Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had originally intended to compare two recipes for chocolate chip cookies. One from a new cookbook and one from Cook's Illustrated. CI always claims that everything they make is the best ever. Sometimes they're right, but sometimes they do fall short. I wanted to try it with the simplest of cookie creations the classic chocolate chip cookie.

Unfortunately, the editors and designers of the cookbook in which the second recipe is found thwarted my efforts again. For some reason these folks insist that 5-point italic type is just dandy for ingredient lists. Thus, without a magnifying glass I again mistook their tiny 3/4 for 1/4. Obviously, the cookies did not turn out as planned. They were edible but they didn't spread properly and were more like chocolate chip shortbread than true chocolate chip cookies. Note to cookbook publishers: Please use decent sized type in your books. I have excellent up close vision (in fact I'm myopic) so if I can't read your typeface, imagine how many others can't!

So, I moved on to the Cook's Illustrated recipe and gave it a go. I'll admit it's pretty good. I love the addition of the brown butter to the recipe because it gives this cookie some real flavor oomph! Most of the time when you think of chocolate chip cookies you think the rather crisp and tough ones that come from bags in the grocery store. These are soft and luxurious with a very smooth texture. I used milk chocolate chips since I had them on hand and love milk chocolate. I also made these much, much smaller than called for in the recipe because I was making for a crowd. I actually got nearly 3 dozen in total from the recipe using a little less than a tablespoon measure. The original of this recipe calls for making 16 large cookies. Obviously, either way works. If you want to make big cookies you just need to adjust your cooking time slightly by a couple minutes longer.

In other news, the first issue of the Sugar Pies Pantry is out. Each month we'll be bringing you news, tips, special recipes, and information. We'll also be featuring a drawing each month for subscribers. This month we gave away a copy of The Amish Cook's Baking Book by Lovina Eicher. The winner was Tammy from Florida! Congrats, Tammy and we hope you enjoy your book! Next month we're giving away an OXO Good Grips Cookie Scoop (perfect for this recipe!) so make sure you subscribe by April 30th for your chance to win! Also, if you have a cooking question you'd like answered in The Pantry, please drop us a note.

I was thrilled to see that a new blog, Cupcakelab, had decided to try out the Orange Mango Cupcakes we posted a while ago. They seemed to really enjoy them and I was taken with the site. They test out cupcake recipes from around the web and rate them based on their results. It's similar to what goes on here, but they will choose one type of recipe and try several variations to uncover the best. I found myself clicking from page to page viewing the variety of results.

Finally, next Thursday I'll be at Odyessey at Club Congress telling the story of my organ transplant as part of their show "Shoulda' Been Dead: Stories from the Edge." This is my second visit to Odyssey to tell a story; the first being about Mama and her collection of the Mardi Gras Cake recipe. It's a great monthly event and I'm honored Penelope, Adam, and the others invited me back. Interestingly, one of the other storytellers is a professional baker working for a local restaurant and coffee house! If you're in the Tucson area on April 7th at 7:00pm please drop by Club Congress to hear these other great storytellers.

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Summary: Soft and chewy and made with brown butter, these chocolate chip cookies are a taste bonanza!


  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. 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 transfer browned butter to large heatproof mixing bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
  4. 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 additional 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. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), scraping bowl to ensure no flour pockets remain.
  5. Using a medium or large cookie scoop, drop the dough about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  6. 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, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool about 5-10 minutes the remove cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Total time: 30 min
Number of servings (yield): 30
Meal type: snack
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)
Copyright © Buck Bannister and Sugar Pies.
Recipe by Cook's Illustrated. Adapted by Buck Bannister.

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