Today is Lane’s fortieth birthday, and tonight we have a special dinner and cake planned with the kids (where they will give their dad the birthday gifts they carefully shopped for). I can’t post his birthday cake just yet because it’s a surprise and like a good boyfriend, Lane is a dedicated reader of this site. We were out most of the weekend between celebrating and Lane getting one last day of skiing in for the season while I shopped like a mad woman for supplies for next weekend’s birthday party. I have to take a minute and ask why the party supply industry is so adamant that a person wants to celebrate a fortieth birthday by being told they are old and “over the hill,” and acting like the end is in sight. Forty isn’t even close to old, and I swear Lane is aging in reverse, so wherever this hill is, he’s far from over it. I don’t post pictures here of Lane (or the kids) but I promise you, other than a touch of grey at the sideburns, he looks exactly like he does in photos from college. I almost went with a Star Wars theme just to spite the mounds of “Over the Hill” paper plates I saw. That’s the end of my rant, but I do feel like with all of the celebrating and shopping, I haven’t seen my kitchen all weekend.
I did get a chance to make an old favorite treat while it snowed on Thursday which worked out well because when it really snowed on Friday, at least we had cookies. Early on in the days of this site, I shared “The Chewy,” Alton Brown’s take on the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe but the post just doesn’t do these cookies justice. Changing up the Nestle recipe (my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe for pretty much my whole life) a little, this recipe always yields a soft and chewy perfect chocolate chip cookie. I have tried other recipes and methods, but when I want the perfect cookie, this is how I get there. Melting the butter means not having to wait for butter to soften before proceeding. If you’re like me and don’t decide to bake cookies until you’re craving a cookie this is great because it means you have cookies much sooner. Even when you factor in chilling the dough for one hour before baking, that’s faster than waiting for butter to soften in this house. Bread flour is key to this, the higher protein content is largely what makes these cookies chewy. Many people try to achieve soft, chewy cookies by pulling them out of the oven too soon. This presents the risk of cookies that are raw in the middle (and there can be a huge problem when you’re dealing with undercooked egg as a result) and I like to avoid that concern by fully baking my cookies. The Chewy is fully baked and it remains soft and chewy. Stored in an air tight container or resealable plastic bag, these stay soft for at least a week. I would know, because forcing myself to leave cookies around for a week in order to check that theory is torture. They might last longer than a week, but I couldn’t hold out that long. I used a food scale to weigh the ingredients where weights are given below, and it really does make a difference. A cup of flour can vary widely in weight depending on a number of factors. I’ve given approximate volume amounts as well, but I really do recommend weighing the ingredients to get a more consistent result.
“The Chewy” Chocolate Chip Cookie
- 8 oz. (1 C. or 2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 12 oz. (2 1/4 C.) bread flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 oz. (1/4 C.) white sugar
8 oz. (1 1/4 C.) brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. (2 C.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over low heat and set aside to cool slightly while completing the next few steps.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together onto a paper plate (to make it easier to add to the mixer bowl) or a medium bowl.
Pour the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl if you’re mixing by hand).
Add the white and brown sugars and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla in a measuring cup.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the egg mixture.
Mix for 30 seconds, until completely combined.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Once all of the flour has been mixed in, turn the mixer down to “stir,” and add the chocolate chips (or stir them in by hand).
Mix until the chocolate chips are evenly mixed in (about 30 seconds), then cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven racks in the top third and bottom third of the oven.
Scoop the dough into 1 1/2 oz. portions (I used my cookie dough scoop to do this) and place them onto parchment paper lined baking sheets, 6 cookies to a sheet.
Bake 2 sheets (12 cookies) at a time, rotating the pans halfway through baking, for 15 minutes total, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and baked through.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and carefully slide the parchment paper with the cookies on it onto a wire cooling rack.
Let the cookies cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.
Makes 24-36 cookies (depending on how you measure the dough for each cookie).
Source: Alton Brown, Good Eats: The Early Years