Lindsay Ann Bakes: THE BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, June 30, 2011

THE BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

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 My perfect chocolate chip cookie has a sweet buttery flavor with a hint of vanilla. It has got a nice chewy, soft center with perfectly crisp edges, and is studded with classic semi-sweet chocolate chips. 
(Scroll down for the recipe)

For me, the perfect chocolate chip cookie is not too thick, but not too thin. Not too hard and crunchy, not too dry but not too soft and greasy. Not at all cakey, but substantial enough to sink my teeth into.

Most importantly, it has to be easy enough to make with the ingredients in my kitchen... no bread flour or cake flour, just good ol' all-purpose, and no separating eggs or sprinkling with specialty salts. The only extra ingredient called for is a nice cold glass o' milk to pair it with ;) To me, there are the BEST chocolate chip cookies EVER and I hope they become your go-to favorite chocolate chip cookie too!

It took me a long time to create a rich, buttery, caramel-y and flavorful cookie, with crisp edges and chewy center, that can be made on a whim without complicated ingredients or directions.

 I tried and tweaked my recipe over and over in search for the perfect cookie. Here is a little look at 4 different batches ready for comparing.

In addition to testing the different recipes, I also tested what amount of chilling time resulted in the best cookies. I didn't notice a difference until the dough had been chilled for two hours. That is when the flavor got really good. And after a 24 hour chill, the cookies came out aaaamazing!!! So I definitely try and chill the dough over night in the fridge if I have time. If not, a few hours definitely does the trick.

Too dry, too greasy, too flat, to hard, too sweet, not enough flavor... the taste testing was tough... but somebody had to do it ;)

This was a good week in my house. I may or may not have eaten cookies for breakfast for a week straight. 

What is your favorite type of cookie? Thick and cakey? Thin and crispy? Dense and chewy?

I use melted brown butter in addition to room temperature softened butter in my recipe,  as well as a higher ration of brown sugar to white sugar. 

The melted browned butter adds a nice chewy texture and an incredible toffee flavor, while beating the fluffy room temp butter with the sugars get us a nice thick, substantial cookie you can sink your teeth into. The brown sugar adds even more caramely chew, while the white sugar gives us those perfect crispy golden brown edges. 

To make these perfect chocolate chip cookies, start by browning half of the butter (click here for a step-by-step tutorial). Browning the butter, it is what gives the cookies and incredible rich, caramel flavor!

Then, get ready to prepare your dough. Start by beating together the butters and sugars.

Then beat in the vanilla and the eggs,

In goes the flour.

And beat it all together just until you have a nice dough. 

Then we go in with a spatula for the best part...

The chocolate chips!!!

You can also add chopped nuts or any type of additional mix-in you like. Just stir those little morsels in there and you have just made the best cookie dough ever!

Spoon balls of dough onto cookie sheet and pop in the fridge for a few hours or over night, allowing the dough to rest. Refrigerating the dough allows the flavors to develop and time for the dough to absorb the moisture for a flavorful, hydrated and firm dough yielding rich, golden brown cookies that bake up thicker and more evenly with a better consistency, and not too much spreading. 

 If you do not plan on making all of the cookies at once, you can wrap and freeze dough balls for later use. Cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours or frozen to be used in smaller batches. I love freezing the dough so I can pop a few in the toaster oven, for fresh out of the oven, homemade cookies any time.

TIP: I like to add a few extra chocolate chips on top so they bake up nice and pretty.

Once the dough has chilled, bake until edges just start to turn golden brown.

 Enjoy or store at room temperature in an air tight container.

Lindsay Ann's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies* (Recipe can easily be cut in half)
*Click here for a small-batch (8 cookie) version

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/4oz) unsalted butter, melted (browned if desired, for maximum flavor)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/4oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour, weighed or spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (212) packed brown sugar, dark or light
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated white sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup mix-in of your choice, optional (chopped nuts, chopped candy bar, toffee bits, dried fruit, M&M's/Reeses Pieces, etc.)

Melt 1 stick/4oz. of butter  in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to cook it, stirring constantly, until butter turns a light brown color, and gives off a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a heat proof bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool. (Click here for step by step instructions on how to brown butter)

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. With an electric mixer, beat together the cooled brown butter, remaining stick of softened butter, brown sugar, and white sugar, on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down bottom and sides of bowl. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Slowly pour in the flour mixture, on low speed, just until incorporated.  With a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in chocolate chips and mix-ins of your choice. Scoop dough into balls (about 2-3 tablespoons each), cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. Dough balls may also be frozen for later use. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, 2 inches apartBake for about 9-12 minutes, until edges just start to turn golden brown. Do not over bake. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Store at room temperature in an air tight container. 

Notes for perfect cookies
  • Browning your melted butter is highly recommended. It adds an incredible caramel flavor to the cookies that makes them extra special.
  • Refrigerating the dough balls allows the flavors to intensify and time for the dough to absorb the moisture for a flavorful, hydrated and firm dough yielding rich, golden brown cookies that bake up thicker with less spreading. 
  • If you do not plan on making all of the cookies at once, the unbaked cookie dough balls can be can be placed in a ziploc bag and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3-4 months, to be baked in desired quantities. When baking cookie dough balls straight from the freezer, add about 1 minute to the baking time.
  • Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or frozen for up to a few months.

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