There are countless recipes for chocolate chip cookies – everyone seems to have their favorite, and of course there is the great debate over chewy or crispy. I have always loved chocolate chip cookies, and truth be told, I have never EVER met anyone who did not like them. They come in all shapes and sizes and textures as well. I remember driving around in the summer as a child and eating Famous Amos cookies from the brown bags they came in. There was something delectable about that crunch from such a small cookie. The very first time I had a Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookie was in La Jolla, CA and I was about 14 years old – friends of my parents let me have one, and to this day it stands out as being one of the best cookies I have ever had (or maybe it just tasted better because I had a major crush on their son…) To this day I have never had a Mrs. Fields that tastes as good as the ones I had back in La Jolla.
I have made many versions of this American classic, and the ones that remain chewy are preferable. In recent weeks I have turned back to baking as the weather in our new home, Abu Dhabi, has started to cool enough for me to even want to contenplate turning the oven on. I found a recipe in Cooks Illustrated for chewy chocolate chip cookies, and provided me with a full-on reason as to WHY they reminded chewy (the melted butter and extra egg yolk). I could not resist. Of course like almost every other recipe, I put in my edits. For example, I used three different kinds of chocolate from chocolate bars (which I chopped up) instead of chips. I like the uneven melting and the subtle flavor differences. I am also very heavy handed with the vanilla, and tend to cut back a bit on the sugar. I also doubled the recipe, which turned the whole thing into a bit of a math project due to the metric conversions over here. However, they are amazing, and it is hard to not eat the all of the dough from the bowl.
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
24 tbsp salted butter melted and cooled
2 cup packed brown sugar (light)
2 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
3 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups chopped chocolate (for best flavor, mix up the variety with milk, semi-sweet, and dark)
Preheat oven to 325 F and line baking sheets (2) with parchment paper or cooking spray. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, and set aside. Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl and then beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients until all incorporated. Finally, add in the chips. Use either a measuring cup or a cookie scoop and measure out about 1/4 cup for each cookie and shape into a ball. Pull the ball apart with your hands, and rotate the hands 90 degrees so the jagged ends are facing up – then press together. Place the dough on the cookie sheet jaggedside up about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 11-13 minutes until about golden brown.
Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. Makes about 16 large cookies.