When did cookies become so complicated?
What is the deal with cookies lately? How many times have you read a recipe or seen a cooking show where the chef talks about “smoky toffee notes” or ” butterscotch caramel undertones.” Why did we complicate the simple chocolate chip cookie? Where did we go wrong?
So I looked at my trusty Toll House cookie recipe and decided I need to get with the times. I enlisted Hunky Hubbie and my 15 year old nephew, Charlie, to be my chocolate chip cookie testers. Who knows more about how a proper chocolate chip cookie should taste that a teenage boy and a devout chocolate loving dad? No one!
First we tested which type of chocolate would be best for the cookie. We blind tasted Hersey’s Special Dark, 365 Dark Chocolate baking chunks, Guittard Extra Dark chocolate, Ghirardelli semi sweet chips and the noble go to standard Nestle Toll House semi sweet morsels.
Our winner was Hersey’s Special dark chips. They were not too sweet and melted perfectly in the cookie. Chunks just did not melt well. I have been testing recipes trying to find a cookie that is not only chewy, not too sweet but with a depth of nuttiness. I think I have developed the perfect recipe for you. An oven temperature gauge is very important for this recipe. Make sure your oven is exactly 350 degrees prior to baking. I prefer a Silpat baking liner over parchment paper as well. (* Note- My Silpat does not photograph well- do as I say, not as I photograph) You can use it over and over again. Try using insulated cookie sheets to prevent scorching. Nordic ware makes my favorite. There are few unusual ingredients- molasses & coffee – trust me. It works. Molasses adds moisture to the cookie keeping them chewy and coffee always deepens chocolate flavor. I only add a tiny amount of coffee- use what is leftover in your coffee pot- nothing special, but that little bit really makes a difference. I use coffee in my Chocolate Cake recipe and my family will tell you, that cake is insanely good. More on the cake in a few weeks….
The next trick was browning the butter, but not all of the butter. I have seen several TV chefs adding browned butter to their recipes, so I gave it a try. Use a very heavy skillet to brown the butter. Slowly swirl the pan- no spoon, no anything- just gently swirl over low heat until the butter deepens in color.
These few extra steps will have you baking like a cookie sommelier – now you can brag about those caramel and toffee notes. A tall frosted glass of grass fed ultra filter organic milk will pair perfectly with these next generation cookies. 😉
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp molasses
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 TBSP brewed coffee
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate chips- we tested five brands and prefer Hersey’s Special Dark
1 cup chopped pecans
- In a large heavy pan, melt one stick of butter over medium heat until it browns and smells nutty. The butter will foam, sizzle and look angry. Swirl the pan constantly until butter is brown. This takes about 5 minutes. Small bits of brown butter granules will appear on the bottom of your skillet. Do not burn. Set aside into a bowl to prevent further cooking. Let cool for up to 30 minutes.
- Add second stick of butter and brown sugar to a large bowl. I prefer to use a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed until sugar has dissolved into the butter. About 5 minutes. Mixture will be smooth. Reduce speed of your mixer and add in vanilla, molasses, coffee and beat until well blended. Add cooled browned butter and remaining white sugar. Scrape down the bowl of the mixer.
- Reduce speed to low and add eggs. Beat until combined. Add in flour, salt and baking powder slowly. Fold in chips and pecans.
- Cover cookie dough and chill in fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line an insulated cookie sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.
- Scoop dough with a small ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoons per cookie) and set on baking sheets. Leave about 2-3 inches between cookies. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove and let cool on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes then set cookies onto a wire rack to cook completely. Recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.