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.
2½ sticks of butter (1-1/4 cups)
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar (you can also use dark)
¾ cups granulated sugar
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)
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.
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.