Can I share with you a mission that I’ve been on for a better chunk of my life? It may seem minor, but it is truly a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie that I love.
I’ve tried all sorts of tips and tricks to achieve just the right gooey-ness, crispiness, thickness, cakey-ness, ratio of chocolate-to-batter-ness….
I’m not often able to repeat the same formula twice, but each time I do bake up a batch, I try something just a little different (amount of flour, white and brown sugar combinations, temperature of butter)… all in the name of one day nailing down that perfect golden cookie. It’s a trait that I thank my Grandma for (who, by the way, insisted I have the basic chocolate chip Tollhouse cookie dough recipe memorized by age 10 or so).
I’ve come up with a list of tips that have served me well, and I thought I’d take a moment to capture a recent baking session and share those today. If you have a few tricks up your own sleeve – do share in the comments section!
7 Tips for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
1. I cream everything by hand: I started doing this out of laziness (cleaning the mixer seemed like so much work to make a mere batch) but actually found that this results in delicious cookies. Many will swear by ‘whipping’ the butter and sugar together, but I mix (thoroughly) almost everything by hand with a pastry blender and because of it bake much more often that I probably would.
I also love to use butter and eggs that are at room temp (so baking cookies takes a little foresight, maybe 30 minutes or so). Patience is not my forte so I don’t love this part and am always proud of myself when I think to take these out of the fridge before Liv and I want to start baking.
2. Chocolate chip variety: milk, dark, white chocolate… all of the above. I am partial to Ghirardelli chips for milk chocolate but haven’t found a semi-sweet, dark or white that is a must for me. Here’s a really great tip to help with chocolate variety, too!
3. Work only with the best: this is an obvious one. Musts include: cuteness, adorable cookie comments and sneaking dough from the bowl. Oh, and the three-year-old? She’s helpful, too.
4. Freeze cookie dough: for at least ten minutes, and preferably overnight. I LOVE to make a batch in advance and pull out dough balls as needed (5 tonight after dinner, 1 raw to snack on… you know). Freshly baked is just the best. Freezing overnight means that the ingredients (mainly the butter) will take longer to bake in the oven and leaves me with a non-spreading or runny cookie.
The above is a tiny baking sheet from our toaster oven in our freezer for freezer purposes only. I’ll reposition the cookies onto an actual baking sheet lined with parchment paper before baking.
Once frozen, cookie dough can easily be stored for later baking (or snacking).
5. Use parchment paper: there’s nothing easier and cleaner than working with a sheet of parchment paper, but I also love how the bottom of the cookie bakes and how all of the moisture is sort of trapped inside of the finished, not-cakey, not-too-crispy cookie.
6. Bake for 2/3 of the suggested time: most cookie recipes call for 10-12 minutes in the oven at 350. I’ve tried out lower and higher temps but have found the most success in just pulling cookies out earlier than called for. I don’t move them from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack (which stops the baking process – but makes more of a mess to clean up) so by pulling them out at, say, 8 minutes, I’m able to leave them to continue their heating process outside of the oven until cool. And that is perfection. Plus, I like them slightly browned but mostly a little doughier/softer on the inside, taste-wise.
7. Add chocolate chips as soon they come out of the oven: I used to add chocolate chips to the tops of each cookie dough ball before baking, but now that I use my freezer technique I find myself popping extra chips into place while they’re still warm (the chocolate melts into amazingness, too), fresh from the oven. This helps to deflate the cookie a bit and makes them yummier looking (and tasting).
Now on to the recipe…
Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (8 oz) butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tb pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 to 3 cups flour (I adjust this as I’m working with the dough)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
LOTS of chocolate chips and candy bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend room temperature butter with pastry blender until soft and slightly whipped, add white and brown sugar half cup at a time and continue to hand mix. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix, mix, mix. Add vanilla and mix, mix, mix.
In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed wet mixture by the half cup while also blending with pastry blender. Using the pastry blender helps ‘cut’ the ingredients together and is my favorite, but if you wanted to use an electric mixer you could. Mix in chocolate chips by the plenty with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Using a cookie scoop (planning on freeze-ability here), drop balls of dough onto a small cookie sheet or baking pan lined with parchment paper (double check beforehand that this container/sheet will fit in your freezer). Freeze for 10 minutes. Store dough balls in the freezer in a freezer-safe tupperware container for future use or bake for 8 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.