The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever + Video
The best chocolate chip cookies ever. That's such a big statement. So weighty. So forceful. But so true. So, so true. Because these really are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had in my life.
I have never, ever worked harder to develop a recipe than I have for these cookies. I have literally tried out over 30 different chocolate chip cookie recipes, and, once I settled on my favorite from those 30, adapted and tweaked and polished that recipe dozens of more times to settle on the most perfect cookie ever. Because, hello - chocolate chip cookies! They're my favorite baked-good ever! And also, I've never met anyone that wouldn't eat a chocolate chip cookie. And also, they're the most classic cookie out there. And also, everyone claims their chocolate chip cookie recipe to be the best one yet. And also, I have already claimed ownership of the best no-butter chocolate chip cookies. And it was time to present the best butter chocolate chip cookies.
But, problem - I don't love butter. I don't like the taste of it in my cookies. So how is it that I love these cookies, which contain butter, so much? Answer: BROWN BUTTER. Brown butter, my friends, is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And while that might be a slight, slight overstatement, brown butter really has been one of the greatest discoveries of my lifetime. Because as much as I don't like regular butter, I love browned butter. Browned butter is an entirely different story. It's on a whole new plane. A whole new level. It takes any cookie to new heights. High, great heights.
For those of you who have either never heard of or tasted brown butter, let me describe its goodness to you. Browned butter tastes like a combination of butterscotch and caramel and hazelnut. Browned butter also emits the most incredible toasty, nutty aroma (nothing like the pungent smell of regular butter when it's melting). And, let me just add that brown butter is super fun to make. And easy. You can see in the video below that I speak the truth. It's so satisfying to see the golden specks appear at the bottom of your skillet once the butter starts browning. It makes me feel like a scientist in a lab. Or a baker in a kitchen. Same difference.
Before I continue blabbering about these chocolate chip cookies, watch my video on how to make them. Although chocolate chip cookies are very simple to make, I decided to create a video here to depict the process because 1 - I wanted to show you how to brown butter if you've never done it before, and 2 - I want you to get these cookies just right, so I show you how I mix and measure and shape and bake these so they come out like they should - perfect. Here's the video:
Or, watch it on youtube.
I want to talk to you a bit about the process I went through to develop these brown butter chocolate chip cookies. The cookies are based off a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, aptly titled "perfect chocolate chip cookies." After testing out loads of other recipes, these cookies stood out from the mounds of other cookies because of their deep, rich flavor. Which, of course, was the result of the brown butter. And dark brown sugar. But, as good as the cookies were, I had a few problems with them.
First off, they were too flat. I don't know about you, but I very much enjoy sinking my teeth into a thick, puffy, pillowy cookie. Flat and thin cookies don't do it for me. So, I added more flour and baking soda to the recipe. But, once I added the extra baking soda, the cookies took on a bitter after-taste. And, while the extra flour added puffiness to the cookies, it also made them a little too dry and crumbly. (And, side note, I know cornstarch is a very popular addition to cookies, but I found that it added nothing to my cookies here.)
So, now I needed an ingredient that would get rid of the bitter taste and add moisture to the cookies. That's when I thought of greek yogurt. The acid from the yogurt would counteract the bitter taste of the baking soda. Besides for that, yogurt adds moisture and softness to baked-goods. Um, perfect?? And it was. The yogurt did everything it was supposed to.
I had one more problem with the original cookies - they were too sweet. For me, a cookie that you eat and then don't feel like you can eat another because you're feeling sick from the sweetness is wrong. So wrong. Because nobody should ever want to stop at one cookie. So, after I added the extra flour to the cookies, I was able to keep the amount of sugar the same in the recipe without it tasting like its primary flavor was "sweet." I did, however, up the amount of dark brown sugar and lessen the amount of white sugar. The molasses from brown sugar not only makes cookies softer and chewier, but it also adds a deeper flavor to cookies. A flavor similar to that of brown butter. And the taste that results from the combination of the brown butter and the dark brown sugar is dangerous. Dangerously good.
If you'll notice, there's an extra egg yolk in the recipe. The fat from the extra egg yolk adds even more moisture and richness to the cookies. Also, there's a full tablespoon of vanilla extract in this recipe. Because vanilla is life. And also (also, also), the amount of salt in the recipe here is moderate enough to balance out all the flavors of the cookies without leaving a salty aftertaste in your mouth. Which, personally, I don't mind. But many people do. So, instead of putting extra salt in the cookie dough, I just sprinkle my own cookie with flaky salt before I eat one. And everyone's happy.
Last, but most definitely not least, I use chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips. I've only mentioned this about 15 times on the blog already in past recipes, but chocolate chunks are just so. much. better. than chocolate chips. The uneven nuggets add a rustic look to the cookies, the higher cacao content in a bar of bittersweet chocolate balances the sweetness of the cookies beautifully, and, just saying, I've never heard anyone complain about bigger chunks of chocolate. Anywhere. Ever.
Lots of great chocolate chip cookie recipes out there require you to chill your dough anywhere from 24-72 hours. Not these. These cookies only need 40 minutes in the fridge to get them cold and hardened enough that they bake up thick and puffy. And flavorful. You can bake the cookies right away, but they'll come out somewhat flatter.
Since the butter in this recipe is melted (and browned!!!!), the cookies don't require a machine for creaming. These chocolate chip cookies can be made by hand. Really quickly. And easily. One bowl, one spatula. Plus the skillet to brown the butter in. Now, you may be thinking, "don't you need two bowls - one for the wet ingredients and one for the dry?" And you're right. I probably do. But I cheat. And stir the dry ingredients together right over my wet ones and then mix the two together. Of course, that's not what I did in the video, because, hello, so unprofessional. But I only use a single mixing bowl when there are no video cameras around filming and calculating my every move. Scandalous, I know.
If you're looking for a puffy, thick, soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie with a deep, rich flavor that has undertones of caramel and butterscotch and is perfectly moist and tender and bursting with chocolate chunks, cool. You were just like me a few weeks ago.
But now, I'm not looking anymore. Because I found them. I found those cookies I've been searching for my whole life.
And if you want to discover the best chocolate chip cookies, cookies that you'll end up making on a regular basis for the rest of your life, you might just want to make these cookies too. Of course, it's up to you, but honestly, I no longer think you have a choice in this matter. Your heart has already decided for you.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever
Heavily Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 20-22 cookies
1 3/4 sticks (7 oz. or 14 tablespoons) butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons greek yogurt
2 1/4 cups flour (well compacted, not spooned into measuring cup. It's just about 12 oz. when weighed)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
In a light-colored (so you can observe the browning) skillet, brown the butter: chop up butter and place into skillet over a medium flame. First, the butter will melt. Once butter melts, it will foam and bubble. Make sure to stir the butter every few seconds with a rubber spatula. After a few minutes, the bubbling will subside and golden specks will appear on the bottom of the pan and the butter will start smelling nutty. This means your butter is browned!
Remove skillet from flame right away and pour the browned butter into a mixing bowl to stop the cooking. Make sure to scrape in all the browned specks from the bottom of the pan. Warning: Butter should have golden/amber specks, not completely brown ones. If the butter is too browned, your cookies may have a burnt/bitter taste.
Let butter cool five minutes in the bowl and then stir in both sugars and mix well.
Add in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and stir vigorously with your spatula until the mixture turns a lighter shade. Stir in the greek yogurt till fully incorporated.
Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and stir into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chunks last. Your dough should be pretty thick and dry and you should be able to form one large ball that's easy to handle.
Round 20-22 even sized balls of dough between your palms and place onto 2 parchment lined cookie sheets.
Refrigerate dough on sheets for about 40 minutes, or until the dough balls are cold and hardened. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes, until the edges are barely golden. If you can lift the edge of a cookie a bit with your hand, the cookies are definitely ready.
Let cookies sit and firm on baking sheets for 10 minutes before moving them.
On a completely unrelated note, oh the horrors: