May 7, 2011

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

And that's sayin' a lot.

I feel sure that this recipe will not let you down.  I didn't jump the gun in writing this blog post because actually, I've been on the look-out for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe for years now.

I have a lot to say about chocolate chip cookies - it's just one of those topics for me.  :) So here goes:

This week I pulled leftover cookie dough out of the fridge (left over from the best batch Tedd & I have ever tasted) and I plopped the chilled dough ball in the toaster oven.  10 minutes later I was in chocolate chip cookie heaven.

The outside ring was crispy, brittle-crispy (not hard-crunchy), and it had a buttery caramelized flavor.  The middle was gooey and soft and full of warm chocolate.  It was perfect..even more perfect than the "perfect" cookies we'd made up two nights before (and it was from the same batch)!  Could the chilled dough have made a difference??  Yes.

As a part of my grand quest for the perfect CCC recipe over the years, I'd read the so-called "secrets" to perfect CCCs, and chilled dough is definitely claimed to be one of the greatest game-changers.  No wonder those refrigerated blocks of Toll House Cookie dough are so wonderful.

I tested the chill factor again, making another batch of cookies and baking some right away, baking the others after 24 hours, and the final batch after 36 hours...the 24 & 36 hour chilled batches were superior.
I'd still like to test this again...wouldn't it be fun to have a chocolate chip cookie taste-testing party with your family or friends??  Change the variables a bit, use a few different recipes, and do a blind test to see which cookies win!  A good excuse for a get-together I'd say.

Another big "secret," that I "discovered" for myself by accident, (though it's nothing new to the pros), is the importance of salt.

Once I followed a chocolate chip cookie recipe off the back of a box of butter I was using (surely the name-brand butter box would give a worthwhile recipe, right?).  Well I mixed, added, stirred, and waited eagerly for those gooey warm cookies to hurry up and be done.  Finally I take a big bite of warm cookie and it was...weird.  I wasn't willing to admit it at the time, but they were actually quite terrible.  Tedd, cookie fail.  "I followed the recipe exactly...what's wrong with these?" I complained to Tedd. We examined the recipe carefully.  The stupid butter people (I'm still a bit bitter) didn't have salt in their CCC recipe!  What?!  It was even on a box of unsalted butter.  Psssch.

That's when I realized that a good CCC can't survive without salt.  That's when I had a little chocolate chip cookie revelation...all of the best chocolate chip cookies I'd ever had were...salty!

So I double the salt...sometimes I triple it...and the cookies don't come out weird at all...they're amazing actually.  And if you're not convinced by my ramblings about chilled dough and salt and so on, check out this really cool article dedicated to the making of amazing CCCs.

I've also tried being health-concious and cutting down on butter, on sugar, or using whole-wheat flour, etc, but don't do that.  Your cookie will be sub-par.  I've learned the hard way.  Just make good cookies.  Butter is amazing...real (salted) butter...but that's another blog post.

They say the kind of chocolate chips you use matters.  I'm a fan of dark chocolate chips and that's what I always use.  For some, chocolate is chocolate.

I think another test for a good chocolate chip cookie is whether or not it is still amazing after it's cooled - not right out of the oven, but the next day, for example.  These cookies pass that test for me (and most don't).

So, now that I've prefaced this recipe, I'll share.  Emily Shares.  Why I chose to title my blog in third-person, I dunno.  What was Emily thinking?  Emily thinks it's kind of weird that she did that.

Em's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
(An adapted version of Betty Crocker's Recipe...yep, Betty Crocker).
Makes roughly 2 1/2 dozen

2 sticks of real butter, softened (salted is my preference)
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups of all-purpous flour
(*edit 12/2/12 - adding another 1/8 cup flour now for even better results)
1t baking soda
1 1/4 t salt
1 pkg dark chocolate chips (I use hershey's)

Preheat to 375 (unless you plan to chill all of your cookie dough for the next day).

Beat the softened butter with the sugars for about 2 minutes on med-high speed, or until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Add in the egg and beat until well-combined.

help may be required...
Mommy's future sous chef ;)
(he's almost 2 months old here)

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Then add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and stir on low (or with a wooden spoon) until fully combined.  Finally, add the bag of chocolate chips and stir until just combined.

Now, I believe the results are incredible if you chill your dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least 24 hours in the fridge (they say 36 hours is best though, and I agree after testing this theory).  I'm impatient, so I make a couple right away for instant gratification, and then chill the rest of the dough for even better cookies the next day.

Bake the cookies for about 8-10 minutes, turning them half-way through the bake time, until slightly golden brown.

Important! They're so much better if you pull them a little "early" so they stay soft once they've cooled.  When the edges are done, but the middle looks not-quite-done, that's when you take them out!

Another key factor to this recipe's being awesome is making really big cookies.

If you try this recipe, please leave a comment to let us know how it went!  Thanks!!
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