The internet can be an overwhelming place when it comes to finding a chocolate chip cookie recipe. You type “chocolate chip cookie” into a Google search and suddenly you’re bombarded with thousands of recipes featuring various techniques, many of which ask more of you than you’re willing to give right now. There are recipes that have you age the dough for twenty-four hours, there are recipes that have you melt the butter, others that have you bring it to room temperature (which, in this L.A. heat, is basically the same thing).
Here’s my most controversial opinion: almost all chocolate chip cookie recipes are the same — with varying amounts of brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate — and you don’t need the best one or the latest one; you just need a very good one. Look no further.
This is the recipe that I use whenever the situation calls for chocolate chip cookies. It comes to us from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day, one of my favorite baking books, and it’s as simple to put together as it is to eat. It yields a most excellent cookie, as long as you follow a few basic tips.
Tip one: use the best butter you can. I’ve been going through a Kerrygold phase (because I saw Melissa Clark using it in one of her Instagram stories) and the fat percentage of the butter yields a more decadent cookie. Tip two: use the best chocolate you can. I buy a big bar of Scharffen Berger Bittersweet at Gelson’s, which has more chocolate in it than you need for these cookies, so chop what you need with a big knife and snack on the rest.
It is important to bring your butter and eggs to room temperature (as much as I mocked that in the first paragraph), but since it’s summer, that should only take about thirty minutes tops. Use an ice cream scoop to shape them; it’s actually a lot easier that way. And, finally, be generous with the salt you sprinkle on top. It gives the cookies a tingly sensation that makes you want to keep going back for more (it’s fine, swimsuit season is basically over).
I made these cookies for our neighbors who brought in our mail and took out our trash while we were gone these past ten days. I didn’t ask them what they thought, and they didn’t task me for the recipe, but that’s what happens when you make very good chocolate chip cookies. You just eat them and feel happy. What more do you expect from a cookie?
Very Good Chocolate Chip Cookies
My go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.
Servings 24 cookies
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature If you use Kerrygold, it's just one package.
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups semisweet or bitterwsweet chocolate chunks Best to chop the chocolate yourself from a bar. I recommend Scharffen Berger.
- Fleur de sel, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream together the butter, vanilla, and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the eggs and mix for no more than 1 minute; the eggs will not be fully incorporated. Turn the speed down to low and add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating until just combined. With the mixer running, sprinkle in the chocolate chunks, beating until just combined.
Using a large ice cream scoop or a 1/4-cup measuring cup to form the cookies and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between the cookies to allow for spreading. Lightly tap each cookie with the palm of your hand and sprinkle the cookies with fleur de sel.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time for even doneness. The cookies should be golden brown around the edges but still light in the centers. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container (if you can resist eating them all) for up to 3 days at room tempearture.
If you want to save a treat for later, bake one tray of cookies now and stick the other in the freezer. Leave them overnight and the next morning, lift them into freezer bags and keep them in the freezer for up to three months. When you want to use them, just place them on a baking sheet and bake like normal, adding a few more minutes to the baking time.
Perfection? It’s Warm and Has A Secret (David Leite, The New York Times)
Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies (A Brown Table)