Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s entirely possible that I’m closer in age to 87 than 27.  My idea of a perfect night out on the town is a little closer to attending the symphony or opera or ballet, than club hopping and drinking far more than any person ever should.  I like tea served in delicate cups with little sandwich triangles and scones with jam.  I like antiques and watching Antique Roadshow.  I remember a time when I washed my clothes without the aid of an electric washer/dryer and hoarded Ziploc bags, washing them out after each use.  I’m a grandma.

What’s this have to do with chocolate chip cookies?  Not a whole lot, if I’m going to be honest.  Except that I think that while it’s easier to just run to the grocery store and buy a box of pre-made cookies, I’d rather make them myself.  Sure it takes time.  Sure it fills a sink with dirty dishes.  But what’s the rush?  What’s the big deal with washing a few extra pots and bowls, when the end result is so special?

It’s cookies.  It’s not like I’m asking you to whip up a souffle for dinner.  The most complicated aspect of these bites of heaven is browned butter.  And if you mess that up, it’s no big deal to start the butter again.  Unless, of course, you’re making your own butter.  And if you are?  You rock.  More than me.  Although I did make butter once at Girl Scout camp.  It was at Cowtown.  Yes, there were long dresses with aprons and baskets with sewing samplers involved.  Don’t judge me – it was awesome.

So, if you love someone, show them.  Make these cookies.  Then invite them over for some afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, scones and big hats.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
From The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook {An amazing, amazing cookbook!  Go buy it!}
Makes 24

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), divided
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks (my chips were too big for what I had in mind, so I chopped them smaller)
3/4 cup nuts (optional)

Begin by pre-heating the oven to 375 degrees with the oven rack in the middle position.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.  Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat 10 Tablespoons of unsalted butter until melted.  Continue cooking the butter over medium-high heat, swirling constantly, until the butter is a deep golden color and nutty smelling.  Keep a close eye on the butter because it can go from browned butter to burnt butter quickly.  Once the butter is browned, pour it into a large, heat-proof bowl and add the remaining 4 Tablespoons of butter.  Stir until all the butter is melted.

To the same bowl, add the sugars, salt, and vanilla.  Whisk until fully combined.

Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until there are no sugar lumps remaining and the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds.  Let the mixture rest 3 minutes and then whisk again for 30 seconds.  Repeat the resting (3 minutes) and whisking (30 seconds) two more times, until the mixture is thick, silky, and shiny.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using, making sure there are no flour pockets remaining.

Using a cookie scoop, two spoons (see image above), or a small ice cream scoop, form 1 1/2 Tablespoon size balls of dough and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.

Bake them at 375 degrees for 10-16 minutes, turning them halfway to ensure even cooking.  When the edges are set, but the center is still soft, remove them from the oven and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.  If there is remaining dough, scoop it onto the cooled baking sheet (or a second parchment lined baking sheet) and bake the remaining cookies, transferring them to a cooling rack when done.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk.

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