As you can see, I’m a tad bit, shall we say, non-committal when it comes to my chocolate chip cookies… always looking for the next best thing. But, life’s too short to miss out on the opportunity to uncover the most amazing, PERFECT chocolate chip cookie ever, right?
Last weekend, I returned to this Cook’s Illustrated perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe that I had tried multiple times nearly five years ago. I had been underwhelmed with it at the time, but perhaps time heals all wounds because as far as I’m concerned, they turned out absolutely perfectly this time around.
What Makes a Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie?
Admittedly, this is totally subjective and you and I may not see eye-to-eye on it. Heck, my husband and I have VASTLY differing opinions on what makes a chocolate chip cookie perfect, so when I can create a cookie that we both REALLY LIKE, it’s a huge win.
This is what I need from my perfect chocolate chip cookies:
Soft, thick and chewy – this is a must! I refuse to waste calories on thin cookies or crunchy cookies. Unless you’re giving me a biscotti, pizzelle, or some other cookie that is inherently crunchy, it needs to be soft and chewy. End of story.
It needs to be EASY. Chocolate chip cookies are the ultimate “throw them in the oven for an afternoon snack” type of cookie. Sure, there is room for the fancy, chill-the-dough-for-days type, but my perfect cookie needs to be low maintenance.
There needs to be enough chocolate chips. This should go without saying, but if I can take a normal-size bite and manage to not get even one chip, then the amount of chocolate chips is seriously lacking.
These Cook’s Illustrated perfect chocolate chip cookies check off all of my requirements above, AND it’s a cookie that my husband and I both loved. Total home run here!
What Makes These Cookies Different?
There are a few different aspects to these cookies that makes the “perfect” moniker worthy:
While the thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies use melted butter, this recipe takes it a step further and actually browns the butter. Using browned butter really ups the complexity of the flavor; nothing bad has ever come from browned butter, that’s for sure!
Most soft and chewy cookies use more light brown sugar than granulated sugar to keep that soft texture, but this one uses dark brown sugar that, along with the browned butter, gives these cookies a hint of butterscotch and toffee flavor.
A little less flour and the addition of an egg yolk adds to the soft texture.
Perfect! Seriously, the Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies are utterly fantastic cookies. They can be whipped up quickly, they have great flavor, and the perfect texture – golden brown, wrinkly edges and soft and puffy centers.
My only regret is not making a double batch of these!
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large (18x12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.
3. Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling the pan constantly until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into the hot browned butter until completely melted. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
4. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to the bowl with the butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until the mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips and give the dough a final stir to ensure there are no hidden flour pockets.
5. Scoop the dough into 16 even portions, each about 3 tablespoons, and arrange them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.
6. Bake the cookies 1 tray at a time until the cookies are golden brown but still puffy, and the edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely before serving. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
It is recommended that you use weight measurements for the best results.
You can use light brown sugar instead of dark, but the characteristic butterscotch/toffee flavor will be less pronounced.