Forget apple pie, chocolate chip cookies should be America’s iconic baked good. Everyone loves them, you can get them anywhere, and they’re easier to make than apple pie.
This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. It uses browned butter to impart a toffee-like flavor that you generally only get from aging the dough in the fridge for a day or so (as started by the NYT famous recipe). While I’m sure that recipe is pretty damn delicious, I never plan ahead to make cookies. When I want chocolate chip cookies, I need them NOW. Maybe other people can plan ahead for their cravings, but not me. (That is also why my most common brownie-baking time is midnight.)
I also have an unhealthy disdain for crunchy chocolate chip cookies. A fully crunchy cookie just seems like the antithesis to the gooey, barely-held-together cookie middle that perfect chocolate chip cookies have. These cookies have a slight crunch around the outside and then a wide expanse of soft middle. It’s a perfect combination of textures.
If you’ve never browned butter before, use a light colored pan, not a dark nonstick pan. It’ll be easier to gauge the color of the butter. It will go through a few stages before it’s browned: it’ll sizzle a bit, it’ll look separated with some unappetizing white blobs, and then finally foam up. When the foam is thicker and has tiny bubbles, the browning will start. Make sure you keep stirring it with a spatula or swirling the pan constantly, and especially when it foams. It’s not actually the liquid that browns but the milk solids, so it will look like clarified butter with little brown sediment throughout. It will also smell amazing, and you’ll understand why brown butter helps chocolate chip cookies.
While I love baking with Silpat nonstick mats, I’ve found that with some cookies, including these, they tend to spread too much, especially around the very edge. It’s like they don’t have enough to grip onto when they’re first put into the oven, and the edges get lacy and thin. For that reason, I prefer baking these cookies on parchment paper. I end up with cookies that spread only a bit and are about the same thickness throughout. It minimizes the crunch factor.
For all the lovely little golden waves and nubbies on top of the cookies, don’t roll your cookie dough into a ball. I use only my fingertips to form the cookies by grabbing a cookie-size chunk and plopping it directly on the pan. They’re sometimes taller than they are wide, and have uneven bits sticking here and there. They won’t look pretty before baking, but I think you end up with a prettier cookie at the end.
- 1 3/4 c flour
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 14 T butter (1 3/4 sticks)
- 1/2 c sugar
- 3/4 brown sugar
- 1 t salt
- 2 t vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 c chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat oven to 375. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a shallow saucepan or skillet over medium heat until melted. Stir or swirl continuously until it's a deep brown color and it smells nutty, about 3-5 minutes. Pour butter into a heatproof bowl and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir until the butter is completely melted.
- Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to the butter and whisk to incorporate. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until smooth. Let sit for 3 minutes, then whisk again for 30 seconds, and repeat that process of resting and whisking twice more, or until the mixture is smooth and thick.
- Add the flour and baking soda and fold into the butter mixture with a spatula until the flour is just moistened, then add the chocolate chips and stir gently to incorporate. Don't overmix or your cookies will be chewy.
- Use your fingertips to make about 20 rough balls of dough and place 8 on each parchment-lined half sheet pan. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until golden around the edges and just set and puffy in the middle. Cool on wire racks.
- To keep cookies soft, store them in an airtight container with a slice of bread. The bread will dry out as the cookies stay moist. (It's like magic!)