Recently I’ve found some fun new Boston-based food blogs–and it’s a good thing: I’m not always the most up on things, so I have to rely on others to get me up to speed more often than not. And luckily for me, I found out just in time via Megan about America’s Test Kitchen Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge. About noon today, to be exact. Entry (via a blog post describing your experiences making the recipe) due tonight by 11:59 eastern. Winner gets a trip to the America’s Test Kitchen Studios (they of Cooks Illustrated) to watch a taping of the show!
So: I win, I get to go to the studio and meet a gaggle of amazing food folks, and I lose, I get to try some amazing chocolate chip cookies? Not a hard decision.
I wasn’t surprised to see that this recipe had some major departures from your standard toll house recipe–most notably, using brown butter. (I’ve blogged about using brown butter before here). Though it seems like making brown butter adds an extra step, it only seems that way because it’s a little unusual: in fact it takes less time than waiting for your butter to soften as most recipes require. (I do always try to cheat and soften in the microwave, which works out for me sometimes, and which sometimes just creates another mess to clean up). Better here that it’s not even necessary at all. Also, I’m always happy not to have to haul out a mixer. Here, you only need a whisk and a spatula.
But back to the brown butter. I was a bit nervous that I had overdone things burned the butter. Browning butter caramelizes the milk sugars and imparts a nutty aroma. Per the recipe, I swirled and cooked my butter until it was a golden brown, but got nervous when I poured the liquid into a bowl–in a deeper vessel, it looked almost burnt. And was the aroma charred or nutty? I couldn’t tell. I tasted it and didn’t note anything off so I continued. Not helping the looks of things were the foam collecting over the surface and rather dark butter solids gathering at the bottom of the bowl. Nevertheless, after mixing in the sugar I began to feel heartened–the aroma became that of a decadent caramel. (And as I love caramel, this could only be a very good thing).
The cookie dough was remarkably glossy and smooth, a deep golden brown that held together well as I portioned it out onto the cookie sheet. And the result was truly delicious. Browning the butter really does seem to add something special to the flavor profile, and the cookies are moist and chewy without being overly cakey. I think this recipe is a keeper. While it’s a bit of a departure from the standard method, it’s easy and produces fabulous results. If you’d like to try, check it out here!
Hmmm…I think I need another one.