Friday, April 12, 2013

Brown Butter Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Alternate titles... 

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER. Seriously... Put These In Your Life.

How to Bake Perfect {Bakery-Style} Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I Solemnly Swear There Is No Brown Butter In These Cookies. Except There Is.

These Are Totally Just An Excuse to Put Booze in My Cookies.

All the above/this is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe that you'll ever need. Ever

Every chocolate chip cookie I've made has been leading up to to this moment of perfection: the brown butter from every recipe ever my one true love and ex-current go-to chocolate chip cookie dough, the splash of bourbon from these boozy pretzel-bottom blonde brownies, and the absolute must-add of cinnamon from my lazy-day chocolate chip cookies. Lazy day cookies are real. Because there's days when you want to brown butter... and there's days when you just want a cookie like five minutes ago.

Bakery-style: your cookie. I can't think of any other way to describe it. They're the irresistible cookies you find and fall in love with at the corner bakery. Maybe you like your cookies cakey or stuffed with Oreos or thin and crispy. That's okay. Be you.

Everyone has their own idea of what makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie... and this is mine. Perfectly-scooped-shaped, over-sized, thick and chewy, buttery-soft with just-crispy edges, and bursting with chocolate. Everything you could ever want from a chocolate chip cookie... and from life.

(Also: baking with an ice cream scoop is just a bonus.)

There's  bakery-style cookies... and there's these cookies: cookies that immediately inspire you to open a bakery just so you can live life right and share these thick, fudgy, buttery, chewy, sugary-rich, chocolate chip dreams with the world.

Here's how these happened/I need a bigger baking mat.

Perfectly-scooped-shaped & over-sized: In my crazy baker's brain, I always want my cookies to look like perfect scoops of ice cream... which is why I always, always use a cookie scoop when I'm baking instead of hand-rolling my dough.

But for these, I wanted a for real, in-your-face, xxl cookie. Remember those brown butter oatmeal M&M cookies? Seriously with the brown butter! Well, I took a tip from baking those... and scooped these using an ice cream scoop.

Now that's a cookie.

Thick and chewy: It's all about the flour and sugar. Cake flour gives these cookies their thickness and baking with more brown sugar than white sugar makes them chewy for days, with just the right balance of perfectly crisp edge and super soft centers. For these, I even used part dark brown sugar and part golden brown sugar. I love baking with dark brown sugar... it gives these cookies a deep, rich flavor that pairs perfectly with the brown butter, cinnamon, and bourbon.

If you look close enough... you can see the flecks of golden brown butter. I will never not be obsessed.

Buttery-soft & crispy edges: Brown butter + chilling the dough.

Fact: I had absolutely no intention of chilling this dough. But real life happened and 48+ hours later I finally had a minute. Can a girl just get a minute to bake some cookies? I mean really.

I didn't know this. I should've... but I'm impatient, especially if chocolate chip dreams are involved. Chilling the dough gives cookies perfect crispy edges and a soft, chewy middle. So. You know. Do that.

On the P.S. Another secret? Take the cookies out of the oven when they just begin to turn golden brown around the edges. They'll look doughy and underbaked... but trust, some kind of baking magic will transform them into the perfect cookie. Don't wait until they look "done."

11 minutes was my jam with these cookies.

Bursting with chocolate: I've heard of chocolate feves before... flat, round chocolate discs that are nearly impossible to find. These baking melts just might be the next best thing.

I used Hershey's semi-sweet baking melts (although those milk chocolate melts would work just fine too). And oh my goodness. Biting into these cookies was like slicing into this zebra bundt cake: just strata of chocolate! The discs melt into layers, giving every bite more chocolate and cookie.

And sometimes... there's just molten chocolate centers.

(Oh and then because I could, I threw in a handful of fat chocolate chips. Because I mean, we're already baking with bourbon. So really there's no limits here.)

P.S. Bourbon. I wrote about baking with bourbon here. It's a situation you're going to want to find yourself in. Basically, the alcohol bakes away, leaving these cookies with a slight, dark caramel-vanilla flavor.

Bourbon. Because live life. 

Also: sometimes perfect cookie stacks fall over. That's real. Just go with it.

Brown Butter Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Printable Recipe

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cup (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I used 1 cup light brown sugar + 1/2 cup dark brown sugar)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 egg, at room temperature
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used a 9.5 ounce bag of Hershey's semi-sweet baking melts + .5 ounces regular semi-sweet chocolate chips)

First, brown the butter by melting it in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. The butter will begin to bubble and foam and then quickly after, turn a golden brown with amber specks in the butter  (for more information on browning butter click here). Immediately remove from heat and pour browned butter into a small bowl and place in the refrigerator until cool to the touch.

In a large bowl whisk together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. 

When butter is cooled, cream together with the brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy. Mix in the vanilla extract, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, mix in the bourbon. Because do it.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. Don't skip this step! Because we're browning the butter (turning it into a liquid) instead of creaming it, it's necessary to chill the dough to prevent the cookies from spreading and baking up flat, thin, and crispy. Chilling is mandatory if you want thick, chewy chocolate chip cookies. (I actually chilled this dough for 3 days because real life was happening. They baked up perfectly.) 

When the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking sheet. Scoop dough into 1 1/2 tablespoon (golfball-sized) balls (I used an ice cream scoop). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Makes about 24 large cookies.

Source: Adapted from The Cozy Little Kitchen