These cookies happened on a whim. With all the angst I've been feeling lately about what to bake next, what to photograph next etc, etc, my youngest, recently in his rather forthright way cleared it all up for me. For the last month he has been begging, no, pleading with me to make him chocolate chip cookies. (I know, bad mom, a month!) Thirteen year old boys don't want fancy cakes, foofy tarts or delicate macarons. Nope! Just good ole chocolate chip cookies.
So yesterday I finally conceded and baked him a batch. It was Christmas morning all over again around here and I was thrilled that it took something so small as a batch of cookies to make him and the other two men in my house so over the moon happy.
The secret to these over the top, simple yet complex cookies lies in the addition of three very important ingredients. Browned butter and two kinds of brown sugar. And the word for the day is brown. Brown is good, brown is great, brown in this case will change your life.
Try it. I promise, promise you will love them.
1 3/4 C. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
14 T. unsalted butter
1/2 C. granulated white sugar
1/2 C. light brown sugar
1/4 C. dark brown or Demerara sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 to 3 tsp. pure vanilla extract (choose what you prefer)
1 large egg
1 whole egg yolk
1 1/2 C. dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. chopped nuts (optional)
In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift the flour and soda together. In a medium saucepan, melt 10 T. of the butter over medium low heat. Watch it like a hawk, swirling the pan until it begins to turn a dark brown caramel color. Don't worry if it bubbles up, just remove from heat and turn the temperature down a notch, then continue browning. You want it to look dark brown like the photo above. Remove from heat and in a separate bowl, pour the melted butter over the remaining 4 T tablespoons of butter. Let the hot butter melt the room temperature butter, then let it come to room temperature. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the sugars, salt, extract, whole egg and yolk then whisk the ingredients for 30 seconds or so. Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes, then repeat by whisking and resting 2 more times. The mixture will begin to look thick and glossy.
Add the flour and soda mixture, switch to a spoon to combine, then add the chocolate chips and the nuts.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment or Silpats and use an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough evenly, about 6 cookies to a sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan half way through baking.
Let cool on pan for 3-4 minutes, then remove with a spatula for further cooling.
Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Makes 20 cookies