That is, of course, in my opinion. And opinions are subjective. But I think these are the best homemade chocolate chip cookies. They’re full of rich chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla and they’re big and have just the right amount of crispiness around the edge and soft, gooey chocolate in the middle. There’s just something about a chocolate chip cookie. It’s the ultimate, feel-good, smile-inducing, pick-me-up, comforting, tummy-rubbing food.
It starts with the smell. You walk into the kitchen and smell chocolate mixed with the smell of buttery cookie and you know, you just know that your mouth is about to taste whatever’s causing that smell…and then The Taste…chocolate, sweet and yet not too sweet…butter…and the magical mix of brown sugar, eggs and flour with the secret flavor that brings it all together…then you wipe that little drop of melted chocolate from the corner of your mouth and you giggle, because really, doesn’t eating a chocolate chip cookie and having melted chocolate on the corner of your mouth make you just want to…giggle?
Here’s the thing. These cookies can be the best chocolate chip cookies. Period. But to make them perfectly, you need to plan ahead. You must show restraint. You will savor the anticipation and mercilessly taunt your children for at least 24 hours, and most importantly—you must hide the dough that is going to sit in your fridge for at least 24 hours! Cover it with a bunch of fresh spinach or perhaps an unremarkable plate of leftovers. But don’t let anyone know it’s there or it will disappear. That kind of takes the fun out of the taunting, doesn’t it? But you’re taunting them by saying, “I think I’ll bake chocolate chip cookies. Day after tomorrow.” Then, “I might bake chocolate chip cookies. Tomorrow.” And finally, when they come running in from school, telling you stories of the day, you can say, “Guess what? Chocolate chip cookies!” And you will be the best mom ever. Period.
I didn’t always let the dough rest in the refrigerator. I used to bake these cookies as soon as I made the dough and they were delicious. Fabulous, even. They were, quite possibly, almost the best homemade chocolate chip cookies. Period. But then I read David Leite’s New York Times article about the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. All of the famous chocolate chip cookie bakers that he interviewed said they allow the dough to rest at least overnight and a few for as long as 36 hours. And, as it turns out, the original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie also chilled overnight, a fact that was never printed on the back of the bag.
I experimented with allowing the dough to sit in the fridge for 24-36 hours, and discovered that this one simple change catapulted my cookies from being almost the best homemade chocolate chip cookies to The Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies. Period.
Let’s make cookies!
Start with 3 cups of flour (I only use White Lily, which has a low protein content) and whisk in 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. Set flour aside.
Now you need 2 sticks of unsalted butter (Land O Lakes). I always double this recipe because I make the cookies so large, so the photos you’ll see here may not match up to what you see if you make a single batch.
Cream the butter and then add 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar and beat until well-blended. Add 2 eggs and 3 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat until creamy and well-blended. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, either beating on low with the mixer or just stirring in gently by hand.
Now, here’s where the fun part begins—mixing all those chocolate chips into the thick batter. The trick is to layer. Pour half the chips into the bottom of a large mixing bowl and then dump half the batter on top.
The secret ingredient? Milk chocolate chips. Several years ago, I went on the Chocolate Chip Cookie Diet. Not kidding. I bought cookies from the bakery at Kroger one day at lunch and ate a couple of them. Then I ate a couple more at dinner. And that’s all I ate. The next day, I wanted more of those cookies. So I ate a couple for breakfast. This phenomenon continued for about 6 days and I actually lost about 8 pounds because all I was eating every day was 7 or 8 large chocolate chip cookies. It wasn’t planned, I just couldn’t stop eating them but once I ate them I’d be full and not want real food.
I know, it’s crazy. But hey, I was in my 20s so I was a little crazy. And Kroger no longer sells those milk chocolate chip cookies, probably because there was some clandestine, secret, addictive ingredient that was making people slaves to those cookies.
The point of that story is that those cookies were made with milk chocolate chips and I fell in love with the taste. I started mixing milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips in my cookie dough, and I love the juxtaposition of flavors.
Stir the dough and chips together a bit and then add more and continue stirring until all the chips are mixed into the dough.
You should probably taste the dough just to make sure it hasn’t turned into poison. It may take a couple of spoonfuls to determine whether it’s safe. Then cover this bowl and place it in the fridge anywhere from 24 to 36 hours. You can bake cookies immediately if you prefer, but they won’t be as good.
Once your dough has rested, scoop out large, heaping tablespoons of dough and roll slightly in your hands to make a ball, usually just a smidgen smaller than a golf ball. Place 8 balls on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 325° for 14-15 minutes. Fourteen minutes leaves the center just a little gooey, which is how we like them. Actually, mine probably bake for about 14 and 1/2 minutes because I set the timer for 14 and then it takes me at least 20 or 30 seconds to actually get over and take them out of the oven. Fifteen minutes is fine also, you just won’t have the gooey middle. Now, scrape one right off the hot pan and eat it, bouncing it from hand to hand and blowing just a little. You know you want to. There’s nothing better than a chocolate chip cookie straight from the oven. And here’s a little secret: the next day when you want a cookie, pop it in the microwave for about 12 seconds. You’ll recapture that just baked soft, melted chocolate experience. It’s divine.
Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 7 or 8 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks. Store in an airtight container after all the cookies have cooled.
These cookies are meant to be shared. Make a large batch and give some to neighbors, friends or strangers walking down the street. They will love you. Maybe not so much with the strangers, but your friends and neighbors will love you. And your kids will think you’re the best mom ever, and who doesn’t need that every now and then?
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (I only use White Lily, which has a low protein content. If you're using flour with a higher protein content it may affect the results.)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (Do not use margarine or any butter substitute. I only use Land O Lakes unsalted butter.)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli)
- 1 12-ounce package milk chocolate chips
- Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl to blend.
- Using electric or stand mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy.
- Add white sugar and brown sugar and beat until well blended. (You should be creaming the butter 5-7 minutes until the texture and color are both light.)
- Add eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture is creamy and well blended.
- Gradually add flour mixture, stirring just until blended.
- Pour half of chocolate chips into the bottom of a large bowl and then add half the dough on top of the chips.
- Stir dough and chips together, then add more chips and more dough until all is mixed together.
- For best results, cover and place dough in refrigerator for 24-36 hours. You can bake these cookies immediately if you wish.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 and line cookie sheet with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat.
- Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball and place on cookie sheet, giving each cookie plenty of room.
- Bake for 14-15 minutes until brown around the edges and pale brown in the middle.
- Cool slightly on cookie sheet.
- Transfer cookies to racks; cool completely.
If your cookies are not turning out like they should, or if they are somewhat cakey or not spreading then it could be one or more of these issues:
1. Flour. The type of flour that you use may affect this recipe. I use White Lily, which has a low protein content. If you’re using King Arthur or Pillsbury, each has a high protein content. You may try substituting 2 cups cake flour and 1 cup of whatever all-purpose you have. I have not tried this but it makes sense to me that it would work because White Lily has a protein content almost as low as cake flour. Please let me know if you try this.
2. Butter. You cannot substitute margarine or any type of butter substitute. And you should not use generic butter. I use Land O’ Lakes Unsalted Butter.
3. Your baking powder and/or baking soda is old. Baking powder and baking soda should be replaced before it’s a year or so old. If older than a year and not kept in an airtight container then the rising properties have diluted.
2. Method. Steps 2, 3, and 4 are important. The butter needs to be creamed until it is light in color and texture, along with the sugar. The eggs should be well-mixed into the batter. This will all take several minutes.
I hope this helps those of you who may have had trouble. Most people make this recipe with no problem and love it! I suspect flour is the biggest culprit for those who have had issues.