I detract my previous statement of man being able to live on bread alone. Man also needs cookies. With chocolate chips and dried cranberries, which I believe covers all bases.
While I normally prefer to make a Sugar Plum recipe, I opted for the really quick thick and chewy chocolate chip recipe from America's Test Kitchen. Calling for melted butter and a higher amount of brown sugar than white, the recipe promises a cookie that stays thick and isn't crispy. The cookies are also not completely baked in the oven, as they are allowed to rest for 10 minutes on the baking sheet post-baking to continue cooking at a gentler rate.
Naturally, I figured if I was melting the butter I would also brown it. I didn't. I had just gotten back from a run and wanted a cookie NOW. These hit the spot, and compared to a normal chocolate chip, these were better. However, I felt that the flavor wasn't as complex as I have grown accustomed to, and the chewiness of the cookie seemed to disappear overnight, becoming alarmingly in that limbo state of staleness and freshness where the cookie goes from deliciously fresh to unimpressively okay, despite being stored properly, the next day. A plus for this recipe is that you don't have to chill the dough to prevent them from spreading out if you lack the time.
A few days later I made the Alton Brown "the chewy" recipe. While very similar to the ATK recipe, the leavening ingredients were a bit different (double what this had), it calls for bread flour instead of all-purpose (can't recall if I did that), uses a higher ratio of brown sugar to white than this recipe did, uses 4 tablespoons more butter (whether I did used two full stick or not, I can't recall), and had 2 tbsp milk (which I left out). By the time I made this recipe, I didn't want to use an egg and an egg yolk (ATK says the fat from the extra yolk contribute to the chewiness), so I used two whole eggs, omitting the two tablespoons of milk with no issue.
Knowing that this recipe would still taste similar to the ATK recipe, I set out to Em-alize the Brown recipe by a) browning the butter, b) adding a teaspoon of instant yeast, b) keeping the baking soda at 1/2 teaspoon (I think) but using the full teaspoon of kosher salt, and c) refrigerating the dough overnight. The resulting cookies were much more caramelized, had better depth of flavors, and seemed to stay chewier longer. The Brown recipe bakes at 375 degrees instead of the 325 that the ATK recipe bakes at, and I felt it browned them a little too much. I did use the same technique of just baking the cookies until set and letting them rest on the sheet for 10 minutes.
So what I mean to say by all this is that I'd definitely make this recipe again if I took the few extra steps of converting it to a Sugar Plum-esque recipe, which really is the best chocolate chip cookie I've made to date. No, she's not paying me to say this. I do not receive a cookie per word of adulation I speak on her behalf. Nothing. At all.
I'm over it, I can also bake. *sniff*
Recipe after jump.
thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies
From The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
My notes: I used 12 oz of chocolate chips instead of the 9 oz called for in the recipe, along with no more than 2 oz of leftover dried cranberries I had. This stretched the dough out to get about a dozen more cookies than the 2 dozen stated. Also, each cookie is 2 tablespoons of dough, which makes a nice looking cookie, though normally I make 1 tablespoon cookies because they are a better snacking size. If you do this, you'll have double the amount of cookies.
Makes about 24 cookies
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I recommend using a coarse salt)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar (I almost never use light brown sugar in anything since I usually only have dark)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I increased this to a tablespoon in the Sugar Plum version)
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position (I didn't) and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat the melted butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chips until incorporated.
- Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepped baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.