Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Crunchy, Salty (and Science-Inspired!) Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post has arguably too many photos for a chocolate chip recipe.  But this recipe was formed meticulously and scientifically and I have to respect all of the steps!  Each one is important.

A while ago, someone sent me this link, The Science of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie by Serious Eats.  (Or maybe it was this link first which got me to Serious Eats, either way both great reads)  Satisfied with my favorite recipe, Wheat Flour Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies, I stored the Serious Eats article away until recently when I realized how much I love a crunchy, airy, more interesting but still salty chocolate chip cookie.  Crust, a baking company, in Fenton, MI has the BEST chocolate chip cookies.  But if you know me, which if you're here, you do ;) you know that I'd much rather make my own baked goods.  After eating the Crust cookies, I dug up this link, actually read it, even though it is insanely long, took a few notes and made a batch of cookies.  Determined to find a way to make a more "Crust-like" cookie at home.

My main take-aways from the Serious Eats article and the final Serious Eat's "Best Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe are as follows:

- Chop the chocolate, don't leave it in chip form, or better yet, buy bar chocolate to chop and your cookies will have more intense/interesting chocolate flavors.
- Melting the butter not only allows for you to make chocolate chip cookies without planning ahead (leaving butter out to soften) but it makes for denser cookies, a win in my book.  If you use softened butter, and cream it with sugar as per usual, then you incorporate more air and have more lift in your cookies, which I don't prefer.
- Less mixing leads to a craggier texture.  The 15 seconds of mixing the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients truly is enough (because you get another 15 seconds when you add the chocolate, plus the inherent kneading that comes with transferring cookie dough to a bowl to chill overnight).
- Let the dough chill overnight, (almost) no exceptions.  This is easy to do with this recipe because there are a lot of steps and after you make the dough the last thing you want to do is scoop the dough and bake each batch...although this negates my claim that there is 'no need to plan ahead' with this cookie dough...although it wouldn't be the end of the world to make one sheet of cookies and let the rest chill and become more awesome overnight.  It just makes me sad when the dough isn't cold enough and the cookies run together...but this could be fixed by scooping one sheet of 'warmish' dough then putting in the freezer for 30 minutes or as long as you can wait and then bake your one sheet to eat right now, letting the rest of the dough chill overnight.  Oh yes, I have solutions for cookiE-mergencies.  That's a thing.
- Add more salt than you think is necessary.  Notice how anything 'salty caramel' or 'salty chocolate' just makes your mouth water?  There is a reason.  Add more salt and don't look back.

A few more things before I get to the recipe that I now use.  With 1/2 tbsp cookie scoop-sized cookies, this batch makes 93 cookies!!!  So our freezer currently looks like this:

Crunchy, Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 c)
1 ice cube
2 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 tsp salt
3/4 c white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c + 2 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/2 c chocolate chips (I like 3/4 c milk Ghirardelli chips + 3/4 c semi-sweet Ghirardelli chips)


Brown butter on medium-high heat in a sauce pan for about 5 minutes.  Take off of the heat and let sit for 15 seconds.  Then whisk an ice cube in and let sit for 20 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, use a handheld whisk together your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) and set aside.

In an electric mixer, use the whisk attachment to whisk sugar, eggs and vanilla for 5 minutes so it becomes airy, light and fluffy.

Use the paddle attachment to add the butter after it has cooled for 20 minutes - only whisk the butter for 15 seconds.  Add the dry ingredients and whisk for only 15 seconds.  Finally, add your chocolate chips and whisk for, you guessed it, 15 seconds.

Transfer your cookie dough to an airtight container and let it chill in your refrigerator overnight.  Once it is chilled, use a 1/2 tablespoon-sized scoop to into glorious cookie dough balls.  Freeze or store in the fridge.

When you're ready to bake, line a baking sheet, preheat the oven to 325 F and bake for 7 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 7 minutes - for a total of 14 minutes.  (For frozen balls, bake for 8 mins + 8 mins).

*For extra craggle, rip the dough ball in half and push the smooth sides gently back together before placing on your baking sheet.

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