I took a few liberties with the recipe. Inspired by my friend Kelly, I sprinkled the cookies with coarse sea salt before they go into the oven. I love the way it balances out the sweetness and adds a tiny bit of crunch every few bites. I also decided to infuse my butter with vanilla bean instead of adding just extract (truth be told, I was out of vanilla extract today and did happen to have a bean). I scraped the seeds into the butter as it melted, threw in the pod, and let it steep for about 15 minutes (straining it before I added it to the sugar). Due to a happy accident, the butter was on the heat about 3 minutes longer than I'd planned and it began to brown. I went with it, loving brown butter, and this batch of cookies was even better than usual. The folks over at Chow.com did the same thing with their butter when they made this recipe (but on purpose). Finally, I was low on chocolate chips but had a few bars of semi-sweet chocolate in the ol' baking box. I chopped 'em up and added them instead. It all added up to one damn good cookie! Here she is close up:
Next time you reach for your Toll House chips and intend to follow that recipe on the back of the bag, give this recipe a try instead. Let me know how it goes!