Makes about 30 medium size cookies.
Prep time: 20 minutes + 1 hr. refrigeration; Cooking time: 12 – 14 minutes
A few tips and steps not to miss or modify:
The selection of chocolate makes a difference. Chocolate chips are ok, but better to use bars of bittersweet chocolate chunked-up into pieces. For a delicious interesting flair, use ‘Chilies and Cherries Dark Chocolate’ (http://www.chocolove.com/chilies.htm).
Use coarse Kosher salt instead of regular table salt. Results in little ‘sparks’ of salt with the sweet.
Brown 1/2 cup butter to add to egg mixture. This makes for an incredible cookie in general and it puts these cookies over the top. Brown it correctly, here’s how to directions and photos: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_brown_butter/ .
Finally, allow the cookie dough roll to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or freezer for 1/2 hour. Don’t skip it!
And for the recipe…
1/2 cup unsalted butter, to be browned
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (60% cocoa)
optional – 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted lightly
Brown the 1/2 cup butter. My short & sweet: Cut 1/2 cup of butter into TBS pieces; place in a heavy bottomed small sauce pan on medium-low heat. Melt butter. Continuing to cook, butter will foam on the top. Swirl butter around. The foam will start to clear; keep cooking, and watch for amber color to appear and a nice smell. Swirl around to even out the cooking. Smell will become more fragrant and amber color will even out. Once this happens work quickly, remove pan from heat and pour into a small heat proof bowl. If you leave it in the pan it may keep cooking and particles may burn. DO NOT strain! Set aside to cool a little.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Whisk in the dry yeast and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed (paddle attachment), beat the 1/4 cup of softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well combined and grainy, about 1 minute; beat in prepared browned butter for 1 additional minute. Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined.
By hand, stir in chocolate chunks and walnuts with a wooden spoon until combined.
Make a cookie dough log. Get a 24 inch long piece of parchment paper or wax paper, and dump the cookie dough on it. Wrap the dough, and run your hands down to form a log about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Put the wrapped log in refrigerator for an hour, or 30 minutes in freezer if in a hurry.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
After dough has been chilled, place log on counter with parchment opened up. Cut log into about 3/4 inch thick slices. Place on clean parchment lined cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. If necessary, using your fingers, mold into more perfect circles.
Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes for chewy cookies, or 14 for crunchy. Cool 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.