Chocolate chip cookies used to only be made from the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag, right? Usually, I would shy away from anything printed on the back of a package. But that’s the beauty of a chocolate chip cookie: they’re always perfect. No matter when or where most of us will say yes to a cookie. Sure, we all have preferences and variations we lean towards, but a cookie is a treat for all of us.
I started really venturing into the world of baking chocolate chip cookies when I was about 15 years old. At the time, I worked in a commercial kitchen and probably made 200+ cookies a week, baking them in a commercial convection oven. Over the years in that kitchen, I slowly altered and played with the recipe. I wanted them to be three things, all at the same time: look perfect, taste amazing, and be unforgettable.
I doubt they really ever reached such high standards. But what the experience taught me was how to work with a recipe to manipulate it. This is not something you have to do, but when making something so often, it becomes second nature to notice changes and find out why they occur.
What I love in a chocolate chip cookie:
- I want a chocolate chip cookie to be sweet, but not too sweet.
- I want it to be thick so once it’s baked, the center is chewy and the edges are crisp. I hate flat cookies.
- I want to taste the vanilla but also have a deeper flavor of caramel and almost butterscotch without being able to say that is what I’m tasting.
Obviously, I have high expectations.
Here are the important steps:
- First, to prevent a cookie from going flat, I split the flour between all-purpose and bread flour. Bread flour has high protein and gives the cookie more structure without being too firm.
- Second, both brown and white granulated sugar is used. White granulated gives the right texture and brown gives all the flavor. The use of only brown sugar would cause the cookies to be too soft.
- Third, this should be obvious, but only use real vanilla extract… and be prepared to use a lot. This is a large batch of dough and it needs vanilla.
- Fourth, a little molasses goes a long way. The small addition of my favorite ingredient really increases the caramel-like flavor of the brown sugar.
- Fifth, use malt powder. I’ll admit, this is an odd ingredient. Made of wheat, barley, and dry milk, malt powder adds a flavor that gives this recipe its “ultimate” status. These are now an adult cookie that kids will also love.
- Sixth, use both semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips and a lot of them. We eat these cookies because of the chip, so don’t skimp on fake chocolate. Go for the good stuff!
- Seventh, the dough must sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Trust me, this makes a huge difference. The flour becomes fully hydrated and the cookies bake completely different.
- Last, the cookies need to be scooped into large rounds. The size should be a #40 cookie scoop (0.875 oz or 1.75 tbsp). This helps them dome just enough and spread just right. As they bake, they’ll dome slightly, but as they cool, they’ll fall down, creating the perfect cookie.
The steps seem many, but they’re really pretty simple. Do this and you will have my ultimate chocolate chip cookie, I promise!
Bonus points if you want to add some flaky sea salt on top!
Common questions about these chocolate chip cookies:
Yes, if possible, you should aim to refrigerate them for this period of time. The dough melds together and creates a much better cookie in the end!
Let it warm up until the temperature of the dough reaches a scoop-able softness.
No, make sure to only put one pan of cookies in the oven at a time. While it does seem like having multiple pans in the oven at once wouldn’t change anything, it really does!
Watch how to make these chocolate chip cookies:
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tbsp molasses
- 2 ½ cups bread flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp malted milk powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 ¼ cups milk chocolate chips
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugars. Beat until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each addition.
- Add the vanilla and molasses, and mix until incorporated.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the flours, malted milk powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix slowly at first and then mix to incorporate, 2 minutes.
- Add the chocolate chips and mix briefly or mix in by hand. Cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a #40 cookie scoop (0.875 oz or 1.75 tbsp), place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets.Note: If the cookies are too hard to scoop after being in the refrigerator for 24 hours, let them soften until they're at a scoop-able softness.Bake until the edges are golden brown and the cookies are slightly domed, 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a pan for 5 minutes. Then finish cooling on a cooling rack.