I know, I know. Pinterest is bloated with a million of these already. The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER. The One and Only You-are-Dead-to-Me-if-You-Don’t-Die-When-You-Eat-This-It’s-So-Good-I-Would-Sell-My-Firstborn-Child-For-a-Dozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.
This is THE Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Period. Enough said. The end.
This recipe comes of nearly two decades (yes, I started the search in my tween years) of culling, mixing, experimenting, swapping, testing, baking, burning, munching, dunking, fantasizing about the perfect cookie, and chucking the ones that didn’t measure up. And just think, all you have to do is try it out. (You’re welcome.)
Before I get ahead of myself, though, let me just say that “Perfect is as Perfect does,” especially where chocolate chip cookies are concerned. (I’m paraphrasing here, of course, but I think we can all agree that Forest Gump is a man who knows his chocolate.) In my humble opinion, this recipe truly is the closest chocolate chip cookies are ever going to get to perfect. However, you might be looking for something different, and in that case You-are-Dead-to-Me-if-You-Don’t-Die-When-You-Eat-This-It’s-So-Good. (Just kidding!) And just to show there are no hard feelings, I’m including some recipes for other kinds of imperfect chocolate chip cookies (if you’re into that sort of thing). Because I truly believe everybody needs one failsafe, tried-and-true, eat ’em and weep, absolutely perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe in their apron pocket.
If you’re looking for flat/crispy/chewy, then this is not your cookie. Try this one.
If you’re hunting for high/bumpy/cakey, then this is not your cookie. See here.
If you’re craving soft/puffy/grocery store-style chocolate chip cookies, this one won’t be up your alley. Or aisle. Check out this recipe instead. Or your local Safeway.
If you’re looking for anything finicky/complicated/fancy, then this is definitely not your cookie. Try these; they’re legend.
But if what you’re looking for is a crispy-on-the-edges, just-golden, soft/tender/chewy-in-the-center, craggy-on-the-top, vanilla-kissed, buttery, slightly salty, just sweet enough, and chock-full-of-chips cookie? You have come to the right place my friend.
There are a few secrets to these cookies.
1. Use bread flour, not all-purpose. You can use all-purpose, but they won’t be as tender as these cookies. They’re chewy without being tough. It’s a tricky balance to strike with all-purpose, but bread flour changes the game. As does this next little tip.
2. Add a little cornstarch. The magical ingredient in so many baked goods, this gives extra tenderness.
3. Melt the butter. Creaming butter is going to give you a fluffier, lighter cookie. Melting it is going to give you that dense, rich chew you’re looking for. Like tips # 1 + 2, this is all about tender.
4. Up the baking soda. (See #5, the idea is the same.)
5. Use whole eggs. Apart from avoiding the annoying extra white left in the fridge from using an egg + a yolk, this gives a little added lift to the dough when it hits the heat of the oven, which in turn gives you the desired craggy effect on the top of the cookie once it’s out. Provided of course that you follow tip #6.
6. Underbake. That’s right. You want these cookies just shy of done, which means barely browning edges and just-golden tops. They will be too fally-aparty to lift from the tray when you pull them out of the oven. However, a couple minutes on the baking sheet, and they’ll have firmed up beautifully. Crispy without being crunchy. Chewy but still (what’s the magic word?) tender.
7. Set your own time limit. This is where I hand the wheel over to you, because the fact is, everyone’s oven is different. I’m giving you a lower-than-average temp which lets the cookie spread just right on the sheet and gives you some wiggle room to find that sweet spot of just-doneness. However, the final judgment call on when that moment strikes is all yours. You might need to make a batch or two to find your perfect timing, but it’s likely to be somewhere between 12 and 18 minutes. Remember, the cookies should not look done when you pull them out. Trial and error is necessary. But it’s okay. You can still eat the spares.
And that’s it.
I’ve made an allergy-friendly rendition of these babies before. I subbed a gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum included for the bread flour and arrowroot powder for the cornstarch. Unfortunately, my dairy-free readers, there really is no adequate replacement for the butter. The gluten-free cookies are not quite the same but still very good in their own right. I’ll warn you, though. You want to eat any gluten-free baked goods the day you make them. They grow dry and crumbly really quickly after that.
By contrast, the original recipe seems to improve over the next day or two then turns swiftly downhill on day three. But who am I kidding? These cookies’ll never make it to day three.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
the Humble Baker
This, in my humble opinion, is as close as chocolate chip cookies come to perfect. Crisp on the edges, soft and tender on the inside, with just the right level of salty-sweetness and a rich buttery flavor that makes it impossible to eat just one. Or two. Or ten. The key is to slightly undercook them. Be certain to remove them from the oven just at the peak of golden loveliness before they can be called truly baked, and let the baking sheet and some cool air do the firming up for you. It’ll give you just enough time to pour yourself a glass of milk and grab your favorite book. Milk + book + these cookies = perfection.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes (depending on how many trays you use) + 1+ hour chilling time
Yield: 2 dozen
for the cookies:
2 ¼ cups bread flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) salted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
Combine the bread flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scoop the dough using a small ice cream scoop or two average-sized teaspoons (the ones you use for eating cereal, not the measuring spoon kind). Place the dough balls on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between for spreading. Bake for approximately 12 minutes (it can take anywhere from 12-18 minutes depending on your oven and the level of doneness you’re looking for—it may take you a couple of test batches to determine your best cooking time). When the cookies are golden, just beginning to brown on the edges but still slightly undercooked, remove them from the oven.
Leave cookies to cool on baking sheet until they are just firm enough to move (about 2-3 minutes). Remove cookies to cooling rack, if you can balk the temptation. Otherwise, pour a glass of milk, and beware of dripping chocolate.
Make Ahead: Unbaked cookies may be frozen on baking sheets once formed, for twenty minutes. Remove the frozen dough balls from the sheet to a zipper-topped freezer bag and reserve until ready to bake. Bake directly from frozen, but add 5-10 minutes to your cooking time.