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chocolate chip cookie–take 2

January 12, 2010

This Christmas I received the 2009 Cook’s Illustrated cookbook.  Cook’s Illustrated is always a magazine that I forget that I love until I read it.   I always learn so much just reading a couple of pages of any given magazine and the test kitchen does all the hard work.  Love it.

So, when their test kitchen took on the Jacque Torres/New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe, I was intrigued.  I figured this was a fool’s errand. This was, after all, the holy grail of cookies. And then I read the line about him testing 43 batches of cookies before getting to this recipe.  FORTY-THREE!

I also noticed that they had reviewed chocolate chips in parallel to creating this recipe and declared the Ghiradelli 60% cocoa chip king.  Having just brought back 2 bags of this very chocolate chip from our brief holiday stay in the States, I realized that the fates had spoken.  This recipe needed to be made.

The recipe called for a few things that made it stand out.

  • Brown butter.  Haven’t really seen any chocolate chip cookie recipes with this, but I belong to the “brown butter makes everything better” club (I’m even head of the Swiss chapter), so I got over that quickly.
  • Allowing the sugar to dissolve in the butter over 10 minutes.  3 rounds of stirring to get it all mixed in?  Sure, that sounds like it makes sense.
  • Higher brown sugar:white sugar ratio.  Leaves a deeper toffee flavor that leaves me asking “Jacques who?”
  • No waiting 36 hours.  I hate waiting and admit it, so do you.

I won’t declare it the perfect cookie, the holy grail or the cookie that will end global warming.  But I sure was glad they didn’t stop at batch 42, this recipe was the keeper.

“Take-Jacques-Torres-Out-Back” Chocolate Chip Cookie
Cook’s Illustrated 2009 Cookbook (May and June 2009 issue)


  • 1 3/4 cps unbleached ap flour (8 1/4 ounces or 250 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 14 tbsps unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks or 200 grams)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces or 150 grams)
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cps good quality chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cp chopped pecans (optional)


  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle and pre-heat oven to 375F degrees (191C)
  2. Whisk flour and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside
  3. Heat 10 tbsps (140 grams) butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted.  Continue cooking, swirling constantly until butter is dark brown and has nutty aroma. 
  4. Remove butter from heat and place in a heat proof bowl.
  5. Add remaining butter (60 grams or 4 tbsps).
  6. Once butter has melted completely, add sugars, sat and vanilla to bowl.  I made good use of my new Rancho Gordo vanilla extract.  It’s borderline unhealthy how much I love their products.  I’m guessing it’s the packaging.  What’s not to love about this?
  7. Stir everything together.  You’ll notice it’s rather grainy and the butter wants little to do with its new friends.
  8. That’s okay, now add the egg and egg yolk.  It will help them all get along.  Stir together to ensure there aren’t any sugar lumps.
  9. Allow mixture to sit for 3 minutes.  Come back, stir again.  Starting to get along now, right?
  10. Allow to sit again for another 3 minutes.  Come back, stir again.  You should now have a lovely, relatively smooth mixture.
  11. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture.
  12. Add chocolate chips.  Yup, those are measuring cups.   Merry Christmas to me, from me.
  13. KC note:  I wish I had lightly coated the chocolate chips with flour as I noticed they seemed to be having a hard time incorporating into the dough.  They finally gave in, but you’ll notice quite a few rogue guys on the outside.
  14. Divide dough into 16 portions (3tbsps each).  I found these to be rather big cookies, but they baked beautifully (perfectly crunchy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside)
  15. Bake one tray at a time for 10-14 minutes.  My first tray baked for only 10 minutes and it was almost too long.  The next batch was 9 minutes and came out perfectly.  Lesson learned?  Set your timer for 8 minutes just to check in.
  16. Enjoy, but make sure you have leftovers.  They only get better the next day!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Adelina permalink
    January 13, 2010 2:35 am

    I’m thankful you’re trying out this recipe! Thanks for the post and trust me, I’ll have to try it out, myself, after reading your post!!!

    • January 13, 2010 8:18 am

      Adelina-You are very much welcome. Trust me, when I say the pleasure was all mine! 🙂 Keep me posted on how your cookies turn out. Hopefully you enjoy the recipe as much as I did.

      • adelina permalink
        July 31, 2010 9:08 pm

        mine turned out ok….they were a bit “dry”? i have to do it again!

  2. January 13, 2010 8:55 pm

    Thanks for the comment on my blog and the tip about this CI recipe. This is such an interesting recipe. I’m glad the people at CI do this kind of thing so I don’t have to! I’ve been browsing your site and love it. Your ‘about’ page cracked me up. You are too funny talking about your fires, and burnt toast. I kid you not when I say I have done the SAME things: grease fire making french fries, toaster oven on fire while making toast. Seems like we have some things in common…I’ll be stopping by your site more often!

    • January 13, 2010 9:23 pm

      That’s why I love CI too. They not only do all the work, but then tell me about all the work that they do so I can sound smarter to others. Ah, the selflessness.

      Glad to hear that I’m not alone in setting unnecessary fires. With that said though, I think I’ve graduated from setting fire to things to just recklessly handling knives and hot pots. I guess it’s just the natural progression.

      Let me know how the cookie recipe goes should you try it out!


  3. Ashley permalink
    January 14, 2010 6:12 am

    I recently bought the America’s test kitchen cookbook that has every recipe ever shown on their show, (pretty useful), and was tempted by this brown-butter cookie. I just finished making them- thanks for reminding me I had this recipe lurking around! I do think I like them better than the NYT’s- they have a very nice crunch on the outside. I also have a very similar set of measuring cups, except mine are painted, and fatter, much like me after these cookies 🙂

    • January 14, 2010 7:44 am

      I’m glad you tried it out!

      I wouldn’t have been all that motivated to try another recipe if my sister hadn’t called to tell me that she tried the NYT recipe and it completely failed her. When I saw this one, it looked pretty fool proof (not that my sister is a fool 🙂 ) and worthy of a shot. Life you, I’m very glad that I did.

      Did your measuring cups come from Anthropologie? I saw a set like the one you’re describing there over the holidays.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. January 15, 2010 10:47 am

    I don’t know if there is much in life that I love more than freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Classic. They are my childhood – and my adulthood now ! Wow for the 43 batches of cookies by Cook’s Illustrated (I’ve probably made 43,000 in my lifetime), thank you test kitchen. I am ALL over this recipe, can not wait to try. Your photos and tips above are excellent and totally helpful.

    And rock on with that vanilla extract, love the label ! Don’t know Rancho Gordo products, but sure seems as if I’m missing out… (PS, I brought back bags of Tollhouse chips when I was last in the States too !) 🙂

  5. January 15, 2010 12:16 pm

    Kerrin-Let me know how it turns out. I love these and they were way easier than the NYT recipe.

    Next time you are in the States, definitely try to get some stuff from Rancho Gordo. They’re known for their dried beans more than anything and while their vanilla is quite good, it’s the beans that are truly amazing and well worth ordering ahead so they’re awaiting you. I brought home 4 bags and gifted 2 for Christmas!

  6. January 25, 2010 4:05 pm

    Yummm…chocolate chip cookies…

    I’ve made both recipes and not sure which one I like better. I do like the nutty taste of the brown butter from the CI recipe, along with the higher amount of brown sugar, but I like the texture and consistency of the NY Times version.

    I have been trying to combine the two, without much luck so far. Measuring the butter by weight I realized that I needed to start out with more butter if I was browning it, as I lost about 2oz (56 grams) of butter in the browning process. By the time I increased the butter so the combined cookies wouldn’t come out too dry, they were greasy. So for right now, it’s one recipe or the other; both are very good.

    • January 25, 2010 8:33 pm

      Interesting. I wonder if you would achieve a different texture to the cookies by simply taking the dough rendered by the CI recipe and using the NYT chilling method? Definitely keep me posted if you come up with the perfect CI/NYT lovechild.

  7. January 29, 2010 5:39 am

    Thanks for sharing this recipe and the info. Browned butter DOES make everything better. I’m so excited about it in my favorite cookie that I’m already planning a trip to the store, and some baking tomorrow. 🙂

  8. Valeria permalink
    March 9, 2010 7:19 pm

    Hi, just got back from school and baked a batch of these cookies. Right now they’re in the oven, but the dough is so delicious! Thanks for posting

  9. March 11, 2010 1:58 pm

    Thanks Very much for posting this! i have been searching for my favourite choc chip cookie recipe and after 13 different recipes, this is finally the one 🙂

    Thanks again!

  10. November 2, 2010 10:54 am

    Amazing! In Italy we have very similar bisciuts, we call them “Ciocchini” 🙂

    • November 7, 2010 2:43 pm

      I love ciocchini! I lived in Italy for a year in college and my husband and I made as many trips to Italy as possible when living in Switzerland. Make sure to have a a few ciocchini for us!


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