World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (Whatever's in the Pantry Version)

Last week was kind of a rough one for me. The world lost a very special person - someone who had taken me under her wing when I was dealing with my own loss. And in this funk, I couldn't find the motivation to blog. So, as I return this week, I thought I would offer a universal sign of good will: Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

When I got it in my head that I wanted to make some cookies, I decided I wanted to really go for it. I didn't google the easiest or quickest recipes, but instead found myself in an internet hole of "world's best," "ultimate," "perfect," ultra complex recipes. 

I hit a goldmine when I found Serious Eats' Food Lab article from 2013. The in-depth article explores the science behind the cookie. The author did an incredible amount of work trying to perfect the recipe - maybe too much work. 

This is the recipe I followed. Except, I wasn't that interested in leaving the house...so I did have to make some substitutions and just use whatever it was that I had in the pantry. (Sorry J. Kenzi López-Alt!) As a result, my cookies, while some of the best I've ever made, were cakier and less gooey than I would have preferred. There's always next time!

WHY IT WORKS:
Brown butter and an overnight rest are the secret to perfect chocolate chip cookies.
— Serious Eats

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (I only had salted)
  • 1 standard ice cube 
  • 2 c all purpose flour (I only had self-rising flour)
  • 3/4 tsp baking sode (I skipped this due to self-rising flour)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt or 1 tsp table salt
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c + 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped into 1/2 to 1/4-inch chunks (I used pre-packaged chocolate chunks)
  • Sea salt for garnish

Directions

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Swirling pan constantly for about 5 minutes - until particles turn golden brown and butter smells nutty. Remove from heat and continue swirling for about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a medium bowl, whisk in ice cube, and allow to cool completely in refrigerator for about 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda (I did not add baking soda because my flour already included baking powder), and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until mixture is thick and a pale brownish-yellow, about 5 minutes. 

When brown butter has started to turn opaque again and firm around the edges, add to the egg mixture. Add brown sugar to egg mixture. Beat on medium speed about 15 seconds. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just barely combined, about 15 seconds.

Add chocolate and mix on low speed about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate dough at least overnight and up to 3 days. 

Bake 6-8 cookies per sheet (each cookie about 3 tbsp of dough) at 325 degrees for 13 minutes. I baked a few cookies immediately because, really, who can wait for this kind of thing! And made a few the next day and a few the following day. The cookies that came out immediately were delicious. But, resting the dough did make a difference - the cookies on day 2 and 3 were even richer.