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The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

August 8, 2014

Holy smokes, it’s already the second week of August! Florence (as does most of Italy) pretty much shuts down for the entire month of August, which has it’s pros and cons. One huge pro is that Tony is off work and I now have a second partner in crime on my daily funemployment! Louie will always be No. 1. Unfortunately, my only butcher friends, Piero and Giacamo, are on holiday as well so I have to blindly navigate the chaotic world of the Mercato Centrale without my go-to meat guys. It seems like the only people who aren’t on holiday this month are the guys at the parking garage, who work more hours than anyone else in Italy, so in true Bite-Sized Baker fashion, I promised to bring in baked goods… Because if you can’t have a month of holiday vacation, at least you can have some treats!

 

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When I asked the guys what dessert they prefer, they told me to make whatever is my favorite thing to bake. Although I love trying new recipes that can put my baking skills to the test, my favorite thing to bake, eat, and share will always be chocolate chip cookies. Some people might argue that it’s just a cookie and cookies are relatively easy to make in the grand scheme of baking… and for that I am truly sorry.

 

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I feel like chocolate chip cookies are the true testament of someone’s baking abilities. If you can make an unforgettable chocolate chip cookie, chances are you’re an excellent baker and I want to be friends. I love baking chocolate chip cookies because there are literally thousands of recipes out there to try, each claiming to be “the best” and even if it might not be “the best” cookie you’ve ever had, it’s still a chocolate chip cookie, which is still pretty close to perfection.

 

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For the last two years, I have used my go-to recipe for Nutella-Stuffed Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt when I feel like eating freshly baked cookies, but I’ve made it my mission to find another go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe… Two years is too long! There are about fifty chocolate chip cookie recipes that I’ve wanted to try, some use bread flour, while others call for cake flour or all-purpose flour, eggs and/or egg yolks, milk or no milk, melted butter or creamed butter or coconut oil, baking soda and/or baking powder, white sugar and/or brown sugar, additional maple syrup or molasses or neither, bittersweet, dark, or milk chocolate, chocolate chips and/or chocolate shards, nuts or no nuts… and don’t get me started on the difference of how and when these ingredients are incorporated.

Just to get your brain thinking and also because I was curious… Just the use of different ingredients alone has the possibility of 5184 different cookie outcomes!!! Check it… Yeah, baking AND math.

3 flours x 2 types of eggs x options of milk x 3 types of fat x 2 leavening agents x 2 sugars x 3 additional sugars x 3 types of chocolates x forms of chocolate x 2 options of nuts = 5184 outcomes!!!

 

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I decided to test out Joy The Baker’s “The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies” because I made her Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins earlier this week and I remembered how much I love every single recipe of hers. I followed her recipe to a T, timing precisely how long I beat my butter and sugars together. The result was a chewy and crisp cookie with an extraordinary depth of flavor. Tony claimed that they were “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies” I’ve ever made and a future “Get Out of Jail Free” card… While I thought these cookies were quite delicious, as our most chocolate chip cookies, I would have preferred my cookies to be a bit taller and thicker. A combination of the day-old Levain cookies I’ve tasted, Carol’s Cookies, and Lot Sixty One’s cookies… That’s not too much to ask, right? I think beating the butter for 3 to 5 minutes might have caused the butter to become overly warm and in return, it wasn’t able to get enough air so the cookies ended up a bit flatter than I would have liked… But this is an experiment for the next recipe I try.

 

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Overall, I thought these cookies tasted fantastic and depending on your cookie preference they might be “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie,” but since I’m on a quest to find MY perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, the search continues. I apologize in advance for the excessive amounts of chocolate chip cookie recipes that will soon be posted on The Bite-Sized Baker. But if there’s one thing I don’t mind, it’s testing out chocolate chip cookie recipes, because even a “failed” recipe is still quite enjoyable with a tall glass of milk.

What is your idea of the BEST chocolate chip cookie?!

The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from Joy The Baker:

1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon molasses

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

½ cup coarsely chopped pecans

Coarse sea salt, to sprinkle on top

  1. To make the cookies, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place half the butter (8 tablespoons) in a medium skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling it in the pan occasionally. It’ll foam and froth as it cooks, and start to crackle and pop. Once the crackling stops, keep a close eye on the melted butter, continuing to swirl the pan often. The butter will start to smell nutty, and brown bits will form in the bottom. Once the bits are amber brown (about 2 ½ to 3 minutes or so after the sizzling stops), remove the butter from the burner and immediately pour it into a small bowl, bits and all. This will stop the butter from cooking and burning.  Allow it to cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Beat the remaining ½ cup butter with the brown sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract and molasses.
  5. Pour the cooled brown butter into the bowl, along with the granulated sugar. Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth; the mixture will lighten in color and become fluffy.
  6. Add the egg and egg yolk, and beat for one minute more.
  7. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, beating on low speed just until everything is incorporated.
  8. Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and pecans and finish incorporating all of the dry flour bits into the dough.
  9. Scoop the dough onto a piece of parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap. Flatten it slightly into a thick disk, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. About 15 minutes before you’re ready to begin baking, place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat your oven to 350°F.
  10. Scoop the dough in 2 tablespoon-sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave about 2″ between the cookies; they’ll spread as they bake.
  11. Sprinkle the cookies with sea salt, to taste — as much or as little as you like.
  12. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to rest on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before moving them.
  13. Serve warm; or cool completely, and store airtight at room temperature for several days. For longer storage, wrap well and freeze.
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Judith Bassoul permalink
    August 8, 2014 9:14 am

    Oh dear, sounds so yummy! You are getting great at finding everything you need!

  2. August 8, 2014 11:12 am

    I always sprinkle salt over my chocolate cookies, I love it. Yum yum 🙂

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