Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cookie Perfection

“Oh wow”…”mmmmm”…”soooo good”


That was my husband and I a little while ago, savoring each and every bite of the chocolate chip cookies I just made.

I’m really trying to think back on all the chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had in my life, and I’m having a hard time coming up with one that I’ve liked more than these…


and I have America’s Test Kitchen to Thank!!  I honestly don’t think I would have ever made these cookies if I weren’t put up to the challenge.


They are bigger than I usually like, and are packed full of butter and sugar.  Knowing me, I would of made them smaller and “healthier”…and then I would have never had this perfect cookie experience :)


Luckily for me (and my husband), Boston bloggers were challenged to make their Perfect Chocolate Chip cookie recipe and blog about it.  The winner gets to visit the set of America’s Test Kitchen for a live taping!!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Cooks Illustrated

Makes 16 cookies

My Notes:

I used salted butter.  Yes, I know.  One of the cardinal rules of baking is to use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt.  However, I grew up in a house where we only ever had salted butter, so my mom only ever baked with salted butter…and you know what, everything my mom bakes is delicious.  Therefore I almost always use salted butter…and my baked goods are pretty damn tasty too! 

(see original recipe link for other notes)


  • 1 3/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 14tablespoons unsalted (or salted) butter (1 3/4 sticks)
  • 1/2cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (see note)
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
  • 3/4cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
    I didn’t use nuts
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

  2. 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, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

  3. 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 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, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.IMG_8900 IMG_8904

  4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

  5. 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, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

My Thoughts on this cookie process:

  • First of all, I decided to break out the scale!  For some reason I never think to use it and that is about to change.
    IMG_8892 I LOVED measuring my ingredients on the scale…so much simpler than lightly filling your measuring cup, leveling, and repeating.  Just fill the bowl until you reach your desired amount. 
  • The process of whisking and waiting definitely tested my patience, and I even used my phone as a stop watch.  However, after the first 3-minute wait I started using my waiting times to clean up a little :)
  • Also my butter+sugar+vanilla+egg mixture, using the salted butter, tasted like awesome salted caramel…I knew the cookies we’re destined to be delicious at that point.
  • Since my aunt sent me home with a bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies on Sunday, I only baked up 1 tray of these bad boys.  However, I portioned and froze the rest for future cookie cravings.  Personally I think that was a brilliant idea on my part ;)

My cookies baked for 10 min, and I always air on the side of underdone.  I let them cool for about 2 minutes before breaking off a warm gooey piece.  Of course a piece of WARM chocolate chip cookie was going to be good. 


It wasn’t until after dinner, when the cookies had cooled to room temp, did we experience the cookie bliss.


Crisp around the edges, soft and gooey on the inside.  These were unlike any cookies I’ve ever made or had.  The whisking and waiting was most definitely worth it to get that deep dark caramel-like texture and color. 


I have been maintaining a LOT of self restraint with these…and it’s NOT easy, but I’m learning to savor each bite.

IMG_8936 If your even thinking about making chocolate chip cookies…throw your “go-to” recipe aside just this once and try these…with salted butter of course ;)



  1. Wow! They look awesome! I'm usually not a traditional chocolate chip cookie girl (I prefer oatmeal chocolate chip) but these look fab! What a great task to have to complete :)

  2. Let me know how the frozen ones work out when you bake them off. I thought about trying that. My mom also only ever used salted butter. I didn't even realize unsalted butter existed until I started baking myself and saw it called for in recipes.

  3. They look gorgeous! Some of the most perfect ones I've seen out of all the entries.

  4. What a fun challenge, they look so good.

  5. Yeah those look pretty amazing! I've had that recipe bookmarked forever. Maybe it will be a chocolate chip cookie kind of weekend coming up ;)

  6. I couldn't squeeze in this challenge but these cookie posts are making me insanely ravenous for chocolate chip cookies! yours look absolutely perfect - I would have left out the nuts too :)

  7. I loved this recipe too! My only complaint/blessing in disguise is that it only makes a dozen and a half cookies!

  8. I drool more with every blogger I see making these! Good luck!!

  9. I know from experience, truly is a great recipe! I love baking with my scale too.

  10. Beautiful photos!! Seeing this recipe so much is making me think I reallyyy need to make it :) And a food scale is one kitchen tool I don't have that I definitely need to get!


  11. oh, yours look amazing!! i like that you tried freezing some of the dough... let me know how it bakes up afterwards :)