Tuesday, February 16, 2010

{TWD} "Perfect" Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


For this week's Tuesday's With Dorie recipe, Kait of Kait's Plate chose a cookie Dorie calls "My Best Chocolate Chip Cookie" I made this recipe previously, back when my blog was just a few weeks old, and posted them here. At that point I had begun a quest in earnest to discover the best CCC recipe. My mission got pretty quickly derailed as I got caught up in lots of other baking for the weekly TWD recipes. I've managed to bake several other CCCs, and I've learned is that tastes really do vary in what constitutes the perfect CCC. Some people like cakey cookies, others prefer chewy, and thin and crispy cookies have their fans as well. I can safely say that Dorie's best CCCs weren't my best CCC, although plenty of people love them.

Seeing as I'd already tried Dorie's version of chocolate chip cookies, I figured that I might as well use this week to bake a new CCC contender. On this week's P&Q post for the Chocolate Chip Cookies a wonderfully helpful comment by Peggy the Baker mentioned a Cook's Illustrated chocolate chip cookie recipe that sounded very different and delicious. Bingo! I had the cookie to bake this for this week.


n.o.e.'s notes:

- You can find the CI recipe for "Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies" here or here. The recipe for Dorie's cookies is on Kait's post.

- The recipe has a very unusual method. About 2/3 of the butter is browned on the stovetop first, then the rest of the butter is added to the hot browned butter. Once the sugars - granulated sugar and dark brown sugar - are added, the mixture is whisked several times for 30 seconds at 3 minute intervals. Then the dry ingredients are stirred in, and finally, the chocolate.

- I did not want wimpy brown butter, so I kept it on the heat until the butter solids were quite dark, possibly too dark.

- The recipe for my old stand-by chocolate chip cookies (recipe on this post) has a little bit of lemon juice. I'm tired of saying to myself, "I like that new cookie recipe, but I miss the complexity that the lemon juice provides," so I added a teaspoon of lemon juice to my cookie dough. The flavor is undetectable as "lemon" and I've read that lemon juice makes cookies more tender.

- My baking buddy Leslie baked the cookies just before I did, and she gave me some tips. She suggested using a premium chocolate, and bittersweet (around 70% cocoa) rather than semi-sweet (usually in the 50-60% cocoa range, and added sweetness). I followed that suggestion. She loved the dough so much and mentioned that I might want to bake a cookie or two without any chocolate, so I did that, too. (By the way, go check out Leslie's wonderful CCC taste-off post which included her very own CCC recipe - it looks fantastic!)

- The recipe says to divide the dough into 16 pieces to bake. My dough weighed 888g, so I made several of the cookies 1/16 size, or 55.5g. Those cookies turned out to be pretty huge, so for the rest of the dough, I made 40 g balls of dough. They baked up to a more "normal" cookie size. I froze most of the balls for a future side-by-side comparison with some of my other favorite CCC recipes.

- I've got to note here that the raw dough, although a tiny bit greasy, had fantastic flavor.

the verdict:

I love the texture of this cookie, wonderfully chewy without being under-baked. I think I did over-brown my butter, so my cookies were ever so slightly bitter. The bittersweet chocolate was a good pairing with the flavors of the cookie, but I found myself wishing that I'd used a little more chocolate since bittersweet isn't as sweet as semisweet would have been. So these cookies were not perfect for me but they were very very good. I'd like to bake them again, making a few more adjustments.

Thanks, Kait, for choosing Dorie's chocolate chip cookies and giving me the opportunity to branch out this week.

19 comments:

mike said...

These look like wonderful "browned-butter" chip cookies! I really like that method - it gives the cookies a slight toffee flavor (especially if the butter is a little over browned). Great comparisons and analysis - who knew a simple cookie could become so complex?

Leslie said...

These look fantastic, Nancy! I'm doing a post on a variation of the CI cookie that knocked our socks off here. It was so much fun to share ideas and inspiration while we were making these, it helps so much.

natalia said...

Ciao !Great post ! The P&Q inspired me to try those too ! Glad you tried them !

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Mmm, you had me at brown butter!
Love the cookie throwdowns. :)

Cristine said...

Ahhh... another CCC to try! :)

Cathy said...

I am so bummed that I was unable to move/stand/think on Sunday afternoon, because I would have enjoyed baking these with you. They really sound close to perfect. The butter browning scares me a little, but sounds like it will make for an interesting cookie. The fact that the dough/non-chip part of the cookie is getting such rave reviews is a big selling point for me. Even with some of the CCCs that I love, I've felt like the non-chocolate part could be improved. Can't wait to try this recipe - your cookies look fantastic!

Kayte said...

Who knew so many people had so many preferences about the lowly common chocolate chip cookie??? I never knew this until these past two weeks with all the discussions of them on Twitter, etc. Totally amazed by all of it. And, here I thought it was just dough with chocolate chips tossed in. My mistake. Your CI cookies look beautiful. Intrigued by the technique of the browned butter thrown in, so will definitely try these...can never have enough research around here via cookies, that's for sure. Great post, I enjoyed reading it all.

Sarah said...

Those cookies look unbelievable. I can't believe I haven't made brown butter cccs yet... I think I'm going to have to make them tonight!

Penny said...

I posted about these cookies last summer. They are now my very favorite. I followed the recipe faithfully and was glad I did. Hope you get a chance to try them again. Love your blog.

Tracey said...

Your cookies look just like mine did Nancy! The ones I baked from the freezer spread a bit less but they were all equally delicious! I'm glad you liked them too. I think they're my new favorite, but I feel like I need to do a side by side comparison to be sure.

Amanda said...

Nancy these came out beautiful! I'll have to try that recipe, while I really loved the flavor of this week's pick, I just don't like flat cookies! And mine were definitely that - flat LOL

Eliana said...

Your browned butter cookies look amazing Nancy.

Megan said...

Wow - I feel like I didn't put enough effort into this weeks cookie, with all the taste tests, bake-a-thons, and multiple recipes.

I'd better get baking!

margot said...

Those look excellent! I did a taste-off this week (haven't posted it yet) and the CI recipe was one of the contenders. I had trouble telling when the butter was ready, but my cookies were not bitter, so I think it was okay.

Teanna said...

WOW! Nancy! Lemon juice? What a fantastic idea! And it really pays off, because your cookies are perfection!

Flourchild said...

Im glad you enjoyed these cookies too. I thought they were good and apparently so did my family because they were gone in a day! YOur cookies look great!
I hope your baking with me next week, I can't believe it's my turn to host..where did a year and a half go!?

Di said...

Ooh, yet another CCC recipe I'll have to try. I really like browned butter, so this one sounds like it would be really good.

TeaLady said...

The CI CCC are next on my list to compare in the 'quest' which just about everybody else seems to be on too.

Those look perfect.

I will need to go back and try the NYT CCC.

Karen said...

mmm browned butter! Yummmy!