Friday, January 30, 2015

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let's talk chocolate chip cookies, shall we?


Yes, I know. This post is a bit unorthodox from the usual posts I write, but I wanted to shift my focus this time as I feel it's needed; almost warranted. Mainly because these cookies have been two years in the making.

I know. Like who takes TWO friggin' YEARS to make a chocolate chip cookie?

That would be me. I do. You see, I love cookies. No. I REALLY love cookies. It's like a moth to a flame, like a bear to honey, like white on rice - although I never really understood that one, you get the idea. Bottom line is, I LOVE them. Cookies have been a weakness of mine since I was a knee-high to a grasshopper. In fact, if there was a $10 bill and a cookie on the table for the taking, I'd take the cookie. Funny enough, the amount of times I've said that, people have retorted with, "Why wouldn't you take the cash and buy more cookies?" 

Because it's all about instant gratification, my loves. Instant gratification. 

But chocolate chip cookies? Ah. You see, these gems are almost an entire entity on their own. They are the Mack Daddy of all cookies. The King. The Queen. The Big Cheese. The shit. They're also one of the most subjective foods I know, so naturally, I wanted to make sure I made a cookie worthy enough to share with all my fabulous readers and satisfy every palate. 

And I think I've finally found it. 

In saying this, it probably comes as no surprise that I have only one chocolate chip cookie on my entire blog - and this was one I did almost three years ago. It also has the addition of Irish cream liquor, so it doesn't really count in my honest opinion as it doesn't or wouldn't appeal to the masses.

During my journey to cookie perfection, I've taken about 36 chocolate chip cookies recipes over these last couple years and tweaked them into one. I've used different flours, different methods - butter, shortening, more baking powder, less baking soda - I've tried it all, but it wasn't until my last batch when I met up with my foodie girls and found that missing ingredient. 

One more batch and I was finally satisfied. Just to let you know how serious I've been, to date, these cookies have been tested by:

98% of family members
A thousand friends
Countless co-workers
Six neighbours
Four random parents
Five random children
10 children I actually know
Three shop owners
One shop owner's husband
One shop customer 
Eight incredible food bloggers
My mailman
Two paper carriers 
The UPS guy
The FedEx guy
And a partridge in a pear tree

The two most subjective factors that came back were the doneness of the cookies and the addition of fleur de sel. Other than that, there wasn't much criticism. Mind you, two people said there was too much chocolate in them. Oh, don't worry. I had a quiet word with them and their blasphemous mouth. I do not condone violence, but man was it hard not to want to slap them upside the head. Too much chocolate. Yeah, I'll give you too much chocolate....

So friends, these are my chocolate chip cookies. Two years in the making. 

No build up, no pressure. Just a cookie that I finally found blogworthy. 

About damn time too. 


Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 10-12 minutes, depending on doneness of cookie you prefer
Yield: About 3 dozen

These cookies demand quality ingredients. I stated the ingredients I used and I implore you use them as well.

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided

3 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional but recommended
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
12 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate, like Callebaut, roughly chopped
Fleur de sel - to taste

**Edit: These cookies are quite nice made with whole wheat flour as well if you prefer it to white flour. It was the only flour that didn't alter taste and texture too much. 

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown butter. Please note that you do not have to brown the butter to achieve incredible flavour with these cookies. You can skip this process all together, but it helps give these cookies serious flavour depth. If you choose to skip the step, simply melt the butter to a liquid state.

To brown butter:

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Once butter is liquified, swish the pan to keep it flowing. It's best to stand at the stove as you're doing this entire process. Butter turns fast and can burn quite quickly. 

The butter will snap, bubble, and pop - this is normal as it's the water escaping. Butter will also foam up and then recede. Continue to stir or swish until butter begins to settle down and take on an amber shade. You'll notice a gorgeous, nuttiness aroma take over. You'll also begin to see brown bits form at the bottom of the pan. These bits are going to give your cookies their awesome flavour. Once this happens and your butter has achieved a nice, deep golden colour, give a couple swishes and immediately pour browned butter into a heat-proof dish - bits and all to help cool and stop the cooking process. Allow your butter to cool to room temperature. If you use the butter right away, your cookies will come out greasy. 

Chop bittersweet chocolate into chunks and slivers (see photo). Cut enough chunks off to measure out two cups. Keep the slivers as you'll need definitely them. In my opinion, they make the cookies. Set aside chunks and slivers. 

Using a large SPOON, transfer flour into a measuring cup and level with the back of a knife once cup is filled. This technique will ensure you get the proper amount of flour as opposed to digging a measuring cup into the flour and unintentionally packing it in. Place in mixing bowl. Whisk in baking soda, baking powder, and salt until incorporated. Set aside. 

If you have a stand mixer for this next bit, it's best, but it can absolutely be achieved with a hand mixer as well. It'll just take bit longer. 

In a mixing bowl on high speed, cream butter for three minutes. Pour in both sugars and cream for another two minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla and cream until fully incorporated. This is the key to amazing cookies. Creaming the butter and incorporating all the wet ingredients properly. Butter and eggs are two fats that don't want be together. It's important that you merge them well.

Reduce speed and slowly add in dry ingredients only until combined. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, add in chocolate - chunks and slivers. See all those lush slivers? Totally adds to the cookie. I promise. Mix only to combine.

Wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. I haven't tested this recipe past an hour chill, but from past experience from cookie dough, the dough will get really hard and it will have to come back down to room temperature to scoop out. 

When ready to bake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. 

Using a medium ice cream scoop with a retractable mechanism, scoop out balls of dough and place on tray 2 inches apart. I used a one tablespoon scoop for these cookies. You can use one as big as three tablespoons, just be sure to adjust the baking time to accommodate. 

Subjective issue #1 - Fleur de sel. Less than half of those that tested these cookies didn't care for the salt, but I found it took it to another level. You can add it if you wish - and I hope you do, but it's not necessary. Start small and work your way up if needed. 

Subjective issue #2 - Baking time. If you prefer a slightly under doneness to your cookie, bake for 10 minutes. If you like more of a dunk-in-your-tea cookie, like my hubsy and I, bake for 12 minutes. Again, if you want a bigger, chunkier cookie, be sure to adjust baking time. Oven temperatures vary, so you'll need to use your best judgment. If you look at my top hero shot, you can tell which were done at 10 minutes and which were done at 12 minutes. They're both delicious, it depends if you like a chewy and gooey cookie or a chewy and crispy cookie. Just know that these cookies are still not gooey-gooey inside like, say, Tollhouse Cookies when baked at 10 minutes. They have some oomph.

Once cookies are baked at desired temperature, remove from oven and transfer to cool on wire rack. These cookies will keep beautifully for 3-4 days (if they last that long) in an airtight container. 

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13 Responses to “Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies”

  1. I love the science you put into making these perfect cookies! I love fleur de sel and you can NEVER have too much chocolate. Pinning :)

  2. Ok I am going through the same thing with my husband's grandmother's CCC recipe. Been over a year and it is just not perfect yet! So I understand lol! So glad you finally got the ones you love. I can't wait to try them!!

  3. I was happy to be a taste tester and I am going to get my butter browned now.....

  4. I'm always searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and may just have to try yours. These look incredible!

  5. I can't wait to try these, since I'm always looking for the perfect CCC. I'm curious about the corn syrup. Does it add to the chewiness? Also, I vote a big yes on the flour de sel!

  6. Gotta love your commitment to creating the perfect chocolate chip cookie! Re: the detailed note doubt measuring the flour, what do you think about weighing the outcome and providing that as well. Don't hate me!!! The thing about baking is we all have our own way of measuring. Me, I'm a scooper and shaker to level. I would use your spoon and knife method for these cookies though, since they look so darned good!

  7. I made these cookies over the weekend and I gotta say they were awesome! I did bake mine for 8-10 minutes because I like them almost raw inside and they turned out PERFECT. My boyfriend likes them crunchy, so I did what you suggested and baked them longer. He was totally impressed - and he's hard to impress as he's not a sweets or puddings kind of guy. I also used golden syrup as we don't have corn syrup in the UK, but I assume it's the same because it worked. These cookies win big in my book. Obviously all that time it took to perfect was worth it. Xxx ~Ashley

  8. YOU DID IT! Yepp-they look perfect alright! LOVE LOVE LOVE these cookies (and the fleur de sel is totally NOT optional!)

  9. Wow. These cookies are pretty perfect and I bet they taste as good as they look. Pinned! <3 Trina

  10. You are a genius. And I've been dying to make these at home ever since I tried them a couple of weeks ago! P.s. Whoever said too much chocolate is just wrong - ha!

  11. Absolutely NEVER too much chocolate. I hope you talked some sense into those people! These look amazing!

  12. So incredibly delicious! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

  13. These cookies look so delicious. I'll be making these very soon.