From Sunaina’s Kitchen
This is the beginning of my journey to finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie! It seems appropriate to start with chocolate chip cookies, because they seem to be a basic recipe of American baking. They’re also one of my favorite things and one of the first baked goods I learned how to make.
I get obsessive about baking one thing perfectly once and a while, and the time seems to have come around again. Three years ago, I baked seven genoise cakes over the course of several weeks to figure out how to do it well (it was really hard). We’ll see how many tries it takes this time…
Everyone has a different chocolate chip cookie ideal–soft, chewy, or crispy? Thick or thin? And in which combination? My personal favorite is thin and crispy. Unfortunately, most recipes that I’ve encountered don’t do this. They’re usually not crispy, crispy only on the edge but not in the middle, or too thick. Today, I tried Alton Brown’s “The Thin” chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve never made it before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
Here is a link to the original recipe: https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/alton-brown/the-thin-2013278
Overall, I was pleased with the way they turned out. They were not my perfect chocolate chip cookie, but they were damn good. They were pretty thin, but they were only crispy around the edge and veeery soft on the inside. Even though I wasn’t searching for it, the softness was actually really nice because it was soft without being underbaked.
As Alton Brown explains in the video that accompanies the recipe, the cookies are thin because they are leavened with baking soda as opposed to baking powder. Additionally, from my own personal knowledge, they are soft and crispy but not chewy because the butter is softened. Melted butter would produce a chewy cookie. The creaming method also contributes to the very soft center.
Alton Brown’s “The Thin” Chocolate Chip Cookie
(with a couple of notes and additions from me)
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup milk (any kind besides fat free, but whole is the best)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (can use light or dark)
- 2 cups chocolate chip cookies (I used Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet chips, and this recipe conveniently used up an entire 12 oz. bag)
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature (65-75 degrees F) before you begin! This is especially important for the butter.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir this until fully incorporated. Sifting once does not adequately mix the leaving and salt into the flour. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, and vanilla.
Cream the butter and sugars together using either a stand or hand held mixer: Start beating them together on a lower speed, until the butter and sugars are combined, and then raise the speed. Beat on medium if using stand mixer or high if using hand mixer until light and fluffy. This can take anywhere from 3 to more than 5 minutes. The resulting mixture should not be stiff at all and should almost fall off your beaters or spatula. Slowly beat in the egg mixture, pouring it in only a little at a time.
(This is the creamed butter and sugars with a tiny bit of egg mixture and flour mixture. If you start adding the egg with a tiny bit of flour, it prevents the mixture from breaking, which can mess up the rise. In this sort of cookie, the rise is not that important because it’s supposed to be flat, but I wanted to do the creaming well to make sure everything turned out properly.)
Slowly add the flour mixture. Don’t add too much at once, or the flour will fly all over the place. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets. I used about a tablespoon of dough per cookie. Make sure there is ample room for the cookies to spread. I used small cookie sheets and put 6 on each. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, rotating halfway through. Be sure to keep an eye on them. I actually baked the cookies at 400 degrees in an oven where one of the heating elements is broken, and it took 10 minutes. Alton Brown’s recipe calls for 13-15 minutes, but his cookies have 3 tablespoons of dough each.
Let cookies set on the pan for a minute and then cool on wire racks.
I like to store homemade cookies airtight in the freezer so they keep for longer.