Challenge!

On my Sister’s blog yesterday, she posted the recipe to what she claims is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. The name does the cookie justice: “Big, Best, Fat, Chewy, Chocolate Chip Cookies.” And that they are.

These cookies are impressive. They’re big, which makes it feel like they came from a bakery. And they’re thick, unlike the small, flat cookies that tend to characterize home-made. And they’re definitely delicious. Sister’s recipe showed me that a home cook could bake up a huge, looks-like-it-came-from-a-bakery cookie but with even better texture and flavor, cookie. When I walk in the door and my nose tells me that sister has been baking, and I see B.B.F.C.C.C Cookies cooling on the counter, if I may quote Martha, “its a good thing.”

But as for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, I must humbly disagree. In my opinion, the world’s best chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated and is posted below. These cookies are equal in size and texture, but even better in flavor.

We have long discussed the merits of our respective recipes, and sampled many, many, cookies (in order to come to an informed opinion, of course) but there must be an end. There cannot be two recipes that are best, and for the good of the general public who must know the truth about the best cookie recipe, I think its time that a winner was declared.  So, Sister, I challenge you to a bake off. We can gather an unbiased panel (that means our hubbys don’t count!) to do a blind tasting of the two cookies. Loser makes a double batch of the winning recipe, frozen into neat dough balls ready for my freezer. I mean the winner’s freezer.

What do you say – do you accept?

UPDATE: The challenge has been accepted!

 

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Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 16 cookies.   Published May 1, 2009.   From Cook’s Illustrated.

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)

Instructions

  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.

Recipe Testing

Creating a New Classic Here’s how we improved on the Toll House classic to create an even better cookie.

TOLL HOUSE RECIPE: Equal Amounts Brown and White Sugar
A 1-1 ratio of brown to white sugar creates a cookie that’s neither crisp nor chewy. 

OUR RECIPE: More Brown Sugar
Using more brown sugar than white makes for a chewier cookie. 

TOLL HOUSE RECIPE: Creamed Solid Butter
Creaming butter creates a cakier texture in cookies. 

OUR RECIPE: Browned, Melted Butter
Melting butter contributes to chewiness; browning it enhances flavor. 

TOLL HOUSE RECIPE: 2 Whole Eggs
Whole eggs contribute to a drier texture. 

OUR RECIPE: 1 Whole Egg, 1 Yolk
Eliminating one egg white also boosts chewiness. 

 

TOLL HOUSE RECIPE: Beat and Bake
Baking the dough immediately after mixing doesn’t allow the sugar to dissolve as fully as possible. 

OUR RECIPE: Whisk and Wait
Whisking sugar into the liquid ingredients and then waiting 10 minutes allows more of it to dissolve, setting up better flavor and texture. 

TOLL HOUSE RECIPE: Less Dough
The smaller the cookie, the more uniform its texture. 

OUR RECIPE: More Dough
Three tablespoons of dough per cookie increases its crisp-chewy contrast. 

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9 responses to “Challenge!

  1. Hands down, these are THE best. The browned butter adds such a rich complexity to the flavour… It can’t be beat!

    Way to go issuing a challenge, sweetie. Although my opinion won’t count in the bake off, I intend to fully participate! 😉

  2. Since I was the one to introduce K.C. to the best cookies ever, I am dying to try your cookies! I will definitely be the most unbiased taste tester because I don’t really care who makes them, I just want to eat the best chocolate chip cookie ever. 🙂

  3. Sister. We have had this discussion many times and in fact done a bake off before which if I remember, I won….. Therefore, if I must remind you one more time, please check my blog in a few hours.

  4. Oooh, I’m afraid you remember incorrectly, grasshopper. Impartiality must mark this bake off.

  5. As I recall, there was a certain young single man vying for the affections of a certain young single woman during that bake off… Needless to say, the tasting panel did not issue an impartial judgment. That certain young single man would have sided with his honey regardless of the quality and taste of the cookie. Ahem.

  6. Wow! This is getting serious! Wish I could be there to taste test. Maybe I’ll just have to whip up a batch of each and do my own taste test here at home.

  7. Feedmylove's Hubbs

    I think that Hubbs does not remember correctly. While indeed I love my wife and would see her win, my integrity in the cookie community would be devistated if I were to back the inferior product. Hers are indeed the winner on taste, texture, and terrificness. No contest. We all have to come in second sometime. At least this one is just THOSE cookies 🙂

  8. I made these cookies for our community group tonight. They were a HUGE hit! These are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had- Good job!

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