When I was a college freshman living 700 miles away from home and “independent” for the first time in my life, I felt that I was seriously underfunded – as most freshmen do. I had a nice dorm room with a great roommate, a cafeteria card that would provide all the cafeteria food that I cared to eat, and all my needs were more than met. But that’s not the same as having spending money to go hang out with my friends (never mind that I was supposed to be studying). One day I was feeling rather homesick, so I made Chocolate Chip Cookies in our dorm kitchen. I had girls rushing in offering to buy the cookies (and cookie dough). That was my Aha! moment. I found out that two hours of serious cookie making in the cafeteria during their down time on Saturday afternoons could turn my $20/week allowance into $80 or more, and got me the nickname, Betty Crocker.
Since then I’ve made hundreds of dozens of cookies, but I’m always looking for a way to improve upon the standard. I’ve tried chilling the dough, using different kinds of flours, using different kinds of chocolate, and so many other tips. So when I saw this recipe for The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie, I was rather sceptical. . . until I saw the source – America’s test Kitchen.
I’ve watched their PBS show, Cook’s Country, for years and I have a subscription to their magazine, Cook’s Illustrated. For those who don’t know, they test recipes, ingredients, gadgets, and products. Per their website, “we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe.”
Well, I’m accepting the challenge to see if theirs really is The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. Let the Pintesting begin!
They make several changes to the original Toll House cookie recipe, so please go to their recipe to read the logic and science behind the changes.
One of the biggest differences is that instead of creaming softened butter with sugars, this recipe starts by browning most of the butter to develop the butterscotch notes and deepen the flavor.
You can see how the butter melts and then browns below. Then the browned butter is added to and melts the remaining butter.
Whisk the sugars, salt, and vanilla with the melted butter and then add the egg. Even here they modified the recipe from 2 eggs to 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk. They have their reasons – just go with it.
Now walk away for 3 minutes.
Whisk and wait for 3 minutes two more times. This allows the sugars to completely dissolve rather than having a grainy creamed mixture.
You can see that the mixture is satiny smooth. No graininess in these cookies.
Next, stir in the flour and baking soda mixture.
Here’s the dough made without a mixer. Doesn’t it look like peanut butter?
Add the chocolate and *optional* nuts. My HH LOVES chocolate chip cookies with nuts and he chose pecan pieces this time.
Oh. My. Gosh. Just look at that dough. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.
I scooped it for uniformity, as I usually do with cookie dough, and baked them in a 375-degree oven.
Even without chilling the cookies didn’t melt into flat cookie pancakes. I was so happy to see that they had nice volume and height.
You need to try these cookies. The flavor and texture are beyond what I could have imagined from a humble chocolate chip cookie.
And now for the Pintesting results – and a large glass of milk.
OVERALL RESULTS: 4.85 Pins
Accuracy: The recipe promised cookies that are “moist and chewy on the inside and crisp at the edges, with deep notes of toffee and butterscotch to balance its sweetness,” and this cookie definitely delivered. The taste and texture were incredible. My HH gave it 500 pins so I’m giving it 5 Pins.
Difficulty: This recipe involved browning the butter, but because the butter was melted no mixer was needed. If it’s easier to just mix in the bowl, then I think it’s just all-around easier. But because there is the extra step of browning the butter, I’m giving this 4 Pins.
Time: Most cookie recipes require a minimum of an hour to make and bake (not including dishes). This includes 30 minutes (give or take) to soften the butter, a minimum of 5 minutes of creaming time, and chilling time (30 minutes to overnight) in order to keep the cookies from going flat in the oven. But this recipe uses melted butter and although there were roughly 10 minutes of mix/wait time, they went straight from the mixing bowl to the oven and the cookies maintained a nice thickness. 5 Pins
Cost: There were no weird, unique, or specialty ingredients to pull off these cookies. Most of the ingredients are common to most kitchens, so I’m giving this 5 Pins.
Practicality: These are ridiculously delicious cookies when they come out of the oven. They were still moist, chewy, crispy, and delicious four days later. (They’re big cookies and it’s just the two of us.) This is now my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. 5 Pins