(The Best) Chocolate Chip Cookies

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After my daughter was born I made it a goal of mine to perfect a bunch of classic recipes that I can share with her when she is older. I am determined to have the best pancake recipe for those early Sunday mornings when she and I are the only two people up. I want to send her to school with homemade sourdough bread for her school-lunch sandwiches. And I need to have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe for bake sales, cookie swaps, birthday parties, or those hard days when the only thing that can help is a cookie and milk. Thus began a now 4 month long hunt (albeit a tasty one!) to find my version of the best chocolate chip cookie.

img_3995Ok so I know there are SOOOOO many recipes out there claiming to make the best chocolate chip cookies. And I’m sure they all make a darn good cookie. But here’s something to keep in mind about chocolate chip cookies: one person’s favorite will be someone else’s least favorite. My wife loves a gooey, soft cookie while a friend of mine likes the dense, more cake-like cookie. So where does that leave my recipe? After many, many… many hours of baking and many, many, many taste tests I have come up with a recipe that hopefully pleases the toughest chocolate chip cookie critic. Nutty, soft, fluffy, a crisp bottom, and a gooey center is what you get with this recipe. It’s not too sweet but curbs the worst chocolate craving. Give it a try and let me know what you think! Is this the best chocolate chip cookie recipe? Don’t worry, you can tell me. I won’t tell the others 🙂

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The obligatory cookie dough taste – a must!

(The Best) Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 bag (11.5 oz) extra dark chocolate chips

Sift flour and baking soda into medium bowl. Stir in the salt and nutmeg then set bowl aside. In mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat half of the butter until smooth. Add the sugar, brown sugar, and remaining butter to the mixing bowl and beat until creamy and lightened in color (this may take 5-8 minutes but be patient – it’s worth the wait!). Add one egg at a time, incorporating well after each. Add in the dry ingredients and vanilla and mix until dough comes together (don’t over-mix). Mix in the chocolate chips by hand. Shape the dough into 3 tbsp. balls and place onto cookie sheet or large plate. Cover dough balls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

img_4002Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the chilled cookie dough 2 inches apart on a silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the tray halfway throughout to ensure even baking. Cool baked cookies on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before cooling completely on wire rack.

Recipe notes:

1. Baking on a silpat vs parchment paper?

The answer to that really boils down to your own personal cookie preference. Both parchment paper and a silpat produce a great cookie, but here are a couple tips on how to figure out if one is better for you than the other:

  • Does the recipe contain a good amount of butter? Parchment paper absorbs oils released during the baking process. This means that a good butter cookie doesn’t have to look “buttery/oily” if baked on the absorbent parchment paper. My chocolate chip recipe has a normal amount of butter, however, so you’re welcome to choose either one.
  • Do you like cookies with a crisper, crunchier bottom, or do you prefer a softer bottom? The silpat, because it’s made of non-stick silicone, provides a heat barrier between the cookie bottom and the cookie sheet resulting in soft, uniformly baked cookie without the risk of burning the cookies.
  • Do you have a little extra time to bake the cookies? The beauty of parchment paper is that it’s disposable, making it so you can toss the used paper, replace it with a new one, and continue baking without waiting for a silpat to cool down. The silpat, while it does cool down quickly, takes a little more time to get to the right temperature before you can load up your next batch of cookies. So it’s really up to you how fast you want to eat all of the cookies: right now = parchment paper; 20 extra minutes = silpat.

All that being said, both products produce a delicious cookie. If you have a silpat at home, give it a try with this recipe. If you don’t, no need to run out and get one. My hope is that my recipe will translate just as well when either product is used.

2. Make sure to cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them, especially if you’re using a silpat. Moving them too early disrupts the hardening of the sugars which could result in mushy, under-baked, or flat cookies. Keeping them on the pan allows the sugars to caramelize slowly, making the bottom toffee-like and the center ooey-gooey.

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