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Baking Cookies

The Chocolate Chip Off Part Deux

May 4, 2019

It’s 11:50 p.m. on Friday night, but I promised the results today, so technically, I’m still in under the wire!

If I ever mention that I think it will be fun to bake four different kinds of cookies then bring them in for morning radio shows to test, someone please slap me, and lock me in my room, OK?

I was up at 3 a.m. Thursday morning, baking my guts out, and still wasn’t done by 7:30 a.m. Plus, the results stunned me. The very cookie that made me insane, the pan banging one, that I didn’t think much of at all, got the most likes, especially in the newsroom! There were a few fans of the classic Toll House cookie, and Jacques Torres got a few likes as well, which is understandable, how do you not love a cookie studded with thin dark chocolate discs?

These Pan Banging Cookies got the most votes. They look like the Shar pei’s of the cookie world. Note to self – spread ’em out next time!

But here’s the kicker. Then I got home and my daughter, hearing of my insanity, tells me, “Oh Mom, you have to try the brown butter cookie on Bon Appetit’s website.” But that cookie had toffee bits in it, which I’ll save for another blog post. Then my niece-in-law, Elissa sent me the recipe she found for Salty Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, so I went back to the chocolate chip drawing board.

I am writing this at almost midnight, as the brown butter, chocolate chip cookies are baking. This is proof there is something seriously wrong with me – could be the fact that I only had three hours of sleep last night. I had to change the cookies a skosh because I ran out of semi-sweet chocolate chips, so I added about 3/4 of a cup of chopped 62% cacao chocolate all chopped up. These cookies smell heavenly!

And I just tasted one and found MY favorite of all the chocolate chip contenders. It’s the brown butter one I just baked. The flavor from the brown butter is so much richer than the others, to me it’s the hands-down winner. Plus, it has a nice salt component, which I think is so important in sweets. If I ever bake chocolate chip cookies again – not likely any time soon- I will make these.

The best of all the cookies in my opinion – The Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

(If you don’t believe me. Go get a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut. Bring it home. Zap it in the microwave, then sprinkle it lightly with salt. Bite into it and you will see God, and maybe even an apostle or two.)

In a future blog, I’ll give you the most amazing doughnut recipe that includes browned butter. It sent many of my son’s high school friends into raptures years ago, when I baked him a tower of doughnuts for his birthday.

But I do have to say, the pan bangers really surprised me. (I should have read the directions more carefully beforehand!) You have to freeze them for 15 minutes before cooking them, then bake for 10 minutes, then you have to bang them on something to make them fall, and do it twice again. To me, they weren’t worth all that effort, and time, but clearly lots of people loved them.

You can tell these people are writers.

The Jacques Torres chocolates were very good, but why spend 20 bucks on chocolate discs when you can get good quality chocolate at the store now? I thought the 62% cacao bittersweet chocolate from Ghirardelli was good, and it was a lot less expensive.

And I think Nestle has finally realized that more cacao in their chips is the way to go. People loved the dark chocolate chips that are 53% cacao, instead of the semi sweet.

And there were lots of things in the New York times write ups about how a cookie has to chill for 36 hours, or be six inches wide to be chewy inside and crisp outside. But I disagree. I think if you have a good cookie, like the brown butter one I just ate, you don’t need any of that!

Ok, so here’s the breakdown, which I still can’t believe.

Sara Kieffer’s Pan Banging Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies got 8 #1 votes

Basic Toll House Cookies got 5 #1 Votes

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies got 3 #1 votes

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies got 1 #1 vote

But they haven’t tried these brown butter cookies yet! (Maybe I’ll bring some next week so we can be sure my opinion rules). So, here is a link to Sara Kieffer’s Pan Banging Chocolate Chip cookies, but it doesn’t appear that I can find Sara’s blog. Maybe she only has a book, I’m not sure. The Pan Banging recipe is on one of my favorite baking blog sites, the Vanilla Bean Blog. And, you’ll probably notice, I used that template for mine, I liked it so much! Try Sara Kieffer’s cookies, and let me know what you think.

So, even though the only ones who loved this Browned Butter cookie were me and my daughter, here is the recipe for what I think is the best chocolate chip cookie, The Salty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie with one change, which is to use chocolate chunks! I found this on a blog post called, The Girl Who Ate Everything. I love these cookies because they’re not fussy. No pan banging, no 36 hour chill, no parchment paper, no cookie the size of your head, and they’re delicious!

The recipe says you can sprinkle the tops with salt, which I think does add some flavor. And I only made mine the size of a normal cookie. These are so good, crisp on the edges and chewy inside, you don’t need to make them 6 inches wide.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields1 Serving

 1 cup 2 sticks butter
 2 ½ cups Unbleached flour
 1 tsp baking soda
 1 tsp coarse sea salt
 1 cup packed light brown sugar
 ½ cup granulated sugar
 2 large eggs
 2 tsp vanilla extract
 2 cups chocolate chunks - 60 % or more cacao
 flaked sea salt for sprinkling

1

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. The butter may start to boil, just keep stirring the butter, (it may get foamy) until it turns a deep amber color. (This may take 5 to 10 minutes.)

Remove it from the heat and let it cool for at least 20 minutes.

While the butter cools, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Then set it aside.

Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the cooled butter and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir it until the dough comes together and the ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Using a medium spoon (about 2 tablespoon size), scoop the dough, form it into a slight ball and drop it about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden.

Allow the cookies to cool about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack, or some aluminum foil to cool completely. If desired (and I recommend it) sprinkle the top with a little sea salt. Serve immediately.

These cookies are best eaten right after they're baked. The tend to lose that great brown butter flavor if they sit a day or two.

Ingredients

 1 cup 2 sticks butter
 2 ½ cups Unbleached flour
 1 tsp baking soda
 1 tsp coarse sea salt
 1 cup packed light brown sugar
 ½ cup granulated sugar
 2 large eggs
 2 tsp vanilla extract
 2 cups chocolate chunks - 60 % or more cacao
 flaked sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

1

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. The butter may start to boil, just keep stirring the butter, (it may get foamy) until it turns a deep amber color. (This may take 5 to 10 minutes.)

Remove it from the heat and let it cool for at least 20 minutes.

While the butter cools, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Then set it aside.

Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the cooled butter and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir it until the dough comes together and the ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Using a medium spoon (about 2 tablespoon size), scoop the dough, form it into a slight ball and drop it about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden.

Allow the cookies to cool about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack, or some aluminum foil to cool completely. If desired (and I recommend it) sprinkle the top with a little sea salt. Serve immediately.

These cookies are best eaten right after they're baked. The tend to lose that great brown butter flavor if they sit a day or two.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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