Can I confess something to you all? I had never actually had the chocolate-chip-cookies-and-milk combination until yesterday. Actually, I'd never had cookies of any kind with milk before, to be perfectly honest. I didn't really drink milk as a kid, because it always upset my stomach (thankfully, this never happened with ice cream or cheese), and while I can drink milk now, I usually don't, just out of habit I think. I've photographed many different cookie recipes for the blog, and they're almost always accompanied by a nice tall glass of milk. Whenever the time came to taste the cookies in question for the photos, I would always take a bite out of the cookies, and pour just a bit of the milk back into its container, to pretend like I actually took a sip myself. At the end of the photo shoot, all the remaining milk in the glass would go back into the milk carton, or I'd give it to my sister to drink. This is how I always photographed my cookies and milk, until yesterday, when I photographed these Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I really wanted to try a new approach to photographing my cookies and milk. I took a few shots with the standard glass, of course, but I also wanted to try a few shots with spilled milk. I had no idea how those photos would come out, but I ended up really liking them! If you scroll down for the recipe, you'll see what I'm talking about. In that photo, some of the cookies got pretty soaked in milk, so I figured it would be as good a time as any to finally try out the whole, "cookies and milk" phenomenon and see if it was actually as great as everyone claimed it was. To my big surprise, I ended up liking the combination! I still prefer my cookies when they're not dipped in milk, purely for textural reasons, but I can see myself dipping them in milk on occasion from now on, especially now that I've found this amazing recipe for chocolate chip cookies.
This recipe is perfect in so many ways. I thought I had found my favorite chocolate chip cookie in my Baked: New Frontiers in Baking book; the chocolate chip cookies that come out of that recipe are super thick and chewy, and have wonderful caramel undertones from the brown sugar that I just love (click here for the original post!). The only issue I have with that particular recipe is that it doesn't work very well if I need to satisfy an immediate chocolate chip cookie craving. The recipe requires several hours in the fridge for all the flavors to come together, so the recipe works well if I know I need cookies in advance. However, there are times when I just need a cookie right now, and when those moments strike, the Baked recipe won't cut it. I needed to search for a new recipe that would yield a delicious chocolate chip cookie without a need for extra refrigeration time, and I'm happy to say that this recipe from Cook's Illustrated is just that.
I have no idea why it never occurred to me to try out the Cook's Illustrated chocolate chip cookie recipe, considering that their recipes really do work perfectly almost every single time. They didn't disappoint when it came to chocolate chip cookies. I only made two slight modifications to their recipe; I browned the butter (because why not?) and I used dark brown sugar instead of light (because why not?). I think that the addition of the browned butter and dark brown sugar really helped to add a much deeper flavor to the final cookies. The browned butter adds a slight hint of nuttiness, and the dark brown sugar helps keep the cookies perfectly moist and chewy. One thing I do recommend that you keep in mind when you make these (and I hope you do!), is the amount of chocolate chips that you use. The original recipe doesn't specify an amount of chips, but rather gives a range that you can adjust to your taste. I of course used the full 1 1/2 cups that are suggested, but I actually think that this was too much, if you can believe that. It seemed that there were too many chips to mix into the batter, and I ended up placing a lot of the chips on the cookies by hand as I was shaping them. This is no big deal, but if you want all the chips to be mixed into the batter, 1 1/3 cups should be just right. My favorite part about these cookies, aside from their taste, is the way they look. Their appearance is due to the way the cookies are shaped; big cookie balls are roughly broken in half, turned, and then stuck together so that the rough edges are on top. This ensures that the final cookies will have a rough and uneven surface, just like bakery style chocolate chip cookies.
I'm so happy that I came across this cookie recipe, because I really, really enjoyed them. I made them with the intention of having a chocolate chip cookie recipe specifically for intense cravings that need to be satisfied immediately, but these cookies are just as good (if not better!) than my other favorite chocolate chip cookies. They're thick, crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside. They're incredibly rich, so I found one cookie more than satisfying, but I did find myself breaking off a piece of cookie to nibble on every time I walked though my kitchen. Since these cookies can be mixed together and baked immediately, I know I'll be using this recipe all the time. When you make them, be sure to enjoy at least one cookie while it's still warm from the oven, because there's not many things that are better than freshly baked cookies.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe adapted slightly from Baking Illustrated
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and arrange your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the browned butter and both sugars until thoroughly mixed. Beat in the whole egg, yolk, and vanilla extract until combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix at low speed until just combined. Stir in the desired amount of chocolate chips.
To shape the dough, begin by portioning out the dough in scant 1/4 cup portions, and roll each into a ball. Holding the ball of dough with both hands, break the ball of dough in half, to create two halves with jagged ends. Turn the halves so that the jagged ends are both facing up, and join the halves at their bases, taking care not to smooth out the uneven surfaces of the dough. Place the newly formed dough balls back on the prepared baking sheets, jagged ends up, making sure to space them evenly.
Bake the cookies until they're light golden brown and the outer edges begin to look crisp, even though the centers still look a bit soft, about 16-18 minutes. It's important that you don't over-bake the cookies, so take them out even if they don't look ready yet. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet, but make sure to enjoy at least one while it's still warm from the oven. Enjoy!
Makes 18 chocolate chip cookies