Ever since I was a kid my go to recipe for chocolate chip cookies was the back of a Nestle Toll House Morsels bag. The recipe is simple and with ingredients most families have on hand. It is what made the Toll House recipe so famous since its debut back in 1939. Yes it has been around that long. But with this type of age there is sure to be followers set out to replace its fame with their own.
Sure I still love the moist cake-like texture and buttery aftertaste of the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie but my adult taste buds sought for more. But is there really more out there for my taste buds to find??? And if there is how hard would it be to obtain??? These questions were all answered with this perfect recipe. This is surely my new favorite… at least for the time being. I kind of get around a lot when it comes to cookies. I’m sure at some point we will divorce like I did with Mr. Toll House but for now we are in it for the long haul. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings though because I have only stayed with two cookies my entire life, those being my mom’s recipe for Sugar Cookies that are made at Christmas and my kiddie bake sale favorite… the Peanut Blossom.
You may wonder what made this recipe capture my heart for the time being. Truth is, at first even I was highly skeptical. But it turns out the little extra effort goes a long way with chocolate chip cookies. Jacques Torres once stated that the best chocolate chip cookie is based on a dough that was allowed to rest for 24 hours. I honestly can’t wait that long. I can barely wait for them to be cool enough to touch let alone 24 hours before even being baked. This doesn’t mean I couldn’t apply the same principle but on a bit smaller time scale. By toning down Torres’ wait time but still implementing his theory a bit I was able to manifest a chocolate chip cookie that had a moist and chewy inside and crispy, golden edges.
Now I forgot to mention there was always a beef I had with the Toll House recipe and as a result I always left out this ingredient as a kid because I thought it took away from the star of the show, the chocolate. This ingredient was the nuts. As an adult I can appreciate the complexity nuts bring to the cookie but I still don’t like them in my chocolate chip cookie because lets face it, nuts are not discreet and when you expect to bite into a gooey bit of warm chocolate and are abruptly hit with a crunch it just throws off my moment of chocolate ecstasy. So I tried to think of a way to bring the flavor of the nuts into the cookie without the big hunks of crunch that will distract me. That is when I stumbled on my lone vial of Vanilla-Nut extract I used all but once and was left forgotten in the back of the pantry. This was clearly the answer to my lifelong dilemma.
If that wasn’t enough perfection I made sure to brown the butter rather than just cream it like Toll House. This resulted in not only added chewiness but also a rich toffee flavor that balanced the overall sweetness. With the oven set higher than normal and only one tray in at a time, the cookies cooked more evenly and had golden crispy edges with tender centers that even my inner kid couldn’t deny.
Note: If possible, do not use a non-stick skillet to brown the butter as it makes it very hard to judge when the butter is actually browned and you can easily burn it if not careful. Also be sure not to use old, hardened brown sugar because it will have a very negative effect on the texture of the cookies, essentially making them extremely dry. I prefer Ghiradelli chocolate chips but any brand will work. If you do not have dark brown sugar on hand you can substitute light brown sugar but keep in mind the toffee flavor will not be as pronounced.
Better Than Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 8.75 ounces (1 ¾ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- 14 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, divided
- 3.5 ounces (½ cup) Granulated Sugar
- 5.25 ounces (¾ cup) Dark Brown Sugar; packed (if using measuring cup)
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 2 tsp. Vanilla-Nut Extract
- 1 Egg
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1 ¼ cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips
- Heat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk flour and baking soda together in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat 10 tbsp. of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Continue to cook, swirling the pan constantly or using a rubber spatula to stir until the butter is dark golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma, about 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the browned butter with a rubber spatula to a large heatproof bowl. Add in the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter and allow to melt completely.
- Add the granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, salt, and vanilla-nut extract to the bowl of butter and whisk until incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until smooth and no sugar lumps remain. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes and then whisk again for about 30 seconds. Repeat this process 2 more times until the mixture becomes thick, smooth, and glossy. Stir in the flour mixture until combined. Add in the chocolate chips and stir to evenly distribute chocolate and ensure no pockets of flour remain.
- Use a cookie scoop or divide the dough into 16 portions of approximately 3 tbsp. each. Arrange each ball of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until the cookies become golden brown and puffy. Edges should be golden and set but the centers remain soft, approximately 10 to 14 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pan halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookies. Yields approximately 16 cookies.
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