Monday was a mostly lazy day around here. I was lucky enough to have the day off due to the holiday. It was just me and Brianna at home; I sent Gillian to daycare so I didn't have to listen to the two of them arguing. =) Actually, it was just as much because I knew I needed to take Brianna shoe shopping, and you couldn't pay me enough to do that with both of them in tow. (I like to think I've learned my lesson--the hard way--with that one.) I was pleasantly surprised that the shopping went pretty quickly. I was just plain old surprised at how much B's feet had grown--the salesperson said that the new shoes she picked run a bit small, but we still had to buy a size 4 (!) to make sure she had a bit of growing room. Crazy.
Other than the shopping, we were pretty lazy--we sat around and watched cartoons. I napped; Brianna read. I did summon up the energy to bake some cookies, though. This is yet another one of those recipes that I've made a whole bunch but never blogged. Everybody needs a good chocolate chip cookie recipe in their repertoire. For the longest time, mine was the one in my Betty Crocker cookbook, and I do still make that one sometimes. But a couple years ago, Cook's Illustrated published a recipe for what they claimed to be the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Their definition of perfect is cookies that are chewy in the middle but crisp on the edges, with lots of buttery, toffee-like flavor. Sounds pretty good to me! The keys to achieving that flavor are browned butter--melted butter makes for a chewier cookie, and browning it adds flavor--and dark brown sugar. For the texture, besides melting the butter they went with a somewhat unique mixing method to dissolve some of the sugar (helps with the crisp edges) and also removed an egg white for more chewiness. The recipe says it makes 16 cookies. Those must be some huge cookies! I made mine smaller (still about 3" across) and got twice as many. I baked them for 12 minutes. For this batch, I skipped the nuts (which I'd like but my girls wouldn't eat) in favor of a mix of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips.
The verdict? Well, the dough itself is extremely dangerous--to the point where I'm not usually very interested in eating the cookies once they're baked because I've eaten too much dough. =) I'm a sucker for anything with browned butter. The baked cookies are really good, too. I've made quite a few variations over time--the most popular (with people outside my house) was probably the batch I made with pecans and white chocolate chips. This recipe is my pantry focus for this month--I always have the dough ingredients on hand, and the mix-ins can be whatever I have in the pantry that sounds good.
If you'd like to make these for yourself, you can find the recipe here at Cook's Illustrated. My friend Tracey also has it on her blog.