Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Taken from The Best Recipe, Cook's Illustrated's collection of 700 recipes. Cook's Illustrated attacks recipes with scientific vigor. They try multiple variations of ingredients until they come up with what they consider the ideal combination. This book is for people who believe in the precision of baking and really enjoy a well crafted dish. Of course I have only tried their desserts over the years, but I am guessing their main dishes are spectacular too. Their desserts certainly are. You will find these cookies taste very much like the ones you can buy at gourmet cookie shops. They do not keep though. Either eat them within 24 hours (two days really is too many) or freeze them that day. Put cookies in pairs into plastic sandwich bags and freeze them for later eating.

  • Position two racks in the middle of your oven.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Line two large cookie sheets or pans with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. (Either works. Parchment can be found at good cooking stores and most natural oriented grocery stores. It keeps the cookies from spreading too much.)
  • Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. A whisk or a fork works.
  • Stir the sugars into the cooled, melted butter. You can do this in the saucepan with a wooden spoon, or in a mixer. Combine well. Not all the butter will be absorbed.
  • Stir in the egg and yolk, then stir in the vanilla until blended. You will wind up with a very smooth butterscotch looking and tasting concoction. No fair eating it all at this point.
  • Stir in dry ingredients until just blended.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Scoop the cookies onto the cookie cheets in 1/4 cup units. OR: Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out scoops of batter onto the cookie sheets. The book has a lovely diagram about rolling the dough into a ball and tearing the ball in half, rotating the halves 90 degrees and pressing them back together. This is designed to get a textured top that looks cool after you bake. I found I got a similar effect just from my scoop as the dough was dislodged.
  • Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes. Bake for 7 1/2 minutes at first. Rotate cookies, turning around each sheet and switching between racks. Then set timer for 7 1/2 more minutes.
  • At the fifteen minute mark check the cookies. You have two choices. If they are light golden brown and slightly set around the edges while still underdone in the middle you can take them out now (see image at right or larger image at the top of the recipe.). Your other option is to take one sheet out now and bake the other sheet for 3 more minutes. After cooling taste them both and see which time you prefer. Several tastings will be needed. One at about ten minutes when they are still warm. Milk is recommended. Another at about 45 minutes as they have cooled a bit. And if any survive another tasting can be done the next day. For me the 18 minute time produced a crisper cookie that works well for bag lunches and road trips.
  • Leave the cookies on the sheets to cool. When cool, you can peel the cookies right off the parchment. The finished cookie will look slightly underdone when cooled.

  • Cooled Cookie