Everyone seems to love chocolate chip cookies, however there are many differing opinions on what determines the best. There are multiple variables that contribute to our vision of the perfect cookie, thick or thin, chewy or crisp, large or small, milk chocolate or dark chips, nuts or no nuts, so many factors. For many of us the reason for our personal favorite is often simply childhood memories of our Mothers or Grandmothers baking.
All recipes for chocolate chip cookies seem to start with the same basic ingredients, flour, salt, baking soda, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, chips, and sometimes nuts. It is the amount of each ingredient that is added, and the method of preparation that make the difference. I like a cookie that is soft and chewy, yet has just a bit of crisp at the edge. A cookie that has a buttery rich caramel flavor with just a hint of vanilla, and a delicate balance of bitter and sweet chocolate. So after researching countless recipes, and baking dozens of test cookies using different ratios of ingredients and methods of preparation, I have unlocked the secret to what I feel is the best old-fashioned style chocolate chip cookie ever. Sorry Mom.
To prepare the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie:
(Recipe makes 3½ to 4 dozen 3″ cookies)
Cooks note: One of the secrets I discovered to baking the perfect cookie is to allow the dough to sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking. Egg whites are a very thick protein, and by allowing the dough to rest, the egg becomes completely absorbed into the sugar, butter, and vanilla, creating a richer flavor and a moister cookie. I use equal parts of white and brown sugar, which delivers the softness I desire with just a little crunch. I also found using a mixture of chocolate chips gives a delicious depth of flavor.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (add 2 Tbs. more for high elevation)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown light sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cacao)
- 1 cup of nuts – ½ walnuts and ½ pecans, finely chopped (optional)
In a small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and beat in eggs one at a time until completely blended. Mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated, do not over work. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts if desired. Place in the fridge for 24 hours (of course you can always bake the cookies right away if you prefer not to wait).
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small ice cream scoop, place the balls at least 2″ apart (do not overcrowd). Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until edges are golden. The centers should look a little under done. Cool cookies for two minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool. Allow baking sheets to cool between batches, or alternate baking sheets (placing dough on a hot sheet pan makes the dough melt and spread out more than desired) .