Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies?

ivoryhut perfect chocolate chip cookies

Two days ago, Christopher Kimball (@cpkimball), founder of America’s Test Kitchen, tweeted this:

The “Best” Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe? You try it and let me know!

So I did.

Having a son perennially hungry for cookies, it’s never a question of what kind of cookies to make—it’s more like, how fast can I bake them? An entire batch can go in a matter of two or three days, and since chocolate chip cookies are his favorite kind, I couldn’t resist the call. Especially not when the call came from Christopher Kimball, who is just about the only male television personality I look forward to watching more than Hugh Laurie of House, M.D. Come to think of it, I haven’t watched House, M.D. in a while, but continue to watch America’s Test Kitchen every chance I get. So I guess Mr. Kimball’s pulling ahead in the polls.

Uh-huh. We can have polls in our house. It could happen.

I read the recipe and immediately wanted to try it out. Two things intrigued me the most: the use of browned butter, and the whisk-rest-whisk-rest way of mixing the wet ingredients before combining with the dry. Here was something that was fundamentally different, instead of simply modifying ingredient amounts. It satisfied the geek and the chocoholic in me.

ivoryhut perfect chocolate chip cookies

The recipe calls for browning the butter in a stainless steel skillet, which makes it easier to judge just how brown the butter is.

Note that the original recipe calls for butter that’s a deep golden brown, darker than my photo above. I was being a wimp and was scared I might burn the butter, so I pulled it out early. What I’m saying is, don’t worry if your butter looks much darker! That’s actually how it’s supposed to be.

Then you add the sugars and the eggs, repeatedly whisking and then letting the mixture rest a while before whisking it again. Look Ma, no mixer! Plus, I get to use the resting periods to clean up after myself and feel super efficient and productive and all.

It doesn’t take much, I know.

ivoryhut perfect chocolate chip cookies

These puppies were BIG. I usually make smaller cookies and can fit about 12 to 15 in one of my sheets. For this, I only had room for about 8 cookies.

Another thing I loved about this recipe is that you just let them set on the baking sheet, which you leave on a wiring rack. No need to transfer the cookies out. Which is great for me, since I tend to forget about them and leave them on the sheets too long.

So, moment of truth. These cookies?

ivoryhut perfect chocolate chip cookies

They were some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had. The edges were slightly crisp, the center moist, chewy and oh-so-chocolaty. I knew these would be discernibly different as soon as I mixed the sugars with the browned butter. The resulting sugary sludge smelled so nutty, and after mixing in the eggs, the thick goo had a lovely caramel taste and aroma. I think it produced a unique depth of flavor, and I’m trying to hold myself back from taking a break right now and grabbing another one.

Ah, Mr. Kimball. You’re so good, and yet so bad for me. Thank you. I think.


Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen)

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 sticks butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk and set aside.

Melt 1 1/4 sticks butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Keep swirling until butter has a dark golden brown color and a nutty aroma, about 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl and mix in the remaining butter until melted.

Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla to the butter and mix well. Add the egg and the extra yolk; whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Let it rest for 3 minutes, then whisk again for about 30 seconds, before letting it rest again. You’ll want to whisk this about 4 times, until you have a thick, glossy, and smooth mixture.

Gently stir in the flour and baking soda just until combined. Stir in the chocolate and nuts.

Form dough balls about 3 tablespoons in size, and place them on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes (mine took 10 minutes), then put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let the cookies cool on the sheets.

ivoryhut perfect chocolate chip cookies

So, was this indeed the “best” chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve tried? Pretty much. And if not, then they’re awfully, awfully close. But I’d say most likely yes. Although … hmmm …

I think another taste-test is in order, just to be sure. You know me. I’m all about responsible reporting.


45 thoughts on “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies?”

  1. Now THESE I will have to try! My mouth is watering just looking at them, along with the sudden realization that I will probably be a little chubby all of my life because I don’t ever want to give up chocolate chip cookies.

  2. There’s just something about chocolate chip cookies… as much as I like to try all sorts of unique recipes, anytime I see a chocolate chip cookies (especially with such an amazing review, and your beautiful pictures!), it’s the only thing I want to make… for ever, and ever. I can’t wait to try these!

    PS – THANK YOU for the picture of your browned butter. I’ve tried browning butter before and was never sure that it was brown enough so your picture was extremely helpful!

    1. Kara, if you follow this link to the recipe on America’s Test Kitchen, you can see an accompanying video. Their browned butter is actually much browner than mine in the photo. I was being a scaredy cat and didn’t want to end up burning the butter.

  3. I’m afraid of browning my butter too much. I’m also not that crazy about the nutty flavor. Nevertheless, your cookies look absolutely AMAZING!! I love how they look on the cookie tray. Wow. Your photos are stunning.

  4. I can vouch for how good these are. They are the best I’ve eaten. I even like the fact that they call for less chocolate chips than most recipes so that you get to taste that chewy, deep browned butter, butterscotchy, cookie, too. It’s like a double treat. I love them!

  5. Ok, I think I know what I’ll be doing this weekend! …besides hosting a sleepover birthday party for my 15 year old daughter and her friends. Somebody help me!

  6. I wonder how they would be with a little instant coffee mixed in like PW suggests on Tasty Kitchen today?? HHMMMM

  7. thank you Thank You THANK YOU for posting this recipe! I saw it and I made it last night and these cookies are AMAZING. Hands down the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. I love how they keep their shape/size and don’t just melt down like regular Tollhouse. I’ve been using the regular Test Kitchen recipe from their cookbook, but this one blows even that one out of the water.

    I did take your advice and let the butter get browner than you have it. Well worth it. The nutty toffee flavor had me at hello.

  8. I haven’t told you …yet but I have you to thank for a lot! My glorious beach photos and silhouettes… metered to perfection, and my food macros….also with my spot meter. Last year you posted something on PW about sunsets….and I’ve been working on my photos. Thank you

  9. Every baking recipe I have tried from America’s Test Kitchen has far exceeded my expectations. It sounds as though these cookies would be no exception. Thanks for passing on the recipe!

  10. Chocolate Chip Cookies are my absolute favorite – these look so delicious. And now, since you say they are perfect….I HAVE to try them :)

  11. I’ve wondered about the recipe, and now I know I have to try it too! I LOVE browned butter in things and am happy to hear that the nuttiness comes through in the flavor of the cookies.

  12. I am making these this weekend for a family cookie baking day. My brother-in-law swears by these. I am really anxious to try them. Browned butter makes everything wonderful!!!!

  13. Do you think it would work & have the same great texture to make smaller cookies. We like to eat smaller ones in greater numbers ;) If so, how would you adjust the cooking time?
    Thanks for any help.

    1. I’ve been making them smaller, and they’re just as good. I bake them closer to 9–10 minutes, but start checking after around 8 minutes or so. The browned butter gives it such a wonderful hint of caramel flavor. Let me know how you like them!

      1. Thanks. I told my husband about them & he is anxious to try them. I’m waiting ’til after my WW weigh-in this week!

    2. Finally made these – Oh. My. Word! They are everything you lead me to believe they would be! My husband was thrilled.
      I was not timid in browning the butter & it paid off. They are full of what we call in my husband’s family “nutty brown goodness”
      Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I love Christopher Kimball too.

  14. I made this recipe tonight..and they were amazing!! I used white chocolate chips and dried cranberries instead of the regular chips and walnuts! SOOO good!!! I can’t wait to try them with regular chocolate too!! Thanks for sharing!

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