I was kind of obsessed some time ago with finding the perfect cookie recipe, and essentially baking one that wasn’t cakey, soft or shaped like little mountains. For some odd reason, every cookie I have made since the start of baking journey has failed to spread (except for the first ever cookie I made with the boo which spread nice and far but ended up so soft that just picking it up made it bend and break) so I was determined to make one that was flat as cookies should be, crispy on the edges and soft on the inside.
I started out with Laura Vitale’s recipe, but found that the cookies were still cakey and lacked any sort of punch to make it stand out from the crowd. The cakey part was probably not the recipe’s fault as I found out, but more about that later. After that, I scoured the internet for a better cookie recipe and came across one by Izy at Top With Cinnamon. This one was definitely different as not only brown butter was used, the butter was infused with basil leaves and verbena (lemon zest for us who can’t get verbena) to give the dough more flavour and the dough was chilled for 24-72 hours. I t sounded like a long-winded recipe for me to follow (I’m extremely impatient) but I decided to just suck it up anyway because how often do you come across such a unique recipe?
Anyway, the first attempt was royal failure; the cookies ended up so cakey it wasn’t even funny, and the cookies stayed in the mound shape of the cookie scoop even after I had baked it for longer than the recommended cooking time. However, the flavour was great so I wasn’t giving up yet.
Second time round, I decided to do it properly and took the weighing machine out, weighed every single ingredient to the dot, refrigerated it for 72 (!!) hours and turned the oven from fan setting to just heat setting. Finally, the cookies lost the cakey texture and were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. My best guess is that the fan setting dried out the cookies too much and ended up ruining the texture completely which is why I never use the fan setting anymore. It. Was. The. Best. Cookie. I. Ever. Had! Izy is a genius. Seriously, who would’ve thought to infuse the butter with basil and lemon flavours?
I was so protective of these cookies I kept them all to myself, squirreling them away day after day at the office. Here’s the recipe for anyone who’s interested in trying it out!
Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Top with Cinnamon
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp lemon zest
10 tbsp (5 oz / 140 g) butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup (230 g) all purpose flour (I used half whole wheat and half all purpose)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp (140 g) light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp kosher salt / fleur de sel (plus more for sprinkling)
7 oz (200 g) bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Roughly chop the basil add to a small saucepan with the butter and lemon zest. Heat continuously on medium-low on the stove until it foams up and smells nutty, then stir in the vanilla extract.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then strain it through a sieve (push through as much of the browned butter bits as possible)
- Meanwhile, either in a stand mixer or a large bowl combine the next 6 ingredients (flour through to salt). Pour in the butter and mix until it looks like moist clumpy sand with no floury patches.
- Add the egg and mix in for a few seconds, then the chopped chocolate and pecans and mix until well distributed - but not for too long!
- Using a 1/4 cup cookie scoop, scoop up some of the dough and smoosh it into the scoop until it's just full. Turn out onto a lined cookie tray, spacing each mound 3" apart. Repeat with all of the cookie dough.
- Cover with cling film and refrigerate for anywhere between 1 - 72 hours (the longer you wait, the better the texture and flavour!).
- When ready to bake preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). When ready, sprinkle the cold cookie dough with fleur de sel and shove into the oven immediately!
- Bake for 8-12 minutes, until browned, with set edges, and a puffy, soft center. Let cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
I know this recipe seems like a lot of work and time-consuming, but if you’re a cookie fan then you need to try this because it is that good. Use only good quality chocolate chips though (bittersweet or dark chocolate chips work the best) because the flavour of chocolate makes all the difference!