Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

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). Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip CookieOne 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!

Pintesting Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - ORIGINAL PIN

The Pintesting:

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.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Melt Butter Collage

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.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Add Sugars & Salt

Whisk and wait for 3 minutes two more times. This allows the sugars to completely dissolve rather than having a grainy creamed mixture.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Whisk & Wait

You can see that the mixture is satiny smooth. No graininess in these cookies.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Add Flour Mixture

Next, stir in the flour and baking soda mixture.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Dough

Here’s the dough made without a mixer. Doesn’t it look like peanut butter?

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Add Nuts & Chips

Add the chocolate and *optional* nuts. My HH LOVES chocolate chip cookies with nuts and he chose pecan pieces this time.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Cookie Dough

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.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Baking

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.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Done

And after the torture of waiting for them to cool (because cookies don’t taste as good when they’ve melted the flesh from the roof of your mouth), they did recede a little. But only just a little.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Closeup

You need to try these cookies. The flavor and texture are beyond what I could have imagined from a humble chocolate chip cookie.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

And now for the Pintesting results – and a large glass of milk.

The Results:

OVERALL RESULTS:  4.85 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

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.

Pintesting Rating - 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.

Pintesting Rating - 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

Pintesting Rating - 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.

Pintesting Rating - 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

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

This is the year that I get completely organized, stay ahead of the game, and don’t let circumstances control the direction of my life.

*Cue Laugh Track*

Each January, like so many others, I make goals and resolutions to get my life organized. Then life sits back and just laughs and laughs. Well this year I’m doing a few things differently to plan better. For example, I’m not waiting until February 13th or 14th to start working on a post for Valentine’s Day.

The Pin for these Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies came across my Pinterest radar a few days after Christmas; Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction had posted them as a Christmas treat. While I see how their colors look holiday festive, I think the pink, red, and white is much more perfect for Valentine’s Day. That they combine one of my favorite flavor combinations (cherry almond) with one of my favorite cookies (shortbread) is a major bonus for moi.

Pintesting Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies by Sally's Baking Addiction

The Pintesting:

There are only 8 ingredients – including the optional (therefore not shown) white chocolate.

Pintesting Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies - Ingredients

Cream the butter, then add the sugar, extracts, and maraschino cherry juice.

Pintesting Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Add the flour…

Pintesting Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies - Add Flour

…and cherries

Pintesting Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies - Add Cherries

Wrap and chill the dough – I chilled it overnight.

Pintesting Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies - Wrap and Chill

Roll the dough into balls and chill again. The chilling was very stressed in order to keep the dough from spreading into cookie puddles.

Pintesting Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Bake the cookies just until they’re done – NOT browned – then cool completely.

Pintesting Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies - Baked Cookies…then drizzle with melted white chocolate “if desired” – because who doesn’t like chocolate on cookies??? I tried melting the chocolate in the microwave, but it started to seize before it got very melty. Rather than just lose the battle, I decided to try making the nearly ruined chocolate into a white chocolate ganache to drizzle. Both tasted amazing (which is why there are only a half dozen in the picture), but for looks I like the melted chocolate. It gives a nicer visual contrast.

Pintesting Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies - Cookies Finished

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results:  4.55 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  These cookies were very simple to make and delicious. Mine didn’t seem to come out quite as pink as Sally’s did, but that could have something to do with either my camera, the lighting in my kitchen (which is terrible), or because today is National Inane Answering Message Day. I’m going with the first two. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  The recipe was well written with detailed step-by-step instructions. A novice baker should be able to make these as long as they follow the recipe. That said, I might not recommend this for children unless they had adult supervision. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time:  While the mixing of this recipe goes pretty quickly, it calls for a lot of chilling time throughout the process. I chilled the dough overnight and then stuck the first baking sheet in the freezer while rolling the dough for the second sheet. This is definitely a plan ahead recipe; not something you can whip together at a moment’s notice. 3 Pins

Rated 3 Pins

Cost:  The ingredients are very basic to most kitchens with the exception of the maraschino cherries. The jar was less than $3. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  These bite-sized cookies started vanishing before they were even drizzled with the chocolate. They were loaded with flavor, and my favorite Valentine (aka Handsome Hubby) loved them. They’re perfect for popping in your mouth. Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day, Christmas or any other holiday. Show yourself some love and make these now. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins