It’s Scientific: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World

Good? Definitely. The best? I'm not so sure...

Good? Definitely. The best? I’m not so sure…

A week or so ago I read an article in the NY Times about a scientifically proven method for making the most delicious chocolate chip cookie.

I was intrigued.

The article actually links to another article by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt on Serious Eats about how he sought to make the best possible cookie using every combination of method and ingredients. If you love cookies and cooking, you’ll love that article.

In the end, the article boils down to this recipe. I tried it out on Saturday to see if they were indeed the best chocolate chip cookies.

Short answer: They’re not, but that’s my fault, not the recipes. Also, my impression of chocolate chip cookies has been spoiled by my sister, who is an excellent backer.

Long answer: Making the cookies took about two hours, as it’s a pretty meticulous process that involves a few things out of the ordinary:

  1. Brown butter. The recipe calls for something called “browning the butter,” which is not the same as adding brown sugar to butter. It just means that you stir butter on the stove until it develops a brown color and a nutty smell, then you cool it for a while before adding it to the batter. I’m not really sure what it adds, but it must be good? Maybe?
  2. Chocolate chunks. When I make cookies from scratch (which is rare–I usually use the premade mix), I use semi-sweet chocolate chips. However, the recipe called for two large semi-sweet chocolate bars to be broken up and mixed into the batter. This, I think, was the greatest revelation to me, as these big, uneven chunks of chocolate elevated the cookies to a whole new level.
  3. Mix of white and dark brown sugar. Because apparently not all sugars are the same.
  4. Cook at 325 degrees. This seemed odd to me, as cookies are normally baked at 350 or 375.

There were a few things I didn’t do. One, I didn’t have the patience to fully brown the butter–it was brownish. Two, I mixed the cookies by hand, not with a mixer. I don’t bake often enough to justify a KitchenAid mixer. Three, I didn’t refrigerate the dough overnight…who has that kind of patience?!

My final conclusion is that I’m glad I made these cookies so I could understand where cookies come from, but from now on I’ll just buy the premade mix. 2 hours of my time versus 12 minutes and a mouthful of raw cookie dough, with a marginal difference between the two? Yeah, I’ll go with the latter.

What’s the secret to your best chocolate chip cookie?