Sep 21 2008

The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been on a quest the past few months to figure out the recipe for “the world’s best” (aka, my best) chocolate chip cookies. Why? Because it’s fun, and just like my bread-making experiments, even the “bad” results are still pretty good.

I also wanted to have a general “go-to” chocolate chip cookie recipe that wasn’t a massive amount of work, and wasn’t from the back of a box. Previously, if I needed to make cookies I’d make toll-house. Which aren’t bad, don’t get me wrong, but I did want to make some improvements.

These cookies are big, chewy in the middle, and crunchy along the edges. They are sweet and kind of butterscotchy, but have a little salty taste that works really really well with dark chocolate.

This recipe is based off of a ton of recipes I’ve read from various
places. Due to that, I can’t claim it’s “original,” every technique was
swiped from somewhere, but the combination is all mine. The recipe is
very specific with just about everything, but given that I’m talking
perfection with these cookies (or as close to perfection as I can
attain), the devil is in the details.


2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour (King Arthur recommended)
1 tsp sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp baking soda (FRESH! Not the stuff that’s been sitting in your fridge for a year.)
1/4 cup white (cane) sugar
1 1/4 cup well-packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 yolk (fresh eggs separate better)
2 tbl whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups dark or white chocolate chips (recipe works well with either)

You can also use all white sugar (and kosher salt – don’t use sea salt with all white sugar). The result is a sugar cookie with a slightly crunchy, very chewy texture. It’s a little strange, but they do taste good, and are best served straight from the oven. I prefer the brown/white mixture. The recipe doesn’t really work with all brown sugar.

Sift flour, salt (it is very much worth an extra step to grind fresh sea salt. People may laugh at me for it, but test it yourself – it does make a difference.), and baking soda. Set aside.

Melt the butter. Stove top is always recommended, but I usually just stick it in the microwave.

Add sugar, brown sugar to the butter. Cream. Cream means continue mixing until the texture is smooth and even with air bubbles popping up. It really is important to mix everything well.

Add egg, yolk, milk and vanilla. Be very, very careful not to scramble the egg at this point. I often have to let the whole thing cool down a bit.

Add flour mixture. I generally add half, mix, then add the other half. The idea here is to not overmix the dough, that will make it tough. Stop when it’s all well combined.

Add the chocolate chips, mix. The dough will not be mixable once chilled, so the chips must be fully incorporated.

Chill the dough in the fridge for at least one hour, preferably overnight. 24 hours is always recommended, especially if grocery store vanilla is used. If you’ve never done this before, split a batch. Make half after an hour, save the other half until the next day. The difference is obvious in the way the cookie looks and the flavor, there’s an almost chemical tartness that the cookies lose after the 24 hours. I never noticed the tartness until I tested this, now I can’t ignore it.

When ready to bake, scoop the cookies onto a parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet in large round balls at least an inch apart. I use a non-stick ice scream scooper. Do not forget to line the sheet, the cookies will stick to a non-stick pan, and this recipe does require multiple batches to be cooked. I can’t fit more than 9 cookies on a single pan. Line the pan = no washing in between batches. Using a hot pan will result in thinner crusts on the cookies, which I don’t mind. Yield is 20-ish, it’s always different for me, since I make the cookies as big as feasible.

I have never tried to make regular toll-house sized (tablespoon) cookies out of this recipe. It would probably work, but they may not be as chewy in the center.

If desired, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a teeny bit of sea salt. It’ll result in a nice little crunch.

Bake the cookies in a well pre-heated (pre-heat for at least an hour) 375 degree oven for 9-13 minutes. Baking time will depend on how long the dough chilled, the cookies will brown better (and faster) if the dough sat for at least 24 hours. Rotate the baking sheet once.

Do not overbake the cookies, they need to be watched carefully to make sure they don’t get too brown. The taste changes if they’re baked too long. I’ve had them take as few as 8 to as many as 14 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes. Gently separate any cookies stuck together with a knife or spatula, then move to a cooling rack with the spatula. They should cool for at least 10 more minutes. The cookies will break if not properly cooled. Guaranteed.

The cookies have a pretty decent shelf life (up to two and a half weeks or so in a fridge), and get better with time. I really like the way they are straight from the fridge, almost hard but very chewy, but they’ll be softer if warmed to room temperature. They’ll be very soft and almost fall apart if quickly microwaved, which is also yummy. They can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for a week.

If you try these, let me know what you think, and if you think any improvements can be made. These are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve come up with, but any recipe can almost always be tweaked further, and I’m always ready to play some more.

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