The Classics: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Can you believe in two years of baking up treats for this blog I’ve never shared a traditional, classic chocolate chip cookie recipe? I don’t know how it is possible either. I’ve shared Grapefruit & Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies with an Orange Twist, Chocolate Chip Raisin Spice Cookies, and even Decadently Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies – which is pretty close to the classic but still not close enough. If you’re wondering why I have so many recipes, it is because there are few things in this world more rewarding than a plateful of chocolate chip cookies at the end of a long, busy day.
One of the reasons I have not shared the classic chocolate chip cookie here is because I’ve spent the last few years tweaking my recipe. I have a recipe book with nearly 12 different chocolate chip cookie recipes. Every time I make I seem to change some little detail to see what it will do. Well, two years later I’ve found myself going to the same recipe over and over. This is that recipe.
There are a three rules I have about classic chocolate chip cookies regarding the chocolate alone – because let’s face it; the chocolate is the star. First, chocolate should be the only addition – nothing else. Second, there should be two contrasting chocolates in the cookie – enough to give each bite a unique flavor profile but not too many to overwhelm the palate. Third, the chocolate should be chopped so that very large chunks are left.
As for the cookie dough I have a couple rules too. First, the cookies should be just crisp on the edges, and chewy and soft in the center. Second, the flavor of the cookie should be subtle as to highlight the sweetness and the chocolate flavor.
How do I make a cookie meet these five demanding rules?
Chocolate: I use milk chocolate and then a dark chocolate (60-70% cacao) and will cut my own chunks from a good quality chocolate bar. Chocolate chips usually have extra ingredients to help keep their shape that I don’t want to eat, so I never use them. I also like being able to control the size of the chocolate chunks that you can only do using chocolate bars. And chocolate is one of those ingredients where you should be splurging; it makes a huge difference.
Sugar Cookie: To achieve a soft chewy bite with barely-crisp edges, use of bread flower (high gluten content gives a chewier bite) and watch the baking time carefully. Mixing time can also affect texture. The longer you mix the dough the more likely it will become chewier and tough so beware here. To let the sweetness in the cookie, and the complex chocolate flavors come through, I suggest using very little vanilla extract, no other flavorings, and a little more salt than most recipes call for.
Substitutions: I use turbinado sugar and evaporated cane sugar but you can substitute brown sugar and white sugar for both respectively. If you don’t have bread flour you can substitute all-purpose flour.
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temp.
- 4 ounces turbinado sugar
- 2 ounces cane sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6½ ounces bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Mix the butter and sugar together until completely blended.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix in well.
- Add the flour, salt and baking soda and mix until the dough just comes together.
- Add the chopped chocolate and just mix in.
- Spoon tablespoon sized, or 1" balls of dough on a baking sheet spread a few inches a part (I usually do 12 per baking sheet in four rows of three).
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes until just golden brown. If you want very soft (under-baked) cookies, bake for 8 to 9 minutes. If you want a crisper cookie bake for 13 to 15 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheets for a minute before removing to a wire rack. For a crisper bottom you can leave the cookies on the baking sheet to cool.