I’m not one for fancy cookie recipes. When it comes down to it, a chocolate chip cookie should be down-home comfort food — something that your grandma would have whipped up in her apron on a weekday afternoon.
But today, I entertained that little foodie desire I sometimes get to put a gourmet spin on a classic recipe. Sure, we’ve all seen it; truffled macaroni and cheese, foie gras hamburgers, and the like. C’mon people! Can’t comfort food just be comfort food??
No, apparently not.
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
-adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, recipe provided by Family, Friends, and Food.
Source: Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2009
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons salted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspooons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
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, 1-3 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.
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 for 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 a final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
Scoop heaping rounded tablespoons of dough onto the cookie sheet. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 9 dough balls per sheet.
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, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.
Brown the butter until it’s a deep golden brown and your kitchen begins to smell like caramel. :-)
After you add in the sugars and repeat the whisking process 3 times, it should look almost like shiny, melted peanut butter.
Scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet. A cookie scoop is the easiest way to do this! I highly recommend you get one if you don’t have one already.
My cookies baked in exactly 10 minutes, and reached a nice golden brown. If you like your cookies gooey, take them out a minute earlier.
The browned butter imparted subtle caramel notes that were more apparent in the raw dough than in the baked cookie.
They were really, really good. So good, in fact, that I have been eating them for breakfast.
I used salted butter because that’s all I had, but I simply reduced the amount of salt called for in the recipe. I think I prefer the salted butter because the cookies are pretty sweet. Even after 3 days, they are still quite chewy and not hard at all.
So, will this browned butter beauty become my new go-to recipe? No, probably not. Will I make them again? Yeah, probably when I’m craving an extra-special gourmet cookie. But, I must admit that I like my own recipe – simplicity and all – a little bit better. And so for now I am content to leave “well-enough” alone.