Cook’s Illustrated Chocolate Chip Cookies

In a previous post I mentioned that Lianne La Havas was my baking soundtrack of choice lately. Have a listen, you’ll be completely smitten with her sultry voice. I was bummed about missing her concert in Montreal in April, so you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I made this serendipitous discovery:

While lost and wandering the cobbled streets of Lausanne one afternoon shortly after moving to Switzerland, I came across a poster announcing a Lianne La Havas concert in…LAUSANNE. A friend and I went to her show and her voice is just as decadent and soulful live. The adorable Brit played at Les Docks, which appears to be an old warehouse, but once you step inside it is converted into an intimate venue.

Beurre noisette is the twist in the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Browning the butter releases an intoxicating nutty aroma. The silky, smooth batter has a gorgeous golden lustre and boasts a complex combination of sweet, buttery, caramel tastes. These cookies are chewy with a gooey centre and crispy edges. Use fresh brown sugar or else the cookies will be too dry, and make sure to use dark brown sugar to achieve that deep toffee flavour. These cookies are very buttery. I recommend letting the dough firm up in the fridge (either for 1 hour or overnight) so that the cookies will spread less while they bake in the oven. These chocolate chip cookies are thinner than Jacques Torres and Alton Brown’s versions.

Bon appétit!

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Yields 16 portions

8 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 1/4 ounces dark brown sugar
3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 yolk
7 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional, I didn’t use any)

1) Preheat the oven to 375F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) Whisk the flour and baking soda together in a bowl and set aside.
3) Melt 10 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until the butter is a dark golden brown and a nutty aroma is released.
4) Pour the browned butter into a large heatproof bowl.
5) Add 4 tablespoons of butter and stir until completely melted.
6) Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla to the browned butter and mix until well combined.
7) Whisk in the egg and egg yolk, making the sugar has dissolved, about 30 seconds.
8) Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the bater is thick, smooth, and shiny.
9) Use a spatula to fold in the flour mixture until just incorporated.
10) Add the chocolate chunks. Make sure that there are no flour pockets.
11) Roll 3 tablespoons of dough into a ball and set on the prepared baking sheet.
12) Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are golden brown and puffy, and the edges have begun to set but the centre is still soft, about 10 to 14 minutes.
13) Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool.

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