Cookie confessional time. I have been cheating on my old, classic, faithful chocolate chip cookie recipe. There, it’s out.
Of course, truth be told, a little tinkering here isn’t that surprising. My old recipe is, in fairness, extremely reliable and yields cookies that remain unnaturally soft for days. The part that nagged at me, though, is that “unnaturally” bit.
As I’ve grown more curious about what we’re eating and buying, I, like many, am making an effort to reduce our reliance on packaged foods. (I will be honest, we are not and are not likely to ever be 100% on this. Some things are just never leaving our pantry. Triscuits, I’m looking at you. And even though I love these, I could never make enough graham crackers to sustain my husband, it would be a full-time job.)
So, I was curious about other recipes that could produce a similarly chewy, substantial cookie without leaning on the pudding mix that magically softens my old stand-by. Curiosity and experimentation are all well and good in theory, except you must understand, the bar for the chocolate chip cookie recipe in my house is subjective and whimsical and also sky-high. Chocolate chip cookies are the dessert. The rainy-day standby. The desert island food. The baked good guaranteed to brighten even the most down-trodden day. So while the stakes aren’t high in the sense that my husband is a very smart man, smart enough to recognize that any chocolate chip cookie is better than, well, the alternative of no chocolate chip cookies, it would not be a simple matter to pass the torch and christen another recipe “the one.”
Cook’s Illustrated, however, just may have done it. I, for one, am convinced and smitten with this recipe after making them about a half dozen times. It is simple, which is a very good thing. It is fast – also a strong selling point. It is, obviously, delicious – the cookies beg to be inhaled straight out of the oven, when the chocolate is still practically melted, at their chewy, satisfying best.
So perhaps the very best element of this recipe is that you can very, very easily freeze the dough balls to save and bake later on demand. Thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven with practically no effort required? Yes please! Now you are prepared for any cookie emergency. Like Mondays! Or Fridays. Or this Friday, in particular.
Now excuse while I go make another batch!
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield about 2 dozen cookies
- 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. (10 5/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 12 tbsp. (3/4 cup, 6 oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup (7 oz.) packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and prepare cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer or by hand, beat the butter and sugars until well-combined. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and mix at low speed just until dough is evenly combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop out a scant half-cup of dough and roll into a ball. Hold the ball in the fingertips of both hands, and pull it apart into two roughly equal halves.* Rotate the balls 90 degrees and place onto the cookie sheet, jagged surface facing up, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies.
- Bake, rotating pans halfway through, 14-16 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown with slightly hardened edges and soft, puffy centers.
- Cool cookies on baking sheets for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
*After pulling apart, the dough balls can be flash frozen. First lay them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, being sure they do not touch, and put the entire baking sheet in your freezer for 30-45 minutes. Once the dough balls are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag or other storage container (they can touch at this point). When desired, place dough balls on lined cookie sheets and bake as directed above, adding a few minutes to the baking time.