Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (phew!)

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies: is that name not enough to catapult you into the kitchen, bag of chocolate chips in one hand and flour and butter balanced in the other? If not, it should be. I didn't fall for the name, hook, line and sinker, but I learned my lesson. What convinced me to test out this recipe late last week was the fact that I had this same recipe bookmarked from three separate places. Three blogs/websites had individually enticed me to save this for a later date by all claiming to have the. best. recipe. ever. And, to their credit, they just may.

You see, I'm on a hunt for "my" chocolate chip cookie recipe. Before this, I had been using the one on the back of the nestle chocolate chip bag - and don't get me wrong, it is delicious. It will always hold a place in my heart, with its crispy, buttery, chocolate-chips-sticking-out-of-it-like-mountains deliciousness. However, I must admit, I have a soft spot for, well, soft cookies. Ones that you bite into and they melt, and (now this is a real sticking point for me) don't crumble apart, leaving bits and pieces of themselves on your chest, stomach, lap - anywhere but your mouth, really.

And who else would I go to first for my chocolate chip cookie quest, but The Smitten Kitchen? I often refer to Deb in here as though we are on a first name basis, and if she were to ever become aware that I reference her recipes at least several times a month in such an informal way, who knows how creeped out she would be. The truth is that I find her pictures stunning, critiques and commentary involving, and recipes impossible to resist. So, I trust that one of the chocolate chip cookie recipes that she swears by is nothing short of wonderful. The fact that two other saved websites said the same thing meant that my first attempt couldn't be with any other version.

I have a few changes that I'd like to try out for my next attempt at these, and so I'll make note of them at the end. For now, though, here is the recipe in its original glory:

Best Big, Fat, Chewy, Chocolate Chip Cookies, courtesy of practically everyone on the planet
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen enormous cookies, or roughly 2 dozen decent sized ones (I doubled it and got about 70 very satisfyingly proportioned cookies)

The Ingredients
2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (omitted)
3/4 C unsalted butter, melted (change: salted, you know me)
1 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 C semisweet chocolate chips (I did a mixture of regular and minis - which are more compact, so I wound up using a little less)

The Method
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.

3. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.

4. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup ("1/4 Cup!!" was my response to this, quickly followed by, "I must try that next time!") at a time (for giant cookies - seriously!) or a tablespoon at a time (for smaller cookies, which are, by any normal-sized person's standards, on the bigger side of cookies) onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

5. Bake larger cookies for 15 to 17 minutes, or 10 to 12 minutes for smaller ones (check your cookies before they’re done; depending on your scoop size, your baking time will vary - which is true, considering my "small" cookies took 20 minutes to bake) in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes (re: 30-60 seconds) before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

These cookies are (almost) everything their name claims: they are big, chewy, and yes, they do contain chocolate chips. They are not so fat. This is one of my grievances. You see, these cookies spread. They spread like it's their job, and can you blame them? They have buttered cookie sheets, obscene amounts of sugar, and melted butter all egging them on. Most of my cookies turned out beautifully: a little crinkly on top with chocolate chips poking through, a crisped outside with a soft and forgiving center. However, they need to be a little thicker. A little, well, fatter, as the name implies. Next time I will do some combination of the following: use parchment paper to eliminate the butter on the baking sheets, decrease the sugar by just a teensy bit, and/or use some device intermediate between a tablespoon and 1/4 cup to give them more bulk to begin with. I will also use chocolate chunks in place of the chips, as a cookie this formidable deserves an equally impressive chocolate component.

I do urge you to make these, either in their original form or with the suggestions I am proposing - on one condition, that is. If you try out my crazy ideas for improvements, you have to report back to me with the results. I'm dying to know what these changes will do to this recipe, but seeing as how I still have some lingering cookies from the 5 dozen I churned out last week, I cannot justify making another batch in the near future. I must be patient...

...but how?!

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