Recipe Review ((AND RECIPE!!)): Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Cook’s Country Magazine

I love Cook’s Illustrated & Cook’s Country magazines! I always look forward to studying the newest issue! Each one is packed full of tested & perfected recipes, handy, time ((and $$$)) saving tips & one of my favorites parts: food and equipment reviews. It is like having a mini-intersession class in culinary arts every month! 

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My brother first introduced me to the magazine via a birthday gift ((talk about the gift that keeps on giving!!)). I keep every single issue, I now have quite a collection & I use the recipes often. 

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One of my recent favorites is a recipe from Cook’s Country ((April/May 2014)): “Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies”.  This recipe can be viewed by signing up for a free 2-week trial subscription to the online America’s Test Kitchen. I would love to share it with you on Food for a Year, but the editor of Cook’s Country has not given me permission to share it with you ((and may never)). Oh boy!! He gave me permission to share! Yippee!! the Executive Food Editor for Cook’s Illustrated is allowing me to share this recipe with you!! The subscription is handy, I refer to the website a few times a week at least. They have excellent equipment reviews, food product reviews, tips & technique instruction. ((I make no $$ by telling you this, it’s just my opinion.))

What is interesting about this recipe is the ingredients list is exactly what you would expect it to be if you are making chocolate chip cookies. Vanilla, eggs, butter, 2 types of sugar, flour, baking soda, salt & chocolate chips. 

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Where does this recipe take a turn from tradition?? The instructions concerning how the ingredients are handled. Apparently – the perfect cookie is born out of the details. So, in this case – we SHOULD sweat the small stuff.

Here are a few of the differences:

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  • This tip is the most interesting to me: Completely melt the butter and cool before whipping it with the sugar. If the goal is a dense, thick & chewy cookie ((umm, it is indeed)) – so we melt the butter. Why? “The water contained in the melted butter becomes available to combine with the flour and form gluten. Too much gluten would make the cookies tough, but the butter boosts gluten formation just enough to promote chew.” 

Oooh!! I love food science – finally putting that Master’s of Science to good use, haha!

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  • The amount of yolk to white is important too! For this recipe, the Test Kitchen uses one whole egg and one yolk. Why?? “One less egg white leads to a denser & chewier cookie” — that’s what I’m talking about. ((NOTE: I double the recipe every time I make it))

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  • Chewiness is helped by using a 2:1 ratio of brown sugar to white sugar. Why? “Using twice as much brown sugar makes a chewier cookie” – wow, another tip for a chewier cookie!!

  • Last, once you portion the cookie dough, roll it into a tight ball in your hands ((as if you are making a ball out of playdoh)). Why? “Rolling the dough into a ball rather than just dropping from a spoon causes the cookie to stay thick”- sorry no picture of this step – my hands were crazy messy!

After all this, were they thick & chewy?? Did these extra tricks work?? Were they worth it?? Yes!! Yes!! & Yes!! Just the way we like them!! The kids LOVE them! I keep a batch of dough in the fridge — we can pop 6 in the oven and have a warm & fresh, thick & chewy chocolate chip cookie — anytime we want. This could be dangerous!

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This recipe and many more tasty recipes can be found at America’s Test Kitchen. I have requested permission to share the recipe with you and am awaiting a response from the editor. I hope the answer is YES! 

Big News! He said yes! The Executive Food Editor for Cook’s Illustrated Magazine responded to my request to share my most favorite cookie recipe on Food for a Year…and he said yes! ((I know, I already said that – but I am so excited, I can’t help but say it again))

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 24
After testing 40 variations, we discover how to make a thick, chewy gourmet shop cookie at home.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/8 cups bleached all-purpose flour (10 2/3 ounces)
  2. 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
  5. 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 7 ounces
  6. 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 1 large egg yolk
  9. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 1 - 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet) -- I used See's semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. 1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  2. 2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.
  3. 3. Following illustrations below, form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven surface. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined 20-by-14-inch lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet. Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one time and baking time may need to be adjusted. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month—shaped or not.)
  4. 4. Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). (Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.
Notes
  1. TECHNIQUE
  2. SHAPING THICK CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
  3. 1. Creating a jagged surface on each dough ball gives the finished cookies an attractive appearance. Start by rolling a scant 1/4 cup of dough into a smooth ball.
  4. 2. Holding the dough ball in the fingertips of both hands, pull the dough apart into two equal halves.
  5. 3. Each half will have a jagged surface where it was ripped from the other. Rotate each piece 90 degrees so that the jagged edge faces up.
  6. 4. Jam the halves back together into one ball so that the top surface remains jagged.
  7. * Reprinted with permission from Cooks Illustrated Magazine. For more information about this magazine or other publications by Americas Test Kitchen call 800-526-8442. Selected articles and recipes, as well as subscription information, are also available online at www.cooksillustrated.com
Food for a Year: http://foodforayear.com/

* Reprinted with permission from Cooks Illustrated Magazine. For more information about this magazine or other publications by Americas Test Kitchen call 800-526-8442. Selected articles and recipes, as well as subscription information, are also available online at www.cooksillustrated.com

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2 Comments

  1. Hannah Lewis says:

    How big do the cookies get? They look like a pretty decent size (not that I’m complaining!). I just wondered if making them any smaller would affect the taste or texture.

    Also, do you think I could make them into cookie bars if I baked the batter into one baking sheet?

    Thank you for the recipe, I am going to make them asap!!!!

    • Emily says:

      Hi- they get to be about 2.5″ in diameter if you start with a 2 T sized scoop. Also, I wouldn’t think a smaller cookie affect taste?texture as long as you reduce the baking time.
      I have never tried this recipe as a cookie bar, but I imagine it will work nicely. Maybe after you spread/press the dough into the pan you can crumble a little extra dough on top to help it appear crinkled like the cookies shown.
      Hope that helps!

In true show & tell form: "I am open for questions & comments"

 
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