I’m currently in the process of remixing this song. I will call my version “Fell in Love with a Cookie.” The Chewy, more specifically. I fell in love with the perfect chewy chocolate chip cookie.
We don’t have cable, but a while back I had the good fortune of stumbling on an internet conversation about an episode of Good Eats where, true to his food science nerdery, Alton Brown broke down the secret to achieving the perfectly textured chocolate chip cookie for your preferences–either thin, puffy, or chewy. Brilliant. I’ve talked about my preference for chewy cookies before, so you know I had to try his chewy recipe out. And I’m so glad I did.
I used to make cookies all the time–for a long time, they were pretty much the beginning and end of my baking repertoire. While I was in college, I would watch my youngest sister Sarah (who was 2 or 3 at the time) every Friday, and we would almost always make cookies together. (We would also do other things like wash the dishes together where she would inevitably dump water all over herself so she could wear one of my shirts and use the coin-operated dryer at the end of the building. Or play make-believe games where Sarah insisted on being ‘the mom’ or ‘the teacher’ so she could boss me around. I tell you, this kid was born with attitude in spades.) Sarah was an active kitchen helper and always got frustrated when I wouldn’t let her crack the eggs into the bowl. She’d put one hand on her hip, try to grab at the eggs with the other and yell, “I can do it by my own!” The one time she did manage to grab the eggs from me, she dropped them on the floor and then immediately looked at me and said, “It’s your fault.”
Anyway, when I started grad school, I had some kind of cookie amnesia where I seemed to lose track of all my good cookie recipes. I lost the cookie touch. And then when I started baking more seriously, the cookies I made just seemed to pale in comparison to other more delicious items I was making. Cookie recipes are a dime a dozen, and it seems like a lot of them yield good, not great, cookies. Good is not really good enough for me. I had just resolved to start a hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe when Alton Brown’s recipe appeared before my eyes and the search ended before it had even begun. I’ve made this recipe three times in the past month and even Aidan has jumped in to help with the cookie making–this is how serious we are in our love for these cookies.
There are a couple of things that make this recipe distinct from your run-of-the-mill, back-of-the-chips-bag cookie recipe. First, the call for bread flour, which has a higher gluten content to increase the “chewy” factor. (Incidentally, Brown also did a show focused on substitutions where he featured a gluten-free version of The Chewy.) Rather than the 1-1 ratio of brown sugar to granulated sugar that appears in most chocolate cookie recipes, this recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar to only a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, which results in a richer flavor. The first step of the recipe also calls for melting the butter rather merely softening it and then directs you to chill the dough before baking. And besides yielding truly delicious cookies, it’s the butter content that makes me love this recipe even more–the fact that you can get truly chewy cookie with an all-butter cookie recipe is heartening. Keep your shortening! I don’t want it.
Have any GREAT, not good, cookie recipes to share?
The Chewy (Adapted from Alton Brown)
The original recipe says it yields 2 1/2 dozen cookies, but Aidan and I have been using an ice cream scoop to make really big cookies. With an ice cream scoop, we get more like 16-18 huge cookies. The original recipe also lists the bake time as 14 minutes, which I’ve found too long. 11-12 minutes is more like it in my experience.
- 2 sticks (1 c) unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 c bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 bag chocolate chips
- Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the melted butter and the sugars. (It takes a bit longer than you might expect to incorporate all the liquid from the melted butter. It will look a lot like caramel when you’re done.) Add in the egg and egg yolk, the milk, and the vanilla, beating until well incorporated.
- Gradually add in the dry ingredients, mixing until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and scoop 6 cookies onto the pan. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes (see the note above). Allow them to cool on the pan for a minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.