Chocolate Chip Cookies…after 23 years, this is my best yet

You would think that a person who blogs about recipes would share the best ones at the beginning. Oddly, I am protective about this one. It isn’t that I don’t want to share. It is that it is important to me. And I would be so sad if you tried it and didn’t love it. I probably make this recipe more than all the other recipe I have combined. But here goes.

Chocolate chip cookies are, not surprisingly, one of the things I have been baking the longest. I started making them when I was in high school but I never got more ambitious than the recipe on the back of the Toll House bag. And it served me well. But sometimes the results were cakey and at some point I left the comfort of being able to blame bad outcomes on someone else’s recipe to try to find every chocolate chip recipe known to man and figure out what worked and what didn’t. I have had about five favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years, each one abandoned when I found the little tweak that would make them a little bit better.

I assume everyone has a chocolate chip cookie recipe but IF you do not, please try this one before you die. I am absolutely bonkers about it.  The funny thing is, you would think I make these for my kids all of the time, but I don’t.  This is a sinful little ritual Pitts and I have. Often, too often, when the kids have gone off to their dreams, we bust out the Kitchen Aid mixer and get this recipe going. I’m sure on some level the kids wonder why we get out 2 and a half stick of butter after dinner and put them on top of the coffee maker to soften.

I love these hot out of the oven. So if you are not making them for an occasion, but merely because you deserve a cookie in each hand today, consider freezing the remaining dough. On the night you make these, put six or so dough bombs on your un-greased cookie sheet (I always use a Silpat). Take the rest of the dough and plop all of it onto a big sheet of parchment. Fold over the parchment and seal the edges forming the dough into a flat square. Put this into a re-sealable freezer bag and then freeze it. Every night thereafter, wait until your kids go to bed, warm your oven, cut off a few squares, thaw them a bit, smoosh them down with a fork a bit, and bake them. Hot cookies every night.  Also, since the cookies take about 9 to 10 minutes to cook, if you put milk in a glass and put it in the freezer right when you put the cookies in the oven, the milk will be perfectly frosty when the buzzer goes off. If you don’t have kids, you can begin this ritual right after dinner. Or, you can skip dinner. Or, you can call this dinner. I heartily approve of all of these options.

Like Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookie recipes vary by a teaspoon of this or a half a cup of that. One uses a little more butter. Another uses more brown sugar than granulated sugar, or vice versa. But they are all remarkably similar. This is important, though. Different flours give you different results. I use King Arthur and it makes taller cookies with some body (gooey, says Lily). Gold Medal Flour used in this recipe makes flat and crispy cookies. If you get a result that looks different than these photos, consider your flour.

Chocolate Chip Cookies...after 23 years, this is my best yet
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Recipe type: desserts
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 22
This is MY favorite chocolate chip cookies.
Ingredients
  • 2½ sticks of butter (1¼ cups), softened
  • 1¼ cups light brown sugar (you can also use dark)
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 bag (approximately 2 cups) of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and both sugars. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed, add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well blended. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in the chips.
  2. Drop tablespoon size portions of dough on baking sheets, preferably lined with a Silpat or silicone baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest on baking sheet for approximately 2 minutes before removing to a rack to cool.

[Update: lately, I have been baking these at 370 for 10 minutes with great results…got a new oven after this post. So, if your cookies are taking too long to bake, try turning up the oven a bit.]

Notes on Cookie Baking:
I think cookies can be very temperamental creatures. Sometimes they just turn out weird or greasy or cakey. But, some of the things I do to ensure good outcomes are the following:
1) Preheat your oven for at least 20 minutes before baking.
2) Make sure your butter and your egg are at room temperature before you start combining ingredients.
3) Don’t be in too much of a hurry. It takes some time for the butter and sugar to combine and lighten and become fluffy.
4) Don’t beat up your flour too much. Once you add the flour continue mixing until it is just combined and then add the chips and give it one or two more spins.
5) Make sure you scrape your bowl now and again. My mixer has a little trough at the bottom and if I don’t scrape I end up with a little collection of dry ingredients at the end.
6) Use good butter. I like Land O Lakes and Challenge Butter. I don’t have any data to back this up but I don’t buy store brand butter very often. I haven’t put enough research into it, but different butters have different butterfat contents and it can effect the outcome.
7) I have finally, after years of turning up my nose, purchased a meatball/cookie scooper from the restaurant supply store. This is not rocket surgery, but when your cookie balls are all the same size…tadaaaa…they cook at similar rates and are all ready at the same time. And the cookies will be of a more uniform size and color. Mine is 1½ inches in diameter and has the number 50 on the inside. It is a good size.
8)I always use a Silpat when I make cookies. I am a true believer. Just know that if you abuse them like I do they will eventually die. I used mine for about 5 years and put it in the dishwasher and all of a sudden my cookies started failing. My Silpat had died. I happily got a new one, but I am now handwashing it.
9) The bit about letting the cookies rest on the sheet for at least 2 minutes is critical. If you try to move the fresh hot cookie, you will likely end up ripping it, or messing up the shape. If you give it a minute, it stabilizes significantly.
10) Please put aside your fears of Salmonella for one moment and eat a big bite of the dough. It is fabulous.
11) Finally, your flour and my flour may not be the same, and it matters. I have gone all around on this issue and it has to do with protein content. I now use 1 3/4 cup of KA flour and 1 cup of Gold Medal APF and mix them together to get the cookie I like. The King Arthur alone created a cakey cookie. The Gold Medal created a greasy and flat cookie (which my husband loves). The mixture of the two splits the difference. So, if your cookie turns out just a little bit not like you want it, think about experimenting with the variables a little bit and creating your own kind of perfect.

OK. That’s it. I really hope you have a chance to try this and I hope that you like it. If you decide you are not in the mood for these cookies, you should consider my Snickerdoodles or my Flourless Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Comments

  1. billi jo says

    Great Pictures Kelly, can’t wait to try these…but I think I’ll share them with my kiddos!! ha.

  2. Suz says

    Approximately how many cookies does one recipe make – if you use the meatball scoop? I have to take cookies to an event this week. Maybe I missed the number in the post…but was just wondering.

  3. Kelly says

    Hi Suz…you did not miss the number. I’m notoriously bad at including information on yields. I think if you aren’t scooping too too generously, you can probably get 28 to 30 good sized cookies. But I’m guessing there…it makes just exactly the perfect amount until it is time to make more. I so rarely bake these all at the same time because we make 6 big ones right off the bat and then freeze them and make 6 per night…and at that rate we manage it for about 4 nights, total…but they are big…so yes, I think 30 is a reasonable yield. Please forgive my batty way of getting at that answer.

  4. Val says

    I have been in Kelly’s kitchen when the butter comes out and is placed on the coffee maker and I have been there the next night when the dough comes out of the freezer, folks, no matter how you slice it these are ROCKIN’ chocolate chip cookies!

  5. Beth says

    23 Years! Wow! I can’t believe you started cooking when you were 3! You are awesome!

    thanks for the tips — it seems I haven’t noticed why my cookies turn out differently sometimes, but at least now I am armed with the knowledge of how to ensure excellent cookies every time..

  6. Catherine says

    I love you! If I didn’t already I would now simply because you and Pitts make these just for yourselves! What a terrific, kitchen-y, romantic thing to do. There is nothing finer-I laugh in Salmonellas direction- than a frozen hunk of cookie dough after dinner. Or for breakfast… lunch… snack time… XO

  7. Joey says

    One of my favorite memories of spending time with you and Pitts, was pulling pre-made cookie dough out of the freezer and baking cookies AFTER OUR KIDS WERE ASLEEP! We pigged out on cookies and milk while watching re-runs of ‘Dallas’ and I enjoyed every single minute of it!

  8. John says

    We had these cookies with Dr. Pepper floats. It was the best thing ever! We had to use regular Dr. Pepper because there isn’t any Dublin kind here. I want to try the Dublin sometime.

  9. Kelly says

    John, I always love it when you visit. I think your mom is spoiling you rotten giving you floats and CCC on the same night…you are a lucky ducky and I wish I was in Missouri with you guys tonight if floats AND cookies are on the dinner menu.

  10. Courtney says

    I made your Happy Salad tonight and felt so healthful that I had to make your awesome cookies. John saw your post and did not want to be left out of the cookie action. As you can see by his comment, he agrees with you about the recipe being the best.
    By the way, I know I should bring the butter and eggs to room temperature, but usually do not. The same with giving the butter and sugar long enough in the mixer togetether. Doing so made a big difference!

  11. says

    I have stuck with the Jello vanilla pudding recipe for chocolate chip cookies for years, becuae that’s the one that has guaranteed me the soft cookie my husband loves. If I experiemt, I disappoint. So please tell me, are these soft?

  12. Kelly says

    Umm…no, not really soft. I’d say crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. We eat them right out of the oven so they tend to be softer then, but once they cool off, probably more crisp than soft. I’ve never heard of the pudding idea…but I like it.

  13. says

    A part of me really wants to try your recipe, but I think I’ve already made them like this! Besides, I have to admit that I’ve sworn off trying new versions. I, too, have my favorite, and no other recipe has come close to knocking it out of my personal first place.

    You do tempt me, though…

  14. Kelly says

    Isn’t it funny? Could anything be more personal than chocolate chip cookies? Once you find the way that you really really love them, all others pale in comparison. I completely understand. I’d love to know what makes your favorite way great. Chewy, crispy, big, small, little chips, big chips…it all makes me smile. I am a charter member of the cult of the chocolate chip cookie and I am open to all suggestions and ideas. I just love having a conversation about them. It makes me want to bust out my mixer right now…

  15. heidi says

    My kids just came home to warm, gooey, DELICIOUS cookies right out of the oven.
    Thank you from all of the Howeths!

  16. Kelly says

    Yay, Heidi!!! I’m glad they liked them. I can really hurt myself with these cookies. I think they are absolutely addictive. I’m so happy they worked for you and your people!!

  17. Elizabeth Alexander Cumbie says

    I made these last night and you are right – they are wonderful! Question: when you put the extra in the freezer, do you “score” them? How do you break off the pieces evenly?

  18. Kelly says

    I’m sorry it took me so long to get back on this Elizabeth. I’m not sure my head is attached properly this week. I don’t score them. I just roughly shape it into a square that is about an inch and a half deep. Then I use my big knife to cut off strips and then cut them into squares. But scoring is a great idea. My mom has been trying to get me to do scoops with a meatball scooper thingy-ma-bob and then put them in the freezer til stiff, and then put them in a big ziploc. Fortunately, I’m happy as a clam to keep experimenting on this one. Let me know if the scoring helps.

  19. Kelly says

    No, no, no…certainly not innovative. The thought of an “innovative” chocolate chip cookie makes me unpleasantly nervous. That’s why I went to pains to include the bit about how, like snickerdoodles, the best chocolate chip cookies merely vary by a teaspoon of this or that. And, yes, the general formula has been around for generations…because it is so very good.

    I hope you are only seemingly disappointed because you didn’t actually go to the trouble of making them. However, I think if you did, you might find that they make you quite happy. This is a classic rendition, certainly. And I am a card carrying member of the High Holy Church of the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie. Enjoy your search!

  20. Kel says

    OMGOSH THEY WERE SO. GOOD. I didn’t have any chocolate chips but was in desperate need of a good cookie, so I added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and diced 2 medium sized apples instead of the chocolate chips. Delicious.

    I believe my search for good chocolate chip cookies have officially ended [think it's because we have the same name? I think not. They are just too delicious to resist]. I think I’m going to use these as base for my favorite White Chocolate Macadamia cookies next time…hmm

  21. Kelly says

    APPLES!! That is brilliant! I’m going to have to try that. I’m glad you liked it. And it is always nice to meet another gal who goes by Kel.

  22. Kel says

    nice meeting you and your blog too!! I must say though, unless you really love cinnamon (like me!), add the 1 tsp, but otherwise, 1/2 tsp will suffice (or maybe just a tiny bit more than 1/2 tsp =)

    I made a batch last night, and now they are all gone. Must make more! THANK YOU FOR THE RECIPE!

  23. Amy says

    Well we had a cookie cook off and compared cookies. Yours look better but can’t decide on taste they are so close.

  24. Lydia says

    These are delish!! I tweaked it a bit more to my liking 1/4 c. more flour, 3/4 t. kosher salt, and 2 t. vanilla …YUM YUM thanks for the inspiration :)

  25. Kelly says

    Lydia, so glad you like them and I’m so glad you mentioned your tweaks. You really have to get it just right. I find CCC to be a very personal matter. Thanks for reporting back!!

  26. Lori says

    Kelly,
    I know Pitts told you that I made these this weekend for the St. Mark’s Crew team and they were a HUGE hit!!!! My only mistake was not making 12 dozen instead of 6!!!!! These are now a staple for every regatta. They are the PERFECT Chocolate Chip Cookie! Thank you, thank you for sharing the recipe and for your fun blog!!! Can’t wait to try the newest cookie!

  27. Kelly says

    I’m so thrilled. You take such good care of that team. They are lucky to have you.

  28. S vesci says

    Choc. Chip Cookie recipe so good even though I cut way back on the
    amount of sugar.

    Thanks for sharing.

  29. Jacqui says

    I have a giant bag of Ghirardelli chips in the freezer (currently living in Jamaica) I usually use Toll House and my modified toll house recipe where I use more brown sugar and less white. But the Ghirardelli chips were on sale at Mega Mart and I liked reading your Blog so I plan to try your recipe with my daughter since she’s on Easter break this week.

    I usually use wax paper or plastic wrap and roll dough into a log or logs that way they’re already round. then roll in foil (to prvent freezer burn. When I’m ready for hot cookies, I just slice them. I’ve even given away frozen logs to friends and family so they can have some hot cookies at home.

  30. Kelly says

    It is a GREAT friend who gifts people with logs of frozen cookie dough. What a good idea!

  31. Caitlin says

    These are honestly the best cookies ever. I use this recipe every time I make chocolate chip cookies. Thanks so much for sharing!

  32. Kelly says

    Ironically, your comment popped up exactly as I was scooping flour for the CCCs myself. I love them. I’m so glad they make you happy, too.

  33. susan marie says

    Kelly, my search for the perfect cc cookie recipe may finally be over! Your #6 comment struck home with me, for I discovered over the holidays that using Land O Lakes butter over a generic one really does make a difference in the flavor, when the store where I was shopping was out of their brand. What’s really funny is the baked item I was making was your vanilla cake! It was awesome enough all the times I had made it with generic butter, but using LOL butter just sent it over the top! Lesson learned. Now I need to go check the pantry/freezer and see if I have any chocolate chips…

  34. Hilary M. says

    I forgot to tell you I made these last Christmas break and they were so good!!! I didn’t freeze any of them, but they were all eaten :))) Thanks for sharing!!! I love all of the details and pictures on your blog!!

  35. Shelly Wilfong says

    Hi there! I’ve been enjoying your blog since we met at the food swap last week. fun stuff!

    I made these cookies for my super bowl party last night. yummy! (both the dough and cookies!) One issue though… my cookies flattened out entirely too much! I’ve read a few things about why this may happen… too much baking soda, not chilling the dough, beating them too much… just wondering if you have this problem or have experimented with any techniques to keep them plump.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Shelly

  36. Kelly says

    Hi Shelly,

    You hit on an interesting issue. I haven’t had the flat ones in ages. In fact. I made them last night and I wish they had flattened out a little bit more. I think a lot of things contribute to this issue. I now always have very fresh flour, very fresh baking soda and very fresh baking powder on hand. Aside from the list on the post of my precautions, one thing I’ve been experimenting with is cooking them at a higher temperature. I’ve been setting my oven to 370 of late. They have been perfect for the last 100 batches. I do think that sometimes butter is “off” or odd in its fat content. I can’t prove it, but I often wonder if butter has a higher water content at certain times of the year or something. I try very hard to just bake with Challenge or Land O Lakes so that my results are somewhat consistent. I use lots of other types of butter for other applications, but stick with those for baking. Eggs to room temp, butter softened, be sure to cream the sugars nicely, preheat the oven well…those are my best tips. Did you freeze any dough? I’d be curious if they were any different after freezing. It was nice to meet you too! Love your food swap.

  37. Shelly Wilfong says

    Thanks Kelly. It certainly could have been the butter (CM store brand) or possibly less than fresh baking soda. I also used cold eggs! my bad.

    I had some dough refrigerated overnight, and I baked that yesterday. I used parchment rather than a silpat. They were slightly higher, although still pretty flat. (I have been using parchment rather than silpat on my rolled /cut-out cookies. I find that it keeps the cookies from spreading quite so much.)

    I’ll definitely try again with some modifications!

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