's cookies come out flat, and hard, or burned, or lumpy, or whatever other reasons befall them. It's called technique, and my dear Charlie does not possess it, which is why he asks me (plus I'm sure a bit of laziness) to make them for him. Now I've never tasted my dad's cookies, because frankly he probably has never made them in his life, but I could assume they would come out decent seeing as he knows how to follow a recipe, but there would be no finesse. These cookies, dear children, require finesse, and if you do no possess it, I would recommend either learning it, or reading and rereading this recipe until you can almost do it without looking. Baking, unlike cooking, requires a lot of precision and measuring as it's a chemical reaction that occurs, so unless you're 100% committed right off the bat, you cookies won't live up to the hype. Not that I am putting any undeserved hype on them, but... well you'll see.

My recipe very closely follows Alice's original recipe, but on the fateful day in question, when I was running low on supplies and had to improvise with what I had, I made what I believe to be MY perfect cookie recipe, full of 2 differnt kinds of chips, littered with flaky, crunchy salt surprises and crunchy on the edges while still staying gooey in the middle. I share it with you below. You're welcome.

(My reasons for my changes and some notes are at the bottom and denoted by an asterisk)
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar*
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar*
  • 2 large eggs (most eggs are "large" if you are unsure check your carton, when measured it should come to roughly 1/2cup of egg. If using egg substitute use 1/2cup.)
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract*
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (sifted please)
  • 1-2 tsp. coarse salt - (I use Morton's Kosher salt in the big blue box)*
  • 1 tsp. baking soda*
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder*
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips*
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips*
* Please please please make sure your baking soda, and baking powder is fresh or else your cookies won't get the proper rise they need, and you're gonna end up with flat, crunchy discs. At that point might as well just have bought some Chips Ahoy. I changed a few things because frankly I really like salt and vanilla, and because at the time my brown sugar was low so I had to substitute with white. In terms of chips I had a bag of semi-sweet and a bag of milk, and I really enjoy the subtle flavor that both chips provide. Feel free to experiment with chips for different effects. Please DO NOT use table salt as your cookies will come out far too salty. Coarse salt adds a unique texture and a flaky crunch that table salt does not provide.*

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.
Cream butter, and sugars until light pale yellow and extremely fluffy. It should almost look like frosting.

Properly creamed butter and sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat on medium to incorporate. Add dry ingredients (baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour) in another bowl and sift together. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet in batches of 3 until fully incorporated. Reduce speed to low, and add in chocolate chips.

You know you wanna lick the bowl.
 (I like to keep my chips in the freezer until ready to add, as it keeps them from breaking up in the batter.) Place your dough into the fridge to cool and "harden" for at least 10 minutes (more if where you live is hot at the time of baking) This insures the dough will not flatten too quickly in the oven causing burning or lacing.

Successfully firmed dough, ready for the scooping!
 When your oven is ready and your dough has firmed up, drop 2 tablespoons of the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet, like a silpat. This is to help the cookies 1. Not Burn and 2. makes it easier to remove them to cool.

Heaping tablespoons of heaven.
 Bake them 12-14 minutes until when peeked upon they have a nice rise and are starting to turn golden around the edges. They might look like they aren't done yet, but the cookies will continue to cook and set up after you remove them from the oven. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to rest on the pan for 2-3 minutes to set. Slide the parchment paper with the cookies still on top off the sheet and transfer to a cool surface (granite counter tops work well).

Golden brown edges.
 Resist the urge to devour them, and let them sit for a few minutes to cool before serving. If you plan on cooking the entire batch, store any left over uneaten cookies in an air tight container like a zip top bag. If you want to keep the dough around for fresh batches on call, store in air tight plastic containers. It will last a few days in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin