I was horrible at chem lab. It was disaster after disaster.
True, baking is a lot like lab: there are lists of ingredients or materials and a set of directions.
But with baking, the result is so much better. Who can deny cookies, brownies, or cake??
This is why I love baking: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies.
This recipe, from Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen, is beyond amazing.
And I mean, beyond.
They look like they were made by professionals and they taste like heaven. After we took a bite from these cookies, the kitchen was just filled with "Mmmm" for a good 5 minutes. My friends and I were speechless!
The people at Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen have my ultimate dream job. Sure, medical school may have eaten my free time and my opportunities for Vitamin D production, but it hasn't taken away my ability to dream!
Cook's Illustrated and ATK are so scientific in their explanations and meticulous in the way they test recipes and products. They speak to the inner nerd who wonders what makes a cookie so chewy (melted butter!) or what's the reasoning behind using a certain type of cocoa for chocolate cake.
It's the perfect combination of my love for food and science.
In the adventurous spirit of Cook's Illustrated (and spurred by the challenge of a contest), Kay and I decided to spend an afternoon away from our books!
We tried using two different types of chocolate chips...
...got lost in a chocolate forest...
...chilled next to some yummy cookie dough...
...worked really hard to make the dough perfectly round...
...took a little break to get some sun...
...and gobbled up freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!
A few notes, don't use a nonstick skillet to melt and brown the butter. The dark color of the pan makes it really difficult to judge when the butter is browned. If you don't have any dark brown sugar, it's ok to use light brown sugar -but be warned, cookies will be less flavorful.
Recipe (from Cook's Illustrated )
1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 tbsp unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 375 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. (I used foil -that's the life of a student)
Whisk flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Melt 10 tbsp butter in skillet over medium-high heat (about 2 minutes) and continue to cook and swirl pan until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma (1-3 minutes).
Remove skillet from heat and transfer to heatproof bowl. Stir in remaining 4 tbsp butter until all melted.
Add sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter. Whisk until fully incorporated.
Add in egg and egg yolk until no lumps remain (about 30 seconds).
Let mixture stand 3 minutes and then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.
Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Use 3 tbsp of dough and roll into ball. Arrange 8 dough balls per baking sheet.
Bake cookies 1 tray at a time for 10-14 minutes until cookies are golden brown and still puffy. The edges will have set, but the centers are still soft.
Rotate baking sheet halfway through baking.
Cool cookies before serving.
For the curious: using more brown sugar, eliminating one egg white, and melting the butter make for a chewier cookie. Browning the butter enhances flavor, whereas whole eggs produce a drier texture. The whisking and waiting technique allows more sugar to dissolve so the cookies have better flavor and texture. And last of all, baking one tray at a time with a mid-bake rotation of the tray allows for a more even baking!
Big thanks to Kay for all her help!
Big thanks to Kay for all her help!