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. I’ve been researching how different elements participate in creating the best chocolate chip cookies and I’ve made test batch after test batch as I often. The cookies in this recipe truly are perfectly soft, chewy, and the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made from scratch for my own taste.
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.
10 Tips for baking the perfect chocolate chip cookies:
1. 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 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 that reflects its ricer, fattier content.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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 it to a room temperature stone for baking.
9. 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.
10. Use Quality Ingredients - Whenever possible, I buy the best brand of chocolate, better quality flour, and I get healthier options such as baking powder that is aluminum-free. The higher quality that your ingredients are, the better tasting your end results will be.