I don’t know about you, but from where I’m sitting, this is the current state of affairs:
Not very reassuring, is it? We’re two weeks shy of April and I’m beginning to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day – except that instead of a time loop, we’re stuck in a purgatorial weather loop. Happy spring, Quebec.
But, things are going to be okay. Because despite what’s happening outdoors (or in the metaphorical blizzard of your life), there’ll always be chocolate chip cookies. Big, honking chocolate chip cookies with chewy centres and crispy edges.
I fully encourage you to get inside, draw the curtains and slip a pan of these into the oven.
A note on the recipe: Chocolate chip cookies always seem more straight-forward than they actually are. It’s surprising how difficult it can be to get them just right. This recipe is the result of one man’s quest to achieve the perfect chocolate chip cookie – one that strikes the perfect balance between chewy and crisp, light and rich. Like any good food nerd, he addresses the important issues of butter temperature, oven temperature, chilling, salting, kneading, as well as the the ratio of brown sugar to white sugar and the use of chocolate chips vs hand-chopped chocolate. But I think that the ace up this recipe’s sleeve is the addition of brown butter (beurre noisette) which gives these cookies a much-welcomed pinch on the butt.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes about 28) – J. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe via Serious Eats
- 8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 standard ice cube (about 2 tablespoons frozen water)
- 10 oz (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp table salt
- 5 oz (about 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 oz (about 1/2 tightly packed cup plus 2 tablespoons) dark brown sugar
- 10 oz mix of bitter-sweet, semi-sweet and white chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks (for the sake of experimentation, I used a mix of chocolate chips and hand-chopped)
- Coarse sea salt for garnish
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, gently swirling pan constantly, until particles begin to turn golden brown and butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue swirling the pan until the butter is a rich brown, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk over an ice bath. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to cool completely (about 10 minutes).
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Place granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and mix with a hand beater on medium high speed until mixture is pale brownish-yellow and falls off the whisk in thick ribbons when lifted (about 5 minutes).
When brown butter mixture has cooled (it should be just starting to turn opaque again and firm around the edges), add brown sugar and cooled brown butter to egg mixture. Beat on medium speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just barely combined but some dry flour still remains, about 15 seconds. Add chocolate and mix on low until dough comes together, about 15 seconds longer.
Turn out onto counter-top and form into a ball (without kneading/handling too much).
When ready to bake, adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 325°F. Measure out 1oz pieces of dough (with an ice cream scoop or spoon) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Each ball should measure approximately 3 tablespoons in volume and you should be able to fit 6 to 8 balls on each sheet. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown around edges but still soft, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating pans back to front and top and bottom half way through baking.
Remove baking sheets from oven. While cookies are still hot, sprinkle very lightly with coarse salt and gently press it down to embed. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 for remaining cookie dough. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container, plastic bag, or cookie jar at room temperature for up to 5 days.