“What’s your favorite cookie?” is a question that will always get a mixed response. It seems as though there are a lot of die-hard peanut butter cookie lovers, a fair share of oatmeal-raisin fanatics, and a handful of sugar cookie devotees. Then there are those with the more unusual responses such as snickerdoodles, molasses crinkles, white chocolate-macadamia, and shortbread. And of course there is the chocolate chip cookie crowd, which may be the largest of them all.
Personally, chocolate chip cookies are several spaces down on my list of favorites, but I have lots of friends and family members who love nothing more than a “really good chocolate chip cookie.” That may mean thin and crunchy, thick and chewy, soft and cakey, or crisp-around-the-edges-chewy-in-the-middle depending on the person. Believe me, some people are pretttty darn specific when it comes to their cookies.
After my last class on Friday, as I stared out the window at sheets of rain, I deemed it the perfect afternoon to bake cookies. Knowing that many of my friends love good ole’ chocolate chip cookies, I set out to make just those. But then…stuff happened. It’s becoming clear to me that I am basically incapable of baking “good ole’ chocolate chip cookies” with no bells and whistles. I certainly have nothing against regular (delicious!) chocolate chip cookies, but because this is a baking blog and because I like to experiment, I had to add in my own little touches. And so commenced these “Extra-Special” Chocolate Chip Cookies.”
First of all, I found a recipe that used browned butter as the base. My obsession with browned butter is becoming somewhat comical–I honestly can’t remember the last time I made a recipe with regular butter. It’s just so easy to make browned butter, and the flavor is so phenomenal! Since browned butter+cinnamon=amazing, I spiced things up even further with a pinch of cinnamon. (<–Pun alert! Spice…cinnamon…ha.ha.ha?) And finally, instead of using normal chocolate chips like semisweet or milk chocolate, I pulled out the big guns, aka Milk Chocolate Morsels with Caramel Filling. Browned butter and cinnamon is fantastic enough, but adding caramel to the mix? Gah.
I was also quite impressed with the recipe I used for the base of these cookies. The extra egg yolk, extra vanilla, high brown sugar:white sugar ratio, and precise amount of flour made for super-thick, super-chewy cookies. I chose to make them a bit larger than your average cookie (think in between bakery-sized and mom-made sized) which was a good life decision. They ended up with that great crisp-around-the-edges-chewy-in-the-middle texture that seems to please almost everyone. The trick is to take the cookies out of the oven when they’re just barely done, so they can finish cooking on the baking sheets. That way the centers stay nice and soft!
If you’re like me and enjoy adding a little something extra to old-fashioned favorites, try out these Extra Special Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’re kicked up a notch in flavor and were loved by everyone who tried them! Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to bake a good old fashioned batch of chocolate chip cookies, but today is not that day. And honestly…who’s complaining?
“Extra-Special” Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
1.5 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
10 ounces chocolate chips (I used caramel-stuffed milk chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the butter is amber-brown and fragrant (about 5 minutes). Be careful not to cook for too long, or the butter will burn!
Pour the browned butter into a large mixing bowl and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
After the butter has cooled for a few minutes, beat in the sugars until smooth. Add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until well-combined. Gently stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Scoop the dough into 2-tablespoon sized balls. Place on the prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until edges are slightly golden and centers are set. (If making smaller cookies, decrease baking time.) Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack.
(Recipe adapted from Take a Megabite)