America’s Test Kitchen’s Boston Blogger Cookie Challenge

This front and center cookie was my favorite!

When Miss Yunks read a tweet about America’s Test Kitchen’s Boston Blogger Cookie Challenge, she immediately declared she would enter this contest. America’s Test Kitchen challenged Boston bloggers to follow its Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and photograph and blog about the experience. The winner of the Boston Blogger Cookie Challenge will be invited, with a guest, to a live taping of America’s Test Kitchen and three runners up will win a one year subscription to CooksIllustrated.com.

My go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe is the one on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag. It’s easy to follow, quick to prepare, has a decadent taste of brown sugar and when sightly undercooked it reminds me of my favorite congo bars from camp. It’s my perfect cookie.  At first glance, Cook’s Illustrated’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe looks harder to prepare than Nestle’s, but the detailed list of why they believe their recipe is superior to and a much improved version of Nestle’s intrigued me. For example, Cook’s Illustrated uses melted browned butter instead of the creamed butter in Nestle’s recipe. I like browned butter, and with 14 tablespoons of butter in this recipe, it’s hard to imagine the cookies not being perfectly soft in the middle and rich tasting all over. I also felt my heart ache a little when I read 14 tablespoons of butter. Gross. And the recipe only makes 16 cookies. Big cookies, but still only 16. I wanted to share these cookies and I knew 16 wouldn’t go very far, so I 1.5 times the recipe so I could make 16 big cookies and then some mini cookies.  That means I used a total of 21 tablespoons of butter.  Disgusting. But I’ll try anything once.

I followed the recipe exactly other than multiplying each ingredient by 1.5. View Cook’s Illustrated’s ingredients and recipe here.  Now let’s jump into the process.

Start by melting your butter until it  browns.  Browning butter is a little harder than it seems because during the process, the butter bubbles and it’s hard to see the brown bits at the bottom through the white foamy bubbles.  I find it’s easiest to judge by smell.  When it starts smelling like caramel, your butter is browned.

Pour browned butter into a large mixing bowl.  See how it looks caramel colored?

Melt in your remaining butter. Try not to have  a heart attack.

The next step mixes in sugars and eggs. I used my hand held electric whisk to mix everything together. It really seemed like there was too much butter because it did not combine easily, but the electric whisk helped. I tried to remain patient during the three minute waits between whisking sessions.

The mixture looks like caramel and butterscotch. Cook’s Illustrated claims letting the batter sit allows the sugar to more fully dissolve, resulting in a cookie with a better texture than the Nestle cookie.

Here’s what the liquid looks like after three repeats of 30 second whisking and three minute waiting.

Then add in the flour mixture.

Now it looks like cookie dough. Because I wanted to make some big cookies and some mini cookies, I separated 1/4 of the dough and put it in a smaller bowl. For the mini cookies, I mixed in Nestle’s mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.

For the big cookies, I used Ghiradelli’s milk chocolate chips.

I think a smaller chip would actually work better.  Because these chips are so big, it didn’t take that many to measure out the required amount and there was definitely room for more chips in the cookies.

And then it’s time to bake! I tried to measure out the three tablespoons of dough for the regular cookies, which was harder than it sounds.  My cookies were quite large.

And the texture?

Just as America’s Test Kitchen claimed, the cookies were soft in the middle and crispy at the edges.  I loved the texture, but they were much too buttery for my liking. If I ever make these cookies again, I would definitely cut back on the butter. And I’d add more chocolate chips.

The mini cookies were also soft in the middle and crispy at the edges, there was just less surface area of the soft middle.

I brought out this cake stand passed down from my grandmother for my cookie photo shoot.

I had 47 cookies in the end, so when you take the 21 tablespoons of butter divided by the 47 cookies, it’s not horrible, but it’s still too much. No one needs that much butter. I did have a lot of fun following this new-to-me recipe and then photographing my dozens of cookies, but it’s a lot of effort just for cookies. I think I’ll stick to my Nestle cookies. My cookie eater helpers enjoyed them too. No one commented they were the best cookie ever, though. Some cookies were crispier than others, probably due to their spot in the oven, even though I did rotate the tray half way through baking time.  BF really liked the crispier cookies, so maybe I will make them again.

I wanted to make the mini cookies because I was bringing them to a friend’s house and it’s more fun to eat a few small cookies rather than one big cookie. I also had some frosting packages to sample (more on that later) and thought I’d sandwich some frosting between two mini cookies.

The cookies thought it was a good idea too. I smiled at my chocolate chip sandwich cookies, and this guy smiled right back at me.  But something was missing.There, that’s better. Now Mr. Cookie can see me too. He stuck out his tongue, mocking my cookie decoration.  Don’t worry; he was eaten shortly after.  That’ll show him.

This entry was posted in Blogger Event, Boston, Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

6 Comments

  1. Posted May 9, 2011 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    Your cookies look great!

  2. Posted May 9, 2011 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    I want a sandwich cookie!

  3. Posted May 9, 2011 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    All I could think while reading this is there’s nothing disgusting about butter and no such thing as too much butter! :) I really enjoyed the taste and texture of these cookies. I think I will try minis next time I make the recipe.

  4. Posted May 10, 2011 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

    These look fantastic! I love the swirls that you and so many other bloggers achieved on these cookies. I didn’t do the competition but just might have to make these this weekend!

  5. Posted May 11, 2011 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    Oh my goshhh, these look good!

  6. Posted May 12, 2011 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Yummy! Your cookies look awesome and delicious! Great for kiddie parties!

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