As much as I love eating cookies, I’m not the best at baking them. I have a folder of photos on my computer of recipes that just weren’t worth sharing with you, and a decent portion of those show sad looking cookies. For some reason, my cookies never spread like they’re supposed to, regardless of the recipe I follow. To remedy this chronic shortcoming, I took a cooking class on the science behind making cookies, and I learned a whole lot. Although I have not yet applied my newfound knowledge to the cookie recipes that have eluded me in the past, I did come away with an excellent recipe for chocolate chip cookies. We experimented with a bunch of different variations, but working in some browned butter improved the standard chocolate chip cookie for me.
Some of the chocolate chip cookies we experimented with in class, starting at the top left and going clockwise were: classic, all white sugar, all brown sugar, 20% more flour, all egg yolk, and double egg. As you might guess from the picture, some of these were tastier than others.
To make my ideal cookie, begin by browning 1 stick of butter. Add the butter to a small pot or pan over medium heat, and let the butter melt. The butter will begin bubbling, and you will see the white milk solids in the butter rise to the top. Then, the milk solids will fall to the bottom of the pan and begin to brown. You will usually first notice the browning around the edges of the pan, and as soon as you do, remove the pan from the heat, and swirl it. The remaining milk solids will brown rapidly. Set the butter aside to cool slightly.
While the butter cools, weigh out 2.75 ounces (78 grams) of white sugar and 2.5 ounces of dark brown sugar. Add the sugars to a mixing bowl. Preheat your oven (to 350° F in a convection oven or 375º F in a non-convection oven).
Pour the butter and all of its brown bits (it should be cool enough that it doesn’t melt the sugar) into the bowl and beat it together with the sugar very well. Once the butter and sugar are evenly combined, crack in 1 egg, and pour in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat the ingredients until they are completely combined, scraping down the bowl if necessary.
In a separate bowl, weigh out 5.08 ounces (144 grams) of flour. Into the flour, stir 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. In two additions, stir the flour into the butter and sugar mixture. Once it is combined, stir in 5 ounces (142 grams) of chocolate chips. The cookie dough should be scoopable, so if it is too loose, put it into the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and use a 2 tablespoon scoop to scoop out the cookies. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart to allow them room to spread. I got 19 cookies out of this batch.
Bake the cookies for approximately 12 minutes, rotating the pan around half-way through, until they are golden brown around the edges. Let the cookies cool before eating them. These are crisp around the edges and slightly chewy in the center.
The browned butter flavor is detectable but not overpowering, especially when compared to a cookie made with normal butter. It just has a little something extra. I love how flat these cookies get, quite different from the mound-like cookies I normally end up with. Such a success in my book!
- Butter- 1 stick
- White sugar- 2.75 ounces
- Dark brown sugar- 2.75 ounces
- Egg- 1
- Vanilla extract- 1/2 teaspoon
- Flour- 5.08 ounces (144 grams)
- Baking soda- 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt- 1/2 teaspoon
- Chocolate chips- 5 ounces