Omaha’s weather has been unusually cool this year. While I am as anxious as the rest of the city to dive into summer, I have enjoyed near perfect running and baking weather over the last couple of weekends. When I saw last week end’s forecast, my mind immediately began to beg the question – “What to bake?”. I’ll be honest, if I had a Magic 8 Ball that could discern exactly what my family would most enjoy and provide a handful of recipes for it I would be in heaven.
Left to my own devices, I settled on scones. I love scones, but I have never made them. Alas, my idea got nixed as soon as my husband said the words “chocolate chip cookies”. It was a great idea – chocolate, simple, and one of my daughter’s favorite things to make. My heart was still set on trying something new, so I set out to find a new twist on my usual back of the chip bag recipe.
I stumbled upon a recipe on the Cook’s Illustrated website titled “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies”. It promised everything I strive for in a CC cookie – crisp edges, a chewy center, and excellent flavor. They even went to the trouble of comparing their recipe to the Toll House recipe for me. If you haven’t tried Cook’s Illustrated, or any of the other America’s Test Kitchen brands, I highly recommend them. They provide detailed recipes that produce consistently amazing results, all the while explaining the hows and whys at each step of the way.
Without giving away the full recipe for the cookies (it’s not mine to give), I want to highlight a few of the changes Cook’s Illustrated made to the standard “back of the bag” recipe. One of the biggest changes was using melted butter and whisking the “wet ingredients” by hand rather than relying on a stand mixer to cream the butter and sugar. They tweaked the brown/white sugar ratio, eliminated an egg white, and tweaked some of the other ingredients as well. The last change they made was to increase the size of the cookie, a big check in the plus column at my house.
Mackenzie and I followed the recipe to a T, minus a bit of spilled flour and probably a few pinches of brown sugar my little sous chef swiped while I wasn’t looking. We pulled the first batch out of the oven, and started tasting as soon as the cookies were cool enough to handle. the first bite proved that this recipe was going to deliver on flavor, but we had to wait a bit longer to see how the structure would turn out. They were excellent – all crispy edges with a chewy center. Needless to say, they didn’t last long.