The perfect chocolate chip cookie is elusive; for some, it's a life long search. Sometimes, when the mood strikes and time is tight, the back-of-the-bag recipe is just fine. Sometimes, you just want it for the raw dough (or at least I do). But if you're seeking perfection, it takes a long time to find a recipe that tastes amazing, has an ideal rise, and impeccable texture.
This recipe has been years in the making - and no, it's not perfect. I doubt I'll ever think anything I make is truly perfect - there's always room to improve in my mind (the perfectionist's curse). But it's certainly the closest I've come to creating a flawless chocolate chip cookie; soft and chewy, not too thin, the right balance of sweetness and chocolate (incidentally, if you're looking for a crisp cookie, this isn't the recipe for you).
This recipe differs from the average chocolate chip cookie in a few ways. The first, and most glaring difference, is that this recipe uses melted butter instead of the creaming method. This makes it faster, easier, and lowers the effort when it comes to mixing the dough. The shaping of the cookies themselves is another break from tradition, a method of my own invention (not to say it's 100% original, just that no one taught it to me). By shaping the cookies into pillars instead of scoops and refrigerating before baking, the melted butter dough is able to retain height while baking, thus ensuring a chewier, thicker cookie. As ever, don't rush this one. Mixing, shaping, chilling - these are all as important to baking, as the actual act of baking itself.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 256 g all purpose flour (2 cups)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 166 g butter (3/4 cup, 1.5 sticks)
- 212 g brown sugar (1 cup, packed)*
- 111 g white sugar (1/2 cup)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 260 g semi sweet chocolate chips (~1.5 cups)
- parchment paper, plus oil or baking spray for sticking it down
* I make my own brown sugar at home (which sounds more impressive than it is; all it takes is white sugar and some molasses in a food processor) so I can't say for sure what the store-bough equivalent is. Dark or light brown sugar is fine, just use what you have at home.
** As always, quality of ingredients matters (often just as much as the recipe itself). Using higher quality butter, flour, and eggs will make for a more impressive end result. When it comes to sugar though, always stick to the generic white granulated (like Domino) unless a recipe calls for something specific.
1. WHISK together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
2. COMBINE the brown and white sugar in a large bowl.
3. MELT the butter. Add it to the sugar bowl while still hot, and whisk until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Hot butter will encourage the sugars to dissolve, creating a better emulsion.
4. WHISK in the whole egg, the yolk, and the vanilla. Whisk for about a minute or so - you'll see the dough lighten a little. You don't need to whip air into the dough though, so don't whisk too long.
5. ADD half the flour to the bowl, and whisk until almost completely incorporated. Throw in the rest of the flour, and whisk until just combined and homogenous.
6. STIR in the chocolate chips gently, taking care not to mix more than necessary.
7. SCOOP the dough into 1/4 cup portions. Roll the balls of dough between your hands to make a short pillar, approximately 2 inches tall. Don't worry if it's not perfect, you can reshape it once it's been in the fridge.
8. COVER and chill the dough, for at least 2 hours, but preferably up to 24 hours.
9. PREHEAT the oven to 350 degrees (f) for at least a half an hour before baking. If you have a convection oven, I'd recommend baking your first batch at 325 degrees (f) and seeing how they turn out. 350 will likely be too hot for a convection oven, especially compared to the dinky stove in my apartment that looks (at minimum) 30 years old.
10. RESHAPE the dough pillars if necessary to smooth and straighten them out. I usually press them down a little to make them nice and flat on the bottom, that way they don't wobble and tip over while baking. The straighter and more even they are, the better they'll bake. Keep the cookies that aren't being baked in the fridge, so they remain chilled until they go in the oven.
11. SPRAY a baking tray with nonstick spray or dab some oil on it. Cover the sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.
12. PLACE four cookies on the baking tray, spaced well apart. Depending on the size of your tray you may be able to add more in the next few batches of baking, but it's best to start small and give them enough room to spread. Crowding the cookies won't just make them melt together, it cuts down on the air flow between your cookies, and that air flow ensures an even bake.
13. BAKE the cookies for 8 minutes, turn the tray, and bake for 8 minutes more. The cookies should be just starting to brown on the edges. They make look pale, but trust that they'll solidify more once cooled. Remove the cookies from the oven.
14. COOL for a few minutes on the baking tray, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack using a spatula. After that, it's up to you how long you wait before eating them.
15. STORE the cookies in an airtight container or ziplock bag once they've cooled completely.