Of all the desserts, sugary items, oozy and gooey treats to indulge in and decadent things to eat…there is only one that will forever have my heart. I have been told that I make delicious custards and puddings, I have made cakes that are both rich and light, I can make munch-worthy candies, I can even flambé and brulee until your heart is content. But none of these things can hold a candle to my all-time favorite “dessert like” item: the ever beloved, Chocolate Chip Cookie.
The last time I was out with my family we walked into a bakery and café. They all laughed at me as we placed our orders. Of course I ordered a chocolate chip cookie and my mother said to my dad, “Some things will never change!” I have written on here before about my love of this divine treat and my memory of the first time I made these lovely and oh so wonderful cookies. Throughout time it is the only item I continuously go back to; I am always game for a good cookie. Yes, I have had some bad ones, but I have tried to wipe them from my memory! I personally feel there is a time and place for each kind of cookie; whether it has the qualities of being chewy, soft, crispy, crunchy, dunkable, or gooey.
Several months ago I read an article on Serious Eats written by, J. Kenji López-Alt; about the man who set out on a quest to find the best recipe for a chocolate chip cookie. Through trial and error he literally tried a ton of recipes (Reading the article was refreshing actually. It made me feel like I was not alone with my crazed obsessions over food!). The end result was a mighty fine cookie. At first the recipe seemed like a bizarre mixing technique and brown butter. Call me strange but I was aroused and intrigued. I dove right in on the first free evening I had and I could not believe the outcome. They had great texture, the edges were crisp, and the cookie’s center had a nice balance of soft yet chewiness. The crumb of the cookie was subtle and the over the top finish was the light dusting of sea salt that you catch in just about every other bite. I will admit, I have made this recipe quite a few times now. Each and every time I share one of these chocolate chip cookies with someone they raise their brow because their taste buds have been alerted…yes, they know they just tasted the best chocolate chip cookie. I could go on and on about this recipe, but I will leave you with his exact measurements & instructions, you will have to let me know if you totally fall in love with the cookies like I have.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie (makes about 28 cookies)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 standard ice cube (about 2 tablespoons frozen water)
10 ounces (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
5 ounces (about 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 ounces (about 1/2 tightly packed cup plus 2 tablespoons) dark brown sugar
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped with a knife into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks
Coarse sea salt for garnish
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, gently swirling pan constantly, until particles begin to turn golden brown and butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue swirling the pan until the butter is a rich brown, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a medium bowl, whisk in ice cube, transfer to refrigerator, and allow to cool completely, about 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. (Alternatively, whisk over an ice bath to hasten process).
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Place granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high speed until mixture is pale brownish-yellow and falls off the whisk in thick ribbons when lifted, about 5 minutes.
Fit paddle attachment onto mixer. When brown butter mixture has cooled (it should be just starting to turn opaque again and firm around the edges), Add brown sugar and cooled brown butter to egg mixture in stand mixer. Mix on medium speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just barely combined but some dry flour still remains, about 15 seconds. Add chocolate and mix on low until dough comes together, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate dough at least overnight and up to three days.
When ready to bake, adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 325°F. Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or a spoon, place scoops of cookie dough onto a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet. Each ball should measure approximately 3 tablespoons in volume and you should be able to fit 6 to 8 balls on each sheet. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown around edges but still soft, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating pans back to front and top and bottom half way through baking.
Remove baking sheets from oven. While cookies are still hot, sprinkle very lightly with coarse salt and gently press it down to embed. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 for remaining cookie dough. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container, plastic bag, or cookie jar at room temperature for up to 5 days.