Everyone’s perfect chocolate chip cookie is different. There doesn’t seem to be a one-size-fits-all when it comes to chocolate chip cookie recipes. I’ve made many many chocolate chip cookies over the years, but I have never found my perfect recipe. Until now. I’ve been researching how different elements participate in creating the best chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made test batch after test batch as I often do when creating a new recipe. These cookies truly are perfectly soft, chewy, and the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made from scratch.
What is the perfect chocolate chip cookie?
My idea of the perfect chocolate chip cookie is soft, chewy, without any crispy edges. You’ll get SOME crisp with this recipe, but it’s not as crispy as other recipes. I like a cookie with enough body to hold the chocolate because while I do love the idea of eating mostly melted chocolate, my ideal cookie has a balanced ratio of 60/40 chocolate to cookie. I love extra flakey salt, dark chocolate, and a cookie that is even better the next day. This recipe is intense, but it really does produce the best chocolate chip cookies.
Tips for baking the perfect chocolate chip cookies:
Use Dark Brown Sugar - I tested with both light brown and dark brown sugar. The end result includes dark vs light in this recipe. The dark brown sugar produced a richer, darker flavor when paired with the dark chocolate. While making this recipe I researched a lot about the difference between the two sugars and came across this interesting article on Bon Appétit if you’re interested in reading how brown sugar also affects how the cookie rises in the oven.
Use Softened Butter - A lot of recipes called for melted butter in chocolate chip cookies. I did test batches with softened butter, melted butter, and a combination of half-n-half in one test batch. My final result is to use softened butter. Here’s why: melted butter melts the cookies faster in the oven. As mentioned above, I don’t love crispy edges. Using softened butter which is firmer than when melted allows the cookies to spread out at a slower pace which provides an even cookie.
Use European Salted Butter - I did test batches with both salted and unsalted butter. The salted better added more overall flavor and created a richer cookie taste. If you only have unsalted then increase your salt by ½ a teaspoon. European butter is often preferred in baked goods. You can look a the difference in the coloring alone between European and American butter. European butter has a rich yellow coloring which reflects its ricer, fattier content.
Use Bittersweet Chocolate - I love the taste of bittersweet chocolate because it is less sweet than semi-sweet or milk chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate has more flavor and adds cocoa properties without adding additional sweetness. This recipe has been created with the correct sugar contents based on the use of bittersweet chocolate. If you prefer milk chocolate or semi-sweet, I recommend doing a few test batches adding or removing sugar to your taste preference.
Don’t Overmix - If you’ve made any of my baked goods from my previous recipes, then you know a tip I am constantly giving out is to not overmix your dough. Flour creates gluten when it is mixed with liquid substances. Gluten creates a dense baked good. If you’re looking for bread-like cookies, mix away. If you want soft chewy cookies, barely mix the flour only until it is just incorporated.
Measure Your Cookie Dough Balls - Most of us grab a chunk of dough, roll it around a few times, and place it on the pan. I recommend eyeing, if not measuring, your dough for an accurate cookie. My recommended measurement is 3 oz cookie dough balls. The temperature and baking time in this recipe is based on larger cookies. If you are making small cookies, reduce your baking time by checking to see if they are done or close it at the 8-minute mark.
Refrigerate Your Dough - The point of placing the dough in the fridge before baking it is to firm up the butter. If you don’t refrigerate your dough (and I did test this) your cookies will melt quickly while baking which creates a crispy, flat cookie. Chill your dough in prepared cookie dough balls to allow the individual cookies to firm up.
Use a Baking Stone - I’ve said this before in my Gingerbread Cookie Recipe, but my neighbor and I agree, a baking stone is the only way to bake cookies. The porous stone creates a more even bake for the cookie allowing the bottom to be perfect rather than overbaked or burnt. A metal pan will bake the cookies longer, but it doesn’t have quite as even of a heating process. Note: Don’t chill them on your baking stone. You don’t want the stone to go from one intense temperature to another as it can crack the stone. Chill the dough on a baking sheet and then transfer to a room temperature stone for baking.
Rotate Your Pan While Baking -You know those tasks in a recipe that we wonder if we really need to do? Most of the time I don’t do them. Now that I create and publish my own recipes, I understand the importance of those little details. For this recipe, you don’t HAVE to rotate your cookies, but it WILL bake them evenly and create the perfect cookie. Just saying.
Comment below with your idea of the perfect chocolate chip cookies!
- 1 cup (16 tablespoons) of European salted butter, softened
- 1 cup (184g) of dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup (113g) of white sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (284g) of unbleached all-purpose flour, packed and leveled
- 1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt + more for sprinkling (to taste)
- 1/2-3/4 cup Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips
- Ghirardelli bittersweet baking bar for garnish (optional)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer use the paddle attachment to cream the softened butter and sugars on medium-high until smooth. This should take about 1-2 minutes. The butter and sugar should be fluffy and pale.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing at medium speed and scraping down the bowl between each.
- Add the vanilla and salt to the mix, doing a few spins with your mixer just to incorporate.
- In a separate bowl, whisk your baking powder, baking soda, and flour.
- Add the flour mix, mixing on low speed until just incorporated. Do not over mix or you will have dense cookies.
- Fold in the chocolate with a spatula until just combined.
- Arrange 3 oz sized balls of dough for large cookies or 2 oz sized balls of dough for a small cookie onto a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- When it's time to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sprinkle additional salt onto the cookie dough and top with a broken piece of the bittersweet chocolate bar if desired.
- Bake for 8-14 minutes, rotating halfway between baking time for an even bake.
- When 8 minutes are up, check the cookies. It is better to underbake than overbake. They should be light golden brown, but will not look done. They will continue baking on the stone once removed from the oven. I baked mine for the full 14 minutes and allowed them to continue baking/cooling after I pulled them out of the oven. The baking time will come down to one thing: your oven. Keep an eye on the cookies and watch for that tan look. It's better to have an under-baked cookie than a dry, over-baked cookie.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely or almost completely. Allowing them to cool allows the cookies to firm up and take on their soft chewy form.
If you do not have a baking stone, use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.