My daughter Tracy is a cc cookie aficionado. A cookie-tasting pro. She's been asking me to make her some Jacques Torres cc cookies since her last visit, when we unfortunately discovered they take at least a 24 hour wait in the fridge and we lacked the time.
Since my kids were little, I've always used a cc cookie recipe from the old Make It Now, Bake It Later cookbook. (Watch for a giveaway of this fun cookbook next week!) Not what she wanted this time. What she requested was the "real" Jacques Torres cc cookie recipe, for which I had the NY Times recipe and which I did make for her, but they turned out cakey so I'm not even going to discuss them today or show you a photo. Ugh. Besides, I didn't have real Jacques Torres chocolate to use. I mean, they weren't exactly inedible, but who likes a cakey cc cookie?
Anyway, I had seen (and saved) a recipe Valerie from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine posted for Thousand Layer Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thinking to give Tracy two kinds of cc cookie recipes to sample, I made Valerie's the next day. And BTW: they take time as well, so don't plan on making either of these recipes and eating the same day. (Frankly, just the length of Valerie's recipe gives one pause.)
What I don't understand is why mine turned out the way they did. Valerie's finished cookies looked neat and tidy like this:
Mine looked right on the money at the point I refrigerated them:
but then something happened in the oven. Hmmmm. So I searched the net and while most results looked like Valerie's, Martha Stewart's recipe for the same cookie looked almost exactly like mine. (I'm in good company here, so didn't feel quite so badly.) Here's a photo of Martha's:
I suppose weather, brand of flour, ovens and who knows what all makes a difference, but I wanted mine to look prettier. :( Still, if you close your eyes and just taste.....deevine.
Tracy took both kinds of cookies back to NYC with her for taste-testing at her gallery. Hands down, they all loved the brown butter cc cookie recipe. In fact, Tracy said these were closer to the Jacques Torres cookies she eats than the recipe the NY Times labeled Jacques Torres cookies. Funny. (FYI: here's the link to the NY Times recipe.)
The gallery "cookie monsters": Laura, daughter Tracy and Emily
So (when you have two days free :) ) make Valerie's recipe and let me know if yours turn out picture perfect or more like mine and Martha's. Hope Valerie won't mind I used her photo above and copied her recipe below exactly. And I used the egg wash, but forgot to sprinkle them with sea salt before baking. Oh well. You all know I'm not a chocoholic, right? Labor of love, these were.
Thousand Layer-Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Valerie at Une Gamine dans la Cuisine
1 1/4 cups (that's 2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 room temperature egg
3 room temperature egg Yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into shards (aim for longer, super model-thin "strips," as opposed to cute chubby chunks)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash) *The wash won't be used until very late into the recipe...lots of dough refrigeration time.
Sea salt for sprinkling (optional, but highly recommend)
Brown that butter: Cut 1 cup (that's 2 sticks) of the butter into Tablespoon-sized pieces. (You won't be using the remaining 1/4 cup of butter right now, so leave it in the fridge.)
Have a heat-proof bowl on hand to hold the butter once it has browned. Place the pieces of butter into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk over medium-low heat until completely melted. Crank the heat up to medium, and continue cooking the butter. As it browns, it will foam up, and then it will calm down a bit. If you notice that one side is more foamy than the other, use the handle of the pan to swirl it around occasionally. Once the foam settles down, check for light brown specks forming at the bottom. Those specks are letting you know that it's almost ready! Keep cooking, and swirling the pan, until the butter develops a nutty aroma. *As soon as it's golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and pour the brown butter into a medium heat-proof bowl. Allow the browned butter to come to room temperature before covering, and refrigerating until solid **(at least 4 hours.)
*Note: Once the butter starts changing colour, it can burn super-fast, so don't wander off while it's cooking.
**Well covered, the browned butter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Any longer, and it may lose some of that nutty flavour.
Remove the solidified brown butter from the fridge, and allow it to soften to room temperature. (Bring the remaining 1/4 cup of regular butter to room temperature as well.)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking Soda, and salt; Set aside.
Scrape the softened brown butter into the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the 1/4 cup of regular butter and both sugars. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and light (about 3-5 minutes). Add the egg and beat for about one minute. One by one, add the yolks, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat just until the streaks of white have disappeared. Use a large rubber spatula to stir in any reaming bits of flour.
Place the cookie dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide it into 3 equal parts. Shape each piece into a 4x6-inch rectangle, wrap each one in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If you haven't done so already, you can pass the time by chopping the chocolate!
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper; Set aside. (No, you're not ready to use the oven just yet. Patience grasshopper) :)
Remove the rectangles from the fridge. If they feel like they're going to be too hard to roll out, leave them at room temperature for a few minutes. Place one of the rectangles onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle it with half of the chocolate shards. Top with a second piece of dough, and sprinkle it with the remaining chocolate. Top with the final piece of dough. You should have a high, delicious, messy cookie sandwich sitting in front of you. Try not to eat it! Dust the top layer of dough with flour, and use a *rolling pin to carefully/gently roll the dough into a rectangle that's about 9x6-inches and about 1 1/2-inches thick.
*This is the part where things started to go south for me. My dough cracked, split, and threw a fit when I tried to roll it out. If this happens to you, don't worry! Instead of rolling out the dough, I used my hands to work the chocolate into the dough. And instead of one big 9x6-inch rectangle, I worked with small portions of dough at a time. Still delicious!
Once the dough has been rolled, patted, or squished into a thickness of about 1 1/2-inches, use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out rounds of dough. [Note: I used 1 1/2-inch round cutters because I'm selfish and wanted more cookies.] Flour the cutter if necessary, and feel free to re-roll the scraps. Place the cut-out cookies onto the prepared sheets, cover loosely, and refrigerate for at least one hour. (Oh the humanity!) The longer you chill the unbaked cookies, the deeper the flavour!
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Have the egg wash on hand, ready to use.
Separate the chilled cookies before baking. These spread out a bit, so make sure to leave about 2-inches between each cookie. Brush the top of each cookie with a little bit of the egg wash. Sprinkle with sea salt (if using).
*Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until the edges have just set. Rotate the sheets half-way through the baking time to ensure even browning. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack.
*My cookies were perfect after only 11 minutes. They looked slightly underdone (which I prefer anyway), but they firmed up nicely as they cooled.
Makes about 20 cookies (if you're lucky)