Hello, my name is Clarisse, and I’m a member of the Claire Saffitz fan club.
Actually, I’m only one of the millions of people who call themselves that, and I’m also one among many proud owners of her very first cookbook. (Hopefully it’ll be the first of many.) I had this cookbook shipped all the way from the US of A and holy cow it was so worth it. It literally feels like having a tiny tiny piece of that genius baker brain Claire possesses.
I want to make everything from this cookbook, to be completely honest. I thought that I’d make something “flashy” to highlight my first baking experience from this book, and so I resisted making the Claire Saffitz Chocolate Chip Cookies for a long time. But ever since Claire published her YouTube video on these cookies on her channel, my brother had not stopped pestering me to try the recipe. Literally each time he saw me he would find a way to wiggle it into the conversation.
Is it funny that I held out for three weeks? In my head I wanted to read this cookbook from cover to cover before making anything from it, but due to time constraints I haven’t been able to do that before I gave in to my brother’s requests.
Do I regret it? Of course not. Unsurprisingly, these Claire Saffitz Chocolate Chip Cookies are AWESOME. Duh! Did I really expect any other outcome? (Also, my cookies look like the ones in the cookbook right? I’m so happy about that!)
These cookies have definitely made their way into the top three of my list of favorite choco chip cookie recipes. It’s not that I’m biased– these are simply pretty good! But I think if I seriously take into consideration the type of choco chip cookie I like, the Doubletree recipe is still my number 1. I prefer a cookie that’s not too thin, and Claire’s is definitely a little on the thin side for me. Doubletree’s version has a bit more “meat” in the center, giving it a definitive chewiness to it.
That said, I suppose the second place has to go to the Jacques Torres recipe, just because it is similar to Doubletree in form. In our household, the stakeholders (lol) are constantly torn between Jacques Torres and Doubletree as their number one choice, so that’s saying a lot. For me though, Doubletree’s recipe simply hits every parameter I set for a perfect choco chip cookie. It doesn’t overwhelm with chocolate like the Jacques Torres recipe does for me.
Claire’s cookies sit comfortably at third, tied with the Bravetart recipe. While Bravetart’s choco chip chunker of a cookie is my favorite fat-style cookie, I still prefer normal choco chip cookies overall. It’s hard to pick between the two just because they’re so different (but equally satisfying) so I decided to just allow the tie to happen. If you’re curious about what comes next, it’s Bouchon’s interestingly molasses-y Chocolate Chip Cookies.
In summary, this is my current personal ranking:
1st Place: Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
2nd Place: Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
3rd Place: Claire Saffitz Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe
Also 3rd because it’s a different beast of a choco chip cookie: Bravetart’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
4th Place: Bouchon Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies— I’m linking to my “revisited” post with updated photos.
Is it funny that I took some time to really think about this in a definitive manner? This seems like a really serious conversation for bakers and dessert-loving foodies. My intention is not to compare and to point out who is better of course, but I honestly have had curious people ask me what my favorite recipe is, and right now this is how the rankings stand. I have plans to make the famous Thousand Layer Choco Chip Cookies and the Pan-Banging one by Sarah Kieffer so maybe there will be changes. We shall see.
[Check out the collection of Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes I’ve made so far!]
In terms of flavor, you literally cannot go wrong with any of the recipes I mentioned above. They are all hands-down delicious. It all comes down to preference for the thickness of the cookie, the texture and the bite, and the add-on’s. You can click on the links I’ve shared above to check out the recipes, but today our focus is on Claire’s version.
Anyway, I decided not to film a recipe video for this because who else can teach you to make these cookies better than the
queen creator herself? I’m linking Claire’s video here instead so you can enjoy her endearing baker nerdy-ness in its full potent form. Meanwhile, I’ll just write some notes and observations for you all based on my experience making this. I’m channeling my inner Claire from this point on because I have many many many observations to share!
So first, this recipe has some interesting extra steps. It has you browning butter, then adding cream into the butter. I’ve never seen this done before but I will say that each time a recipe calls for browned butter it’s always worth the extra effort. Browned butter adds this butterscotch undertone and extra nutty scent and flavor to a baked good.
BROWN BUTTER. When browning butter, don’t turn up the heat to high because the butter will sputter and might burn you. I like to cook it over medium heat, lowering the heat as needed, then I either mix or just swirl it around so the bottom doesn’t get burnt. You want to have those browned bits at the bottom but not burnt bits. The butter will change into a darker hue and will smell INCREDIBLE. Browned butter is also great in Banana Bread, by the way.
Interestingly enough, she doesn’t have you brown all the butter, just half, and then you pour this hot browned butter in with the rest to gently melt everything down.
ADD HEAVY CREAM. Once the butter is melted, the heavy cream goes in to return some of the evaporated liquid into the browned butter. Then you want to cool this mixture down, at least until just warm.
ADD SUGARS. After this point, it’s a normal cookie dough-making process. The sugars go into the melted butter, and you want to whisk it vigorously until the mixture is very thick. Sometimes it’s hard to get melted butter and sugar to incorporate properly if you don’t whisk it as vigorously as possible. They tend to separate.
ADD EGGS. This is the part where the wet ingredients really start coming together. The eggs and vanilla go in and you whisk them again until the mixture is totally smooth and almost satiny.
(I love that my eggs created this galaxy look in my batter lol.)
ADD DRY INGREDIENTS. Next, you mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl and just dump it into the wet mixture. Mix just until combined. This dough is suuuuuper loose. It’s actually almost like brownie batter because you can actually still use a whisk to mix this. Use a spatula to make sure everything is well incorporated, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to get to those stubborn pockets of flour.
ADD CHOCOLATE. Finally the chocolate goes in. I always use at least two variations of chocolate in my cookies these days, because I find it produces a better tasting cookie. In this instance, for chocolate one I used 64% Auro Chocolate discs, which I did not slice for bigger pockets of chocolate ooze. For chocolate two I used Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips 63% to have those firmer bits of chocolate in the cookie. Claire used a combo of milk and dark but I don’t stock milk chocolate in my supplies so…
CHILL THE DOUGH. Ideally, you want to portion the cookie dough into mounds at this stage before chilling. Give the “batter” at least 5 minutes to rest and firm up a little bit. It will start looking a little more like cookie dough and will be easier to portion. BUT because I don’t have the space in my fridge, I did not portion my dough before chilling. I chilled the entire cookie dough in a bowl with a lid, and then had to let it come to room temp before scooping.
There’s a reason why Claire asks us to portion the dough before chilling. The dough turns super hard if chilled as a mass. It broke two of my cheap ice cream scoopers because I didn’t allow it to fully come to room temp before attempting to scoop. I ended up using my Rubber Maid pop-out scooper, which I now really appreciate as a genius piece of kitchen equipment. I know that it’ll be a real test of patience having to wait for the dough to chill and then again having to wait for it to come to room temp, but that’s just the way it is if you just don’t have the space. It isn’t too bad of a compromise.
Absolutely do not skip the chilling period after making the dough. It will make a really nice, rippled, flavorful cookie. The rest you give the dough as it chills also helps to make the flavors “mature” nicely. Baking unchilled dough will only result in cookie puddles, because Claire’s cookies dough is very soft. You also won’t be able to achieve maximum flavor.
Claire’s instructions say that you should use a 1/4-cup measure scoop to portion the dough. I did not follow this and used a normal ice cream scooper and the cookies were still HUUUGE. They came out palm-sized! They spread like crazy as they bake so make sure you set the cookie mounds really faaaaaaaaar apart or they will bake into each other. Like 4 inches or something. Seriously.
SHOULD I CHILL THE DOUGH AGAIN? So because I did not portion the dough as instructed before chilling, I had no choice but to let the entire bowl of dough return to room temp before portioning. The question now becomes: Do I chill my dough mounds again so that I can bake them cold as Claire intended? Or have I chilled the dough enough already that its structure can hold through baking without turning into a puddle? Normally, dough that asks for a lengthy chill-time needs to be baked straight out of the fridge. The intention is to have the cold dough counter the heat of the oven, allowing the cookies to set before it spreads out too much.
There was really only one way to find out the answer to this questions as far as Claire’s cookie dough was concerned. I had to put my scientist hat on lol.
MY FINDINGS. After letting the bowl of dough come to room temp and portioning the dough into two trays, I placed one tray in the freezer to “flash-chill” it, if you will. The other portion of dough, which I might add was at a cool room temp (meaning they were not soggy yet and were still holding their shape) went into the oven to bake. What I found was that they came out more or less the same whether baked as straight-from the-fridge chilled mounds or room temp mounds.
Remember that I used a smaller cookie scoop than Claire did, so the magic time for me for the room temp dough was 12 minutes. (Your baking time may differ because each oven is different. You can test-bake one mound of dough first to find YOUR magic time. I will generally recommend erring on the side of underbaking for chewy cookies.) The cold dough required about a minute more in the oven, but they came out looking pretty much the same, at least from what I observed. The top rippling is the same, and the thickness of the cookies is the same too.
So I guess the really important part here is that the dough gets a minimum “main chill time” of 12 hours after coming together as indicated in the recipe. Whether it’s in mound form or in a mass in a bowl will be up to you. Portioning before chilling is definitely easier.
SALT. Claire does not top her cookies with salt, but you can do so if you like. I always enjoy a salted chocolate chip cookie so I added a little bit to mine before I ate my share. Firm on the outside, fairly chewy in the center despite its thinness, these cookies have a nice rippled appearance and a delightful butterscotch flavor. Definitely worthy of the hype!
RECIPE. I’ve shared the ingredients for Claire’s recipe here, and you can actually also find it in the description box of her YouTube video. The entire written recipe has been uploaded on various places on the web so just do a little search and you’ll find it.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz/ 227 g), cut into tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk (1 oz/ 28 g)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (9.2 oz/ 260 g)
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (0.22 oz/ 6g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (0.21 oz/ 6g)
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (5.3 oz/ 150g)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (5.3 oz/ 150g)
- 2 large eggs (3.5 oz/100g), cold from the refrigerator
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 ounces (142g) bittersweet chocolate disks, half coarsely chopped
- 5 ounces (142g) milk chocolate disks, half coarsely chopped
I realize it’s a little too early to recommend her cookbook since I’ve only made one recipe out of it so far, but I will say there are plenty of exciting recipes in there from what I’ve seen. Maybe I’ll write some sort of “review” later on.
All images and videos on this blog are owned by The Tummy Train and Clarisse Panuelos. Unauthorized use of content, removal of watermark, or edit and reupload is prohibited and will constitute theft.