A search for my ideal chocolate chip cookie cannot be complete without visiting America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated. After all, they are known for meticulous testing and tweaking until a recipe delivers the precise vision of the author. When they call their recipe Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie, you know it must be special. I can feel the confidence of the ATK team to stand behind their version of perfection.
I always enjoy reading the article that accompanies their recipes. The authors clearly explain what they set out to achieve and the steps they took to reach that goal. Their baking recipes, in particular, taught me so much about the science behind ingredients and methods. The first thing that caught my attention was the search for a chewy cookie. The author’s idea of a perfect chocolate chip cookie is not crisp or thin or soft or cakey. An addictively delicious chewy texture is the holy grail. Along with it, the recipe also promised a strong butterscotch flavour to complement the dark chocolate taste.
This recipe of chocolate chip cookie cannot be more different than BAKED’s version. Instead of creaming butter at a relatively cool temperature and a long chill in the fridge to achieve a puffy cakey texture, this recipe wants me to heat the butter into beurre noisette and melt all the sugar. The use of beurre noisette and plenty of dark brown sugar gave this cookie its distinctive butterscotch flavour, a departure from most of the recipes I tried this week. The dough was shaped and baked immediately without any chilling. Interestingly enough, the cookies spread into the most attractive rounds during baking with a nice thickness that highlights its chewiness.
The cookies are big. Not a two-fister like the Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies I made earlier in the week but still big enough that one cookie is already quite satisfying. Each measures close to 4 inches in diameter. When I removed them from the oven, they were puffy with a slight dome which subsequently settled down into attractive crackles. I carefully tore one apart and the chewy texture was apparent.
This cookie is certainly delicious in its own way. However, when I ate with my eyes closed, I thought to myself “hey wait a minute, this is not chocolate chip cookie. It’s a blondie!”. No wonder. Take a look at the recipe. Lots of brown sugar in melted butter? That’s exactly how we make blondies. Only we bake the dough in mounds instead of confining it in a pan.
I’m doubtful this is the recipe I will reach for when I crave chocolate chip cookies. Having said that, it will make regular appearance in my kitchen. Why? It does not require a mixer and it’s instant gratification. I’m always on the lookout for recipes I can travel with, things I can easily bake in other people’s kitchen without the convenience of my baking toolkit. From start to finish, Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie only requires a small pot, one mixing bowl, a whisk, and a rubber spatula. It’s not at all fussy and the dough is extremely easy to work with.
Can you believe I’m already on the home stretch of Chocolate Chip Cookie Week? So many recipes, so little time.