First, let’s acknowledge that chocolate chip cookies in general are pretty perfect. Have you ever met someone who doesn’t like them? I haven’t. Even a really bad chocolate chip cookie isn’t that bad. School cafeterias can make a decent chocolate chip cookie. Subway has pretty dang good chocolate chip cookies. SUBWAY! But for the chocolate chip cookie baker looking to impress, this actually creates quite the challenge. Everyone expects a chocolate chip cookie to be good, so when they try a new one and it’s good, there’s no reaction. Of course it’s good. It’s a chocolate chip cookie. To really wow someone, the cookies have to be exceptional. Perfect. And these are.
Obviously everyone has different preferences on how they like their chocolate chip cookies, and I’m not saying anyone is wrong. But some people are wrong. If you are looking for a dry, cakey chocolate chip cookie: look elsewhere. If you are looking for a flavorful, moist cookie that can be baked anywhere from ooey-gooey to crispy-crunchy, keep reading.
Before proceeding, I do feel that I must warn you that these cookies are seriously addictive. If you are planning on baking them and then bringing them as a gift to someone, you might consider a double batch. If you do not want to eat an entire batch of cookies by yourself, I suggest immediately bringing them somewhere where other people will eat them before you can. I made these cookies two days ago, a batch that made roughly 36 cookies, and they are gone. That’s between two people. And I am going out of town this weekend so I’ve been trying to be really healthy so that I don’t have to worry about overindulging on vacation. 5-10 cookies a day is “really healthy,” right?
What makes these cookies so good is the flavor of the dough itself. These cookies are not merely a vehicle for chocolate chips (but don’t worry, there are LOTS of those), but the dough stands out in its own right. And one key to that flavor is the vanilla. Please use good vanilla! You will be surprised by how much of a difference it makes using real vanilla versus imitation vanilla. And you will be surprised by how much of a difference a high quality real vanilla makes versus a low quality vanilla. The other key is using all brown sugar. Using all brown sugar also makes them softer!
The recipe itself is super easy. One thing I’ve found that really helps the texture of the cookie is to not rush the creaming of the butter and sugar (mixing them together). If you have a stand mixer, just let it mix for a couple minutes while you do something else. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, mix them until you are tired of holding your hand mixer or stirring them together, no judgement). The fluffier the butter and sugar, the better the texture of the cookie. That’s why room temperature butter is so important (especially if doing this by hand)! Soft butter (BUT NOT MELTED) gets way, way fluffier than cold butter once mixed. (see below for an example of nice fluffy butter and sugar!)
This does mean that the dough will be super soft and sorta sticky when you’re forming the cookies. If that bothers you, throw the dough in the fridge for an hour or two before making the cookies. If, like me, you are way too impatient to have cookies in your mouth to wait an hour, the dough bakes fine when it starts at room temperature.
I made a variety of different sizes and baked them for different times. I prefer my cookies to be almost raw in the middle so that they’re extra chewy and moist, so I baked the baby sized cookies for 6 minutes, medium sized at 8 minutes, and jumbo at 10 minutes. If you prefer your cookies crunch, add a minute or two. Keep in mind they harden up after cooling, so don’t wait until they LOOK done/crunchy to take them out!
This recipe makes roughly 36 medium sized cookies.
1½ sticks room temperature butter
1 c. brown sugar (packed)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp salt
1½ chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350, with the rack in the center of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
- Put the butter in the bowl of mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low-medium speed until smooth and creamy.
- Add the sugar and mix on medium speed for at least a minute. I prefer to mix a little longer to get the butter and sugar even fluffier!
- Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix on medium speed.
- Add the baking soda and salt to the flour and stir together. (I generally just add the baking soda and salt to the measuring cup of flour and stir with the teaspoon to save a dish, but you can combine them in a separate bowl if you want.)
- Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and slowly add the flour.
- With the mixer still on low, add the chocolate chips.
- Scooping about a tablespoon of dough at a time and form balls and place them spaced about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. If you find the dough is too soft to work with, place it in the fridge for an hour (or up to 24 hours if making dough in advance). Between batches, place the remaining dough in the fridge.
- Bake for 8 minutes, or until the edges are just golden brown for soft cookies. The cookies will not look completely done! Bake an additional minute, or until the cookie is mostly golden brown for a crunchier cookie. (Adjusting baking times down or up for smaller or larger cookies)
- Cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an air-tight container. We have never taken more than 3 days to eat these, but I imagine they would stay fresh for at least 5 days? Use your judgment. Dough can be frozen (shape in to balls first) for up to 3 months if you don’t want to make a whole batch at once. Do not thaw frozen dough, just bake an extra minute.