Instructables

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

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I tested five chocolate chip cookie recipes to bring you what I consider to be far and away the best chocolate chip cookie recipe in existence. 

In an exhaustive search to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie - the sole recipe I will use from now on and pass down through the generations -  I made sure to test out the most popular recipes I could find.  Candidates for tastiest chocolate chipper included:
The winning cookies taste like they came from a high-end bakery, I'm not even kidding you. But you can make them yourself - it's easy!

I tell you this, Instructables fans, I hesitated to share the results of this experiment with you. It is now one of the most potent tools in my recipe belt, and I have secretly entertained fantasies of launching my own bakery, based on the inspiration provided by this recipe alone. But alas, I already have an awesome job here at Instructables HQ, and it would be criminal of me to keep this secret to myself.

If you follow this recipe, you'll soon be known wide and far for your amazing chocolate chip cookie skills, and will be called upon to provide them at every function. I recommend making up a huge batch and storing them in the freezer. What could be better than surprising your guests with freshly-baked, bakery-quality chocolate chip cookies in fifteen minutes?

Nothing. That's what.

 
 
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Step 1: Ingredients

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If you have a scale, the whole recipe is made easier by measuring the weights of your ingredients.  If you don't have a scale, you should get one!  :)

And here I present to you, David Lebovitz's recipe, the winningest cookie in the world (or at least my kitchen):
  • 2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces/225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (215 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (about 225 g) nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 14 ounces (400 g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt for sprinkling on top (what??)

Step 2: Secrets Revealed


I did not embark on this experiment lightly.  I read everything I could find about what makes a chocolate chip cookie truly outstanding, and gained the most insight from the experiment that inspired this one, performed by David Leite for the New York Times in July of 2008.  Our results, however, differed, though the few secrets revealed in the article remain invaluable.

The key secret in making amazing chocolate chip cookies seems to be in how long you let the dough sit before baking.  Even Mrs. Wakefield employed this technique when she invented the original Nestle Toll House recipe - it just didn't make it onto the package!

Leaving the dough in the fridge for 24-36 hours allows the ingredients to fully soak up the liquid, and result in a firmer dough which bakes to a better consistency.

A long hydration time is important because eggs, unlike, say, water, are gelatinous and slow-moving. And since butter coats the flour, it makes it difficult for the liquids to get through to the dry ingredients.

Another hint is to rotate the cookie sheet mid-way through baking.  This allows your cookies to bake evenly, regardless of where the hottest part of your oven is.  This simple trick was a game-changer for me, and I'll never do otherwise again!

The NYTimes article suggests there's no substitute for a 6" cookie whose dough has been left in the fridge for at least 36 hours.  But after this experiment, I care to differ.

Step 3: The Prep

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First you want to toast you some nuts.  This makes for the extra yum.  If you're allergic, I guess you should skip this part. 
In a pre-heated 350oF (180C) oven bake:
  • 2 cups (about 225 g) nuts (I prefer pecans in this recipe)  
for 10 mintues on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Let cool.  If you don't it will cause your chocolate pieces to get melty in the batter.  Which is what happened to me.  Which I rather liked and will probably be doing again.  So choose your own adventure.

While those are baking, chop up:
  • 14 ounces (400 g) bittersweet chocolate
Insider tip: for the ultimate cookie, use only chocolate with at least 60 percent cacao content and shoot for a ratio of chocolate to dough of no less than 40 to 60.


Step 4: The Procedure

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The primary step in most cookie recipes is to sift together the dry ingredients. So do that. In a bowl, sift or whisk (easier!) together:

* 2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/8 teaspoon salt

In a separate bowl (preferably with an electric mixer) beat together:

* 1 cup (8 ounces/225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 cup (215 g) packed light brown sugar
* 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

One at a time, add:

* 2 eggs

beating thoroughly after each addition until each is incorporated.

Slowly stir in flour mixture until fully incorporated.

Finally, stir in chocolate and nuts.

Step 5: The Hard Part

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You know what I'm going to say.  It's time to wait.  It's time to take all this precious cookie dough you just made. . . and not eat it.

Divide the dough into quarters.  Roll each dough into a log about 9in (23cm) long and wrap in plastic. 

Stick em in the fridge for the next 24 hours, and try to forget you knew anything about them.


Step 6: Let's Be Serious

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You are not going to wait the 24 hours.  I know this, you know this, who are we kidding?  Nonetheless, it's absolutely worth the wait, so here's my  suggestion to get you through the next  24 hours.

Though this is not in the original recipe, I strongly recommend saving apart a small portion of dough - 1/2 of one of the logs maybe, and proceeding to the next step.  Not only will this quell your desire to break into the fridge at midnight and eat one whole log straight from the wrapper, it will give you the opportunity to compare and contrast the benefits of allowing your dough to rest.

So do it!  Just don't tell David I said so.  ;)

Step 7: The Baking

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Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Slice the logs into disks 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick and place the disks 3 inches (8 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets. If the nuts or chips crumble out, push them back in.

Scoochmaroo Super Tip:  Sprinkle the cookie slices with a small amount of sea salt.  This will really make them sing! 


Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the sheet midway through.  If you prefer a chewier cookie, scale back the time a bit

(how did I not get a picture of the cookies being baked? I don't know!!)

Let cookies cool on the baking sheet until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack. 

Baked cookies will store in an airtight container for 4 days.  Unbaked dough can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to a month.

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danstax3 years ago
Wow, I tried to make these, and what a disappointment. I did everything like the recipe with the following exceptions. I didn't have enough all-purpose flour, so I mixed cake flour (no gluten) and bread flour (lots of gluten). I didn't have baking soda, but baking powder is pretty close, isn't it? I had a packet of salt from Wendy's, must be about 1/8 tsp. I was low on butter, so I used olive oil and lard, mixed. Had dark brown sugar, so I mixed it with some Splenda to lighten it up. Granulated sugar? No, but some really old confectioner's sugar that was grainy. The vanilla extract was dried up, but I had some Kroger brand "Very Vanilla Ice Cream" that looked good. The eggs I had must have been in a warm room, or they might have been lightly boiled once. They seemed semi-solid. I was surprise to find I did have some nuts I didn't remember buying. They were in a bottom drawer for some reason in a bed of little newspaper pieces and what looked like little licorice sprinkles. They cleaned up okay. I really didn't want to spend a lot of money on fancy chocolate, so I chopped some chocolate bunnies I had left over from Easter. (minus the ears, of course). I didn't have any sea salt, either, but I had bath salts, and salt is salt, and they both got something to do with water, right? I mixed it just like you said, only I don't have a stand mixer, so I threw it all in a blender on puree for 20 minutes. You were right, I couldn't wait 24 hours, so I stuck it in the freezer for 2.4 hours. I feel that ratio is just about correct. I didn't want a bunch of little cookies, I wanted a big one like from the mall, so I put the dough in a frying pan, and since it was so big, I figured it needed more heat to bake evenly, so I set the oven at 450. After 5 minutes, I turned the frying pan around, just like you said. After 10 minutes, I took my giant cookie out of the oven. This was a nasty, gooey, yet burned, soapy tasting mess!!! What I want to know, is, would using parchment paper have made a difference?

Okay, truth is I made them according to directions, they are wonderful, and everyone who has tried them has loved them. The sea salt is da bomb! Thanks for the recipe.
scoochmaroo (author)  danstax3 years ago
Your problem was obviously the parchment.
it was a joke LOL :D
MrFlynn danstax2 years ago
LAWL
hehe at the beginning, i didn't notice you were joking, and i figured the reason it was bad was cause you used baking powder instead of soda :) hehe, but then i read the comments, and then i read that last sentence, and then i read the entire paragraph :) great laugh :) o, and great recipe, I'm about to try it out :)
OMG My eyes kept getting bigger as I was reading on & finally when I read you used bath salts I was really wondering how you lived,but caught onto the joke & thanks for the laugh..it was very funny!!!
Best laugh I've had in a long time. Reminds me of the time I had company for dinner back in the 70's and made stuffed (twice baked) potatoes. I use chedder cheese, sour cream, chopped green chile, chopped onions, parsley, salt and pepper and refill the potatoes and pile high then top with more grated cheese and a bit of paprika for color. My friend went crazy about them and asked for the recipe. Months later she invited us over for dinner and served "my potatoes".....or so she said. They were flat and butt ugly. She complained that they didn't taste as good as mine. I asked her how she made them. Well she said, "I left out the sour cream and green chile because I don't like sour cream and used milk instead and I didn't have any green chile."

If you love what was served to you, why would you change the recipe? Makes no sense. You shouldn't even post here unless you've already tried the original recipe.........then........improved on it.

The note above is hysterical and reminds me of my dear old friend, Lorene, the tranplante Texan. Other wise, she was a great cook.
Thanks, this (the original) recipe is great, definitely worth making a big batch, everyone loves them!
I think this is the funniest thing I have read in a long time.... sad thing is... I know people like this! LOL
grue danstax3 years ago
bath salt? i don't think it's NaCl
Dentyp1 year ago
Really good cookies. I baked 1 log straight away (as instructed). They were delicious and I thought how much better can they really taste after leaving them for 24 hours. Wow. They were divine. It was amazing. I had yesterday's cookie in 1 hand and today's cookie in the other and took a bite from each and the flavor was so much more developed after 24 hours in the fridge. And the addition of salt flakes is genius. Will definitely be using this recipe again and again.
jimdonald2 years ago
I made the logs last night (and yes, I managed to go 24 hours without wanting to eat them!) and baked my first batch a couple of hours ago. Hands down the best chocolate chip recipe ever! I sat wondering between the creating process yesterday and the baking today how the hell does sea salt work in this? Answer: It does. Next time someone says "You know what sounds stupid in a chocolate chip recipe? Sea salt.", go up and smack them upside the head. The salt definitely bumps the flavor up way more than a notch.

The instructions were great and easy to follow. The end result is I think I'll be making these all of the time! Thanks for sharing this!
tanps2 years ago
I don't normally write a comment. But for this reciepe i should. It is AMAZING GOOD!!...I used only brown sugar and less, i don't like it to be too sweet, and i add a little bit of instant coffee to have it a bit bitter. The sea salt make it a WOW for everyone. Thanks for the good share!!
djost0074 years ago
Still thinking about how GOOD these cookies were. Luckily, I snapped some pics to remind me of them...OK..., I can't take it anymore! I'm going to be starting another batch tomorrow.

BTW, I have noticed that some folks have had a few challenges making this recipe. Persevere! They ARE worth it!!

Cheers,

DJ
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djost0074 years ago
Just tried this, and OMG!!!!! These are, by far, the BEST Chocolate Chip cookies I have ever made (in 30 years of baking cookies), and perhaps ever tasted. Well done!
rujerro6 months ago

I made the dough and it tasted exactly like Tollhouse cookies..I looked at the recipe for Tollhouse and sure enough, the recipes are pretty much the same. Tollhouse uses salted butter while your recipe is unsalted butter + sea salt. But basically, the same recipe.

My dad asked me to make chocolate chip cookies for the nurse at his Doctor's office, her favourite kind. Found your recipe (used 3 kinds of chocolate - what I had in house)... She said they are the BEST, and people have brought her lots over the years! Thanks
sup guys i LOVE these they are EPIK nice job schooc ive followed you by the way
;)
tinpie1 year ago
Well, you did it again...another fantastic instructables...your writing is so wonderful...it was as if you were talking to us...enough with that nonsense...
this is almost the exact version of how I make them with the exception of the sea salt and the chocolate selection...I have always noticed that they came out so much better when I made a large batch and only baked part of  it the first day and then took out of the remaining batch from the refrigerator the next day...I also freeze a batch, so I don't have to clean up the kitchen every time I am in the mood for a cookie...
I promise I will make this exact receipt and will let you know of my results....
Great job on your research....
J-
scoochmaroo (author)  tinpie1 year ago
Thank you so much! I'm going to be sharing a similar recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies soon!
I am going to be trying these soon and hoping that the French flour, which has ever failed me when I attempt American baking recipes, will pull through for me on this one!
scoochmaroo (author)  forthegoodknight1 year ago
You might have to send me some of this French flour to experiment with ! Or better yet, I'll just have to come over there and try it out. I bet the protein content is different.
THOROUGHLY disappointed. I followed the recipe exactly, and they came out light and fluffy, like cookie cakes (and about 4cm high!). I found the actual cookie bit between the delicious chocolate rather tasteless and would rather put a little extra salt in the dough than on top.
I'm really stumped as to how they got so cakey. Any ideas??
I know it is nearly a year since you posted but I just made these cookies and I found that the cookies that I cut a bit thicker were a bit cakey in the middle but the thinner ones were perfect. So try again and maybe cut the dough 1/2 the size of the recipe and maybe cook for 12 mins instead of 10.
Awesome recipe! Thanks for sharing it! I was just wondering how many cookies does this recipe make? And also would I be able to half this recipe?
sfox91 year ago
I'm planning to make these for Thanksgiving. I was wondering, though, do I use coarse or fine sea salt? And I couldn't find bittersweet chocolate, should I use semi-sweet or unsweetened? Thanks so much, can't wait to try these!
scoochmaroo (author)  sfox91 year ago
The sea salt is up to you. I just bought some that's "coarse" and it's like rocks! Much bigger than I'd seen before. Either way, just have a light touch with it. Use the semi-sweet chocolate, since unsweetened would be too bitter.
MKosterich2 years ago
I have a pretty awesome cookie recipe as well... I think it is time for a bake off!
bowow08072 years ago
I had to healthy mine up one time, because i didn't have anymore APF all I had was whole wheat flour. But the cookies still tasted delicious!
manadhon2 years ago
I'll have to tell my mom about this.
She works at a nestle toll house cafe.
Bleu Eyes2 years ago
I made these cookies a few nights ago, and they were DELICIOUS!!!!!! Thank you for posting this instructible, I love cookies, and these were amazing:) Well done.
Dan394 years ago
uhhh just finished mixing it all and its kindy too mushy to roll into logs. im putting it in fridge for like 10 minutes, see if it gets a lil hardy so i can roll into logs ooo wait looks like you put some flour down on table? that may help like i said, i never cook lol
scoochmaroo (author)  Dan394 years ago
It might be too warm where you are, or the dough may be overworked. You did the right thing! Yeah, I added flour to my marble counter tops to keep the dough from sticking while I rolled the. Good luck, I have my fingers crossed for you!
it was like maybe 75-76 degrees F in kitchen.

yea we were mixing for like a half hour at least with electric mixer. like i said, im only 20, i never bake, so this all takes me forever to do lol.

i baked 1 log. the cookies flattened out a good bit... maybe i used 2 too large eggs or something?

well it looks like we put too much chocolate in. i used the 14 ounces like in the recipe, but when i put it into mix i scraped it off cutting board, and all the like tiny chocolate pieces and chocolate dust went it, maybe next time ill only put in the chip sized pieces...
Be sure that you don't *melt* the butter - it should be soft and at room temperature, but not melted - this makes a big difference. I know, because I used to do that - lol. It also sounds like you might have overworked the dough a bit - 30 minutes of mixer time sounds a tad excessive ;) As with all things, cooking requires practice, too.
oops.......no melting the butter
I have sliced the logs into discs as the recipe commands and i am currently preheating my oven. Then, to my terror, I wonder. Should I press the discs so that they spread out or not?
NO
imbignate3 years ago
how many cookies does this recipe make?
A lot!
(About 25-45 depending on how big you make them)
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