Saturday, March 27, 2010

Messing With A Good Thing

There are some things in life and in the kitchen that shouldn't be messed with.  One of them I have discovered, is the original Nestle's Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  One of the first things I remember cooking on my own was this classic cookie.  It wasn't entirely a success though.  Somehow in my inexperience I only added 2 Tbsp. of flour to the dough instead of the 2 cups called for.  The cookies turned into paper thin, burned pancake like things and it was a very disappointing experience.  Nevertheless, I got back on that horse and have continued cooking and culinary experimentation ever since. 

Recently I tried a new chocolate chip recipe I saw demonstrated on the PBS show America's Test Kitchen.  I am a big fan of both this show and their well thought out recipes.  Rarely am I disappointed with the results.  This time I have to say I wasn't so pleased with the end product. 

The difference in this chocolate chip cookie recipe from the classic is the technique of using browned melted butter instead of the traditional creamed butter with the sugar.  The taste of the cookies were pretty good but the texture is what I didn't like.  They rose quite high and when cooled, they were very hard.  I prefer a soft, chewy cookie. 

The extra time and effort it took to brown the butter just didn't seem worth the cookie in the end. I have to suggest that it is sometimes better not to mess with a good thing.  I am going to post my adaptation of the recipe for those of you who feel like experimenting.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 sticks butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 stp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped nuts, walnuts or pecans, toasted (optional)

Heat oven to 375 deg.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk flour and baking soda together and set aside.

Heat 10 Tbsp. of butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium high heat until melted, about 2 minutes.  Continue cooking, swirling the pan constantly until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, approximately 1-3 minutes.  Remove skillet from the heat and stir in the remaining 4 Tbsp butter until completely melted. 
Add both sugars, salt and vanilla in a bowl with the butter and beat until fully incorporated.  Add egg and yolk and mix until mixture is smoooth with no sugar lumps remaining.  Let mixture stand 3 minutes then whisk for 30 seconds.  Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixutre is thick, smooth and shiny.  Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, giving dough a final stir to ensure there are no flour pockets remaining.
Put dough on parchment paper lined baking trays in 1 Tbsp. portions.  Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, approximately 10 minues.  Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack.  Cool cookies completely before serving.


KandN said...

One of our all time favorite desserts (I wonder how many we have in that category?) is what BJ's calls a Pizookie. A hot out of the oven cookie in a 6" round pan, with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. After a google search, I see they aren't the only place that serves them. We went so far as to buy pans to make our own. Thankfully, it didn't become a habit.
The browned butter is an interesting idea, but yeah, classics are hard to beat. :>)

whack patti said...

While I agree with Simple Simon and KandN (Hi K!....I just got off the phone with Simple Simon) that the classics are hard to beat. But I had these cookies made by SS and they were wonderful. The butter flavor made them taste like a cross between a regular toll house and shortbread. They were thick and delicious! In a nutshell: Yum!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I fall somewhere in between. I've made ATK's version. I did like it. The brown butter gives a richer flavor and I like the texture of them. Having said that, Toll House Cookie's recipe is a sure hit. However, I use half shortening and half butter with THC's version. Thanks a lot! Now you've made me crave them... somehow, my celery stick I'm munching on has lost it's zing.

Cathy said...

We like our chocolate chip cookies soft and gooey. It's hard to improved on a time tested classic. But trying things new ways is good too.

Thank you so much for visiting and for your comment. It's always nice to meet another Oregon blogger.