Alton Brown’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

may-126

Oh yes, the Chocolate Chip Cookie. I may have found my new Go-To recipe!!
Many bakers seem to be searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I too, have been searching for the ‘perfect chocolate chip cookie’ I do have a tried and true recipe that I fall back on that I know will not fail me but like many bakers, continue to seek out and try new versions of this classic. I have received almost a dozen emails from my blog readers requesting I try another chocolate chip cookie recipe and several have requested this recipe in particular. It comes from my beloved Alton Brown.

Several bloggers have already tried other versions of his chocolate chip cookie recipe so I decided to go with a recipe that I have had saved for over a months now. I was emailed the recipe by a friend and I do not own the book from which it originates, if my citing is wrong, please drop me a line and let me know.

I chose this recipe for a few reasons. It calls for no special ingredients,  it calls for an unusual method of mixing the ingredients and it implements the use of unconventional baking temperatures. Like my last cookie recipe, no mixer is needed to whip up this recipe, however, a little arm power is essential for adequatley mixing the chips into the dough. The dough came together in less than 15 minutes and after a short chilling in the fridge (the recipe does not require this but I feel it enhances the flavor of the baked cookie) these were ready to bake.  As stated before, unlike usual cookie recipes that call for one constant baking temperature, this one starts the cookies out at a higher temperature and then has you lower the temperature right after placing them into the oven to bake. I am asuming the higher initial temperature helps set the edges and the lowering of the temperature ensures consistent baking (no burnt bottoms and underbaked centers) producing a cookie with crisp edges and soft, chewy centers. What better combination in a cookie??

The texture of these cookies is great, everything I would look for in a cookie, phenomenal actually. They are slighlty crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the middles.  They taste great out of the oven (after cooling for 10 minutes). I can’t wait to try them after they cool completly.
The depth of the flavor is also phenomenal, the perfect combination of brown sugar and butter. I was surprised that the cookies came out as chewy as they were and that thebrown sugar flavor was as pronounced as it was, given I used equal proportions of white and brown sugar. Once again I used a combination of milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips and found that proportion was just perfect in my opinion, sweet but not overly so.

I do have two complaints about this cookie. First, the finished cookies were too greasy in my opinion.  After realizing this with the first pan, I allowed the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the sheet and then transferred to paper-towel lined cooling racks to cool completly. This seemed to help soak up a bit of the grease. Second, you really need to monitor the cookies closely while baking as you need to constantly increase and decrease the temperature of the oven. This was fine today as I was in the kitchen cleaning, however, these may not be ideal for those who are multi-tasking and want to bake up a batch of cookies quickly (it took my oven 5 minutes to reheat to 375 between baking the batches).

Overall I loved these cookies. So much so that I am going to make another batch tomorrow for a party. I will decrease the butter by a 1/2 stick to see if that helps with the greasiness of the baked cookies. If I can make these less greasy while maintaining the flavor these may be my new favorite cookie. If you try adapting this recipe with great results PLEASE leave me a comment and let me know!

One last thing, Alton also gives directions on how to bake the dough as one large pan cookie which would be perfect for birthdays, anniversaries and parties. I would love to try baking it this way and then decorating with a little buttercream frosting!

I rate these cookies an 8
Only because I thought they were too greasy in my opinion, these would be at least a 9 for flavor and texture alone

Chocolate Chip Cookie #10 
Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for More Food Cookbook

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (I only used 1/2 tsp and felt that was enough)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup un salted butter, melted and slightly cooled (I used salted butter, like always) **
2 cups chocolate chips (1 used 1 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees*.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the melted and cooled butter, sugars, egg yolks and vanilla until may-128combined. 

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the butter mixture and  fold the ingredients together just until combined. Add the chocolate chips and fold to combine. Do not overmix.
I chilled my dough for 2 hours because I always do, but Alton does not call for this step.

For individual cookies, use a spoon or a disher and dish out your cookies, 2 inches apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. *

Bake for 12-15 minutes (Mine were done in 12).
Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack or paper towel-lined counter top.

*As soon as you put the cookies or cookie cake into the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Alton Brown swears by this initial temperature boost.

Alternate Option:
For a cookie cake, dump the dough into an ungreased pizza pan or whatever kind of pan you have and gently press down until the dough is evenly distributed around the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or light golden brown.

**UPDATE: 5/4/09:
I made these again, only this time I used only 1 1/2 sticks butter (12 TBS) and found the baked cookies to be less greasy without sacrificing the flavor. I did chill the dough overnight so that may help keep and enhance the flavor of these cookies. I highly recommend chilling the dough at least a few hours before baking.
I also allowed the cookies to cool on paper-towel lined cooling racks for about 5 minutes and then transferred them to a regular cooling rack to cool completley. I found the paper towels to help absorb any grease from the warm cookies while the regular cooling rack allowed the bottoms of the cookies to firm up alowing the edges to become crisp upon cooling achieving the texture I  desire.
All in all I would recommend this recipe and suggest you play around with butter amounts and cooking/cooling methods that suit your tastes and preferences. I can’t wait to make them again!

Toasted Pecan, White Chocolate and Toffee Chip Cookies

january-034

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I have tasted several cookies in my time. Let me tell ya, I have found my new favorite cookie. I have been craving my favorite blondies all week but was in the mood to make cookies. Not only because I did not want to end up eating the whole pan of blondies by myself (I have done this more times than I can count) but because I wanted needed to freeze some dough for later baking (or so the scale has told me). I decided to adapt my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe to include my all-time-hands-down- favorite blondie add-ins.

I pride myself in baking goodies that any home cook/baker/mom/dad/sister/brother can make. I am a firm believer that you don’t need super fancy or expensive ingredients to bake up mouth-watering, jaw dropping, family pleasing treats! I am proof of this. My recipes are usually straight forward, require few steps or fancy ingredients to pull off and no special equipment to make. These cookies are no exception. I took a basic recipe and kicked it up a notch by doing a few easy steps that anyone can do.

First, I toasted the pecans and allowed them to cool before adding them to my dough. Toasting the nuts creates a deeper and richer flavor which is noticable in baked goods, especially those with simple flavors. Secondly, I use dark brown sugar. There is more molasses added to dark brown sugar giving it a deeper and richer flavor and color than its lighter counterpart. Dark brown sugar will give the cookies a darker color after baking, which I also find more attractive visually. Lastly, I made my dough but chilled it overnight before baking. Allowing the dough to chill before baking further deepens the flavor profile of the dough and the finished cookie as documented in this article (though my grandma has been doing this for years!). These small, easy steps will take your cookie from good to great, by giving them a richer, deeper flavor and color.

So, back to my cookies. Let me tell you, these are phenomenal!  The white chocolate is creamy and smooth,  which compliments the flavors of the toffee pieces and toasted nuts all contained by a rich toffee flavored dough. I had a difficult time not eating all of the dough! The thing I love about this recipe is not just the fact that it taste rich and chewy just  like my blondie recipe but unlike my blondies, I was able to freeze several dough balls to bake later when my sweet tooth screams for a treat. YUM!

I rate this recipe a 9.5

Toasted Pecan, White Chocolate  and Toffee Chip Cookies
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled until warm
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2  cup Heath Toffee Pieces
3/4 cup Toasted Pecan Pieces
1  cup White Chocolate, chopped (I recommend using white baker’s chocolate, not white chips)

Toast the Nuts:
Adjust oven racks to upper & lower -middle positions & heat oven to 350.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Spread nuts on a baking sheet.
Bake in oven, stirring occasionally, for about 10 to 15 minutes until fragrant.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Turn off oven.

Whisk dry ingredients together; set aside.
With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter & sugars until thoroughly combined.
Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients & beat at low speed just until combined.
Gently fold in toffee pieces, pecan pieces and white chocolate chunjanuary-035ks.

Cover bowl tightly and place in refrigerator until ready to bake (at least 12 hours but up to 72 hours).

When ready to bake allow dough to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a spoon or medium cookie scooper, place dough balls on prepared sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 9-12 minuts until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft & puffy. Do NOT overbake!

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.

*Instead of baking all of the dough at once you can drop dough balls onto a cookie sheet and chill until firm. Place in Freezer bag and freeze for later baking. Allow to come to room temp and bake as usual watching carefully not to overbake.

Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies


Lick the beaters, the spoon, your fingers, the knife and your plate. These are THAT good in my opinion. I have been tweaking a basic brownie recipe for the past six months that I found in my mom’s recipe box. The recipe was tattered and and speckled with dried batter (a sign of a winner in my book!). My mom rarey makes brownies from scratch anymore as she is a woman of convenience and the $.88 boxed brownie mix. She did remember that she used to bake these from scratch all of the time when she was my age and first married to my dad but doesn’t remember where she got the recipe.

The first time I baked the brownies according to the recipe but they were not very chocolatey and way too cakey for my liking. I did some tweaking (more/less eggs, sugar, butter, chocolate, cocoa powder, etc) every time I have made them and lets just say that these brownies came out to be the Brownies I had dreamed of. I only hope to have continued success with the recipe as written, if not, I am not afraid to tweak some more until pure brownie perfection is achieved. **Fingers crossed for future success!!

After my latest tweaks I stood there looking at the batter in my mixing bowl. Not wanting to be disappointed by another plain-jane-so-so brownie I decided to jazz them up a bit. In my book chocolate, cheesecake and peanut butter is a combination created by the Gods. And let’s just say the God’s have shined down upon this recipe. These brownies are fudgey, gooey and oh so chocolately (thanks to THREE different kinds of chocolate) with a creamy peanut-buttery cheesecake swirled throughout not once but twice. If that wasn’t enough peanut butter overload these babies are topped with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups the last five minutes of baking. Just long enough for them to melt into the brownies a bit but still retain their shape making these brownies fall into the FOOD PORN category.
Go ahead and indulge!

I rate these brownies a 9

Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

3/4 cup butter, very soft (not melted but softer than room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cups creamy PB
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
5-6 Reese’s peanut butter cups (regular size) cut into 6-8 pieces each
IMPORTANT: Do NOT omit the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. They take these brownies over the top and add the “Double” Peanut Butter taste the title tepts tastebuds with
Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8″ square pan with foil and lightly coat with PAM cooking spray.
In a microwave safe bowl melt the two baking chocolate squares in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth and melted after stirring. Do not scortch! Remove from microwave and allow to come to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, Beat together butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until blended. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix to combine. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl and wisk together. Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter mixture. Do not overmix.
In separate mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, peanut butter sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add egg and beat until just combined.

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate brownie batter into prepared pan. Evenly drop 1/2 of cheesecake batter in dollups over brownie batter. Run a knife through both mixtures to slightly swirl.
Dollop remaining brownie batter and cheesecake batter over swirled mixture. Run knife through the browine and cheesecake dollups (not all the way through the already swirled layer) to create a swirled pattern.
Bake for 40-45 minutes**, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. Do not overbake or they will harden, if underbaked they will be too gooey. Every oven is different so watch and check these after about 35-40 minutes of baking to ensure propper doneness.
**After about 35-40 minutes of baking (with about 5-7 minutes of baking time left, you just need to eyeball it) gently place cut up Reese’s cups over top of almost fully baked brownies. Finish baking until a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. The Reese’s PB cups will melt but hold their shape slightly. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting and serving.

NOTE: I have not baked the brownie recipe without the Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl and Reese’s on top so I am not sure how the brownies themselves rate. Let’s just say I may not find out as I am in love with the Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake recipe.

NOTE 2/13/08: I changed and added 5-7 minutes the baking time as a few people who have made the recipe indicated a longer bake time was needed than oringinally posted. The recipe listed above reflects those changes.
All ovens are different so be sure to keep an eye on your brownies to prevent overbaking. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs stuck to it.