I never thought I’d post a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Everybody everywhere makes chocolate chip cookies. Everyone has their favorite recipe, their secret trick, their family’s classic. Heated debates will start between chewy vs. crispy camps and nuts vs. no-nuts supporters (chewy, obviously, and I go back and forth on nuts). The New York Times interviewed some of the major players in the baking world and declared that they’d found the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. So I figured the chocolate chip cookie thing had been done to death.
But you see, I bought a seriously huge bag of chocolate chips at Costco that I thought at the time would be a solid investment, and then I got them home and remembered that chocolate chips are my Kryptonite and they were going to destroy me unless I used up as many of them as I could. I’ve been pretty good about actually putting them in food instead of straight into my mouth, and I’m going to use the tail-end of the bag to make a batch of Deb’s fudge pops here soon. This weekend, though, was the first weekend in a while I haven’t been lying in bed sick in some way or other, the temperature has dropped and it is lovely and breezy and slightly overcast, and my apartment is slowly getting cleaner, and what could possibly be more cozy and domestic than chocolate chip cookies? I usually just crank out the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag, but I felt slightly more industrious, so I did my internet research, chose a little of this recipe and a little of that one, made some lucky mistakes, and somehow produced what might be the best chocolate chip cookies I, Sweets, have ever made. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they’re the ULTIMATE ones, but I did find some simple little tweaks that take a classic recipe to levels of Dang, These Are Pretty Darned Good.
The tricks that really take the chocolate chip cookie from basic to badass are as follows: 1) Get rid of one egg white, 2) add a sprinkling of sea salt, and 3) give it time. Using 1 egg + 1 yolk instead of 2 eggs sort of glues everything together and encourages chewiness over crispiness. We all know by now that adding a hint of saltiness takes sweet treats to a new realm of deliciousness. Finally, almost all of the “best ever” recipes I consulted agreed that your cookie dough improves exponentially by being allowed to sit in the fridge for 36-72 hours before baking. It has something to do with giving the flour enough time to absorb all of the egg and butter, which again encourages a slightly crisp exterior and a meltingly chewy interior (making giant cookies intensifies this crisp-then-chewy effect). Will your cookies still be chewy and scrumptious if you bake them right away? Well, I tried baking a few right after mixing and then a few more two days later (FOR SCIENCE), and I’m happy to report that cookies made with fresh dough are totally delicious, and you will offend no one. I have to say, though, that the cookies I made a few days later are, frankly, sublime. The texture is better and the flavor is richer and deeper. If you can bear to wait, you’ll be handsomely rewarded.
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. dark brown sugar (use dark brown instead of light if you can, for a deeper flavor)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 c. chocolate chips (I’d be lying if I didn’t say my “cups” of chocolate chips are very, very generous)
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together onto a piece of waxed paper and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until very smooth and fluffy. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat until combined, then beat in vanilla extract. Reduce mixer speed to low while gradually adding the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chips and stir with a rubber spatula until well-combined. Position generous tablespoons of dough evenly spaced on the prepared cookie sheets. You can also use an ice cream scoop to make massive, decadent cookies (bake only about six on a sheet if you go this route). Grate a sprinkling of sea salt over the top of each cookie. Bake for about 12-14 minutes (15-18 if you went for the giant cookies, and if your dough has just come out of the fridge you may need to add a few more minutes to the baking time) until slightly golden. Allow to cool on the sheet for five minutes before transferring to a plate or cooling rack.
These cookies will freeze, well-wrapped, in an airtight container. However, rather than freeze the finished product, I recommend freezing the dough instead. Prepare everything as you would if you were going to bake them right away, and arrange scoops of dough on a cookie sheet. Place the entire sheet in the freezer for an hour or until the cookie dough balls are frozen solid. Transfer the frozen, unbaked cookies to a ziplock freezer bag or an airtight container. When you’re ready to bake, simply place the frozen dough balls back on a prepped cookie sheet and bake as you normally would, adding a few minutes to the baking time (no need to defrost).
Lingerie pick for chocolate chip cookies? Who are we kidding: PAJAMAS. I have a warm snuggly bathrobe for colder seasons, but my lightweight robe finally bit the dust. It’s so stretched out the waist is practically at my knees. So I’ve been online window shopping. While my heart wants to eat my chocolate chip cookies with a glass of whiskey wearing this:
It’s more likely/practical that I’d eat my warm, gooey, melty, luscious chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk wearing a snuggly yet lightweight robe like this: