Tuesday, October 9, 2012

company is coming!

and I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off...

In fact,  I actually love having house guests.  I bake for days in advance, and stock the refrigerator with stinky cheeses, olives, and homemade pesto's.  Notice the fennel bulbs on the counter next to the cookie dough -  complete chaos. 

I'm halfway through 6 dozen chocolate cookies.  These are, in fact, THE BEST chocolate chip cookies - ever.  I came across this recipe last May, when my friend Rachel documented them in her blog, Erstwhile dear.  She and her husband, Joe, created a visual guide to the recipe, which went on to win America's Test Kitchen's Boston Blogger Cookie Challenge Winners!  Over the last year I've made these cookies at least a dozen times,  and each time they are declared " THE BEST  cookies 'I've' ever had!"  I always make sure to keep several bags of Ghiradelli Chocolate morsels,  semisweet, bittersweet and dark, in my pantry at all times.  One never knows when you'll need to whip up a batch of these cookies.  This recipe is always a sure thing. The only thing I've added is to sprinkle a dash of sea salt on the dough balls before baking.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies- from the pages of Cooks Illustrated

Makes 16 cookies

Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored. For our winning brand of chocolate chips, see related tasting.


  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  2. 2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
  3. 3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
  4. 4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)
  5. 5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving. 


  1. I'm writing this down to try ASAP! I'll have to send you the recipe for the Cooks Illustrated BEST sugar cookie recipe, they are the death of me... we can also make them over Thanksgiving! Love, A