Monday, March 5, 2012

Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Chip Cookies

I finally got around to doing some more baking this past weekend. I have been so busy lately that I've really only been cooking and eating the bare necessities (you know, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and some snacks in between ;)). Last week we went to visit some close friends who recently had their first baby (yay!!). We brought them dinner and enjoyed a great evening with them and their new little one. :) That evening, my friend Mary told me about this great new chocolate chip cookie recipe she had recently tried and loved from Cook's Illustrated. And naturally I just had to make it! So part of this past Saturday afternoon I spent making these delicious gems:

To get this recipe, you actually need to become a member of Cook's Illustrated online (you do have to pay for it, but they allow you a 14-day free trial first). So, to save you the trouble of signing up, I've shared the recipe with you below. They do give you some more information online about what makes this recipe different, and according to them, it's an improved version from Nestle Toll House's recipe. I'll share more about those points later on...


-1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-14 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 and 3/4 sticks)
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar*
-1 tsp. salt
-2 tsp. vanilla 
-1 large egg
-1 large egg yolk
-1 and 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
-3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

*You can use light brown sugar (which I did). Cook's Illustrated says the cookies will be "less full-flavored" if you do though.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using a heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir in remaining 4 tablespoons of butter until it is completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the egg and yolk, and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining (about 30 seconds). Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds more. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the 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.

Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies one sheet at a time until cookies are light golden brown and still puffy, and the edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, about 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Some points for you (according to Cook's Illustrated website) about why this is a new and improved classic...

More brown than white sugar in this recipe makes for a chewier cookie than the Toll House recipe, which calls for equal amounts brown and white sugar.

Melted, brown butter in this recipe adds to the cookie's chewiness and enhances the flavor, making it more nutty, as opposed to creamed solid butter.

The Toll House recipe calls for two eggs, which contributes to a drier cookie texture; using one whole egg and one yolk in this recipe increases chewiness.

The method of whisking and waiting in this recipe allows more of the sugar to dissolve, which increases flavor and texture when compared to beating the dough and baking it immediately after beating.

Finally, creating larger cookies (3 tablespoons of dough per cookie!!) increases the contrast of the chewy and crispy characteristics of the cookie, whereas smaller cookies are more uniform in texture.

I do agree that these cookies were full of flavor and had a great crisp-chewy contrast in their texture. I was very pleased with them! If you're looking for a new recipe and method of making your traditional chocolate chip cookies, I'd definitely recommend that you give these a shot. The recipe doesn't make a lot of cookies (I got about 18 although the recipe says it makes 16), but that's probably a good thing. The more cookies you have lying around, the more likely you'll probably be to eat them... ;)

Also over the weekend, I made White Russian cupcakes (whaaaat?). For these cupcakes, I made a kahlua frosting, and low and behold, I just happened to have some leftover frosting. So what did I do with it? Why naturally I spread some frosting on a cookie and topped it with another cookie to make a sandwich!

A chocolate chip sandwich cookie with a kahlua filling to be exact!

This was soooo good.

If you're looking to change up your chocolate chip cookie routine, try this Cook's Illustrated version! And if you happen to have some leftover kahlua frosting hanging around, make them into sandwich cookies... :)


  1. Cooks Illustrated always has crazy tips...that ALWAYS seem to work! These cookies sound absolutely delicious. A definite need to try!

  2. huh, I never knew that about cookies- I always just follow the recipe and am curious about why not all cookies come out the same. I'm sure your friends were so grateful to see you!

  3. Oh, c'mon! That's looks just ridiculously good! When is the restaurant opening?