My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

 I’ve spent three hours staring at my iPad screen, and I’ve come to a very important realization: there is nothing truly original that I can say about chocolate chip cookies.

They’ve been around since 1938. Everyone’s made them at least once and–with the notable exception of those crazy people who don’t like chocolate–most everyone likes them. I mean, what’s not to like? Sweet caramelly cookies studded with chocolate chips–they’re pretty much perfection in a mouthful.

The great thing about chocolate chip cookies is that there’s no shortage of ways to make them. If you have a preference about texture or flavor, there is a recipe out there for you. Chewy, crispy, crunchy, cakey, thin, thick, more brown sugar, more granulated sugar, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks–whatever you like, there is a recipe out there to suit your needs. <–Thank goodness for the Internet.

I’ve tried a lot of the recipes out there, and while all of them have been delicious (because how couldn’t they be?), none were quite right for me. Over the last two years, I’ve made A LOT of chocolate chip cookies, and I’ve slowly formulated a recipe that I love more than any other. They’re super soft and chewy with tons of brown sugar and chocolate. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Go with softened butter. The air beaten into room temperature butter allows these cookies to be both puffy and chewy. I’ve made many batches with melted butter and while the finished cookies are delicious, they are too thin for my taste, even after a long chill. If thinner cookies are your preference, this recipe will work with 1 cup melted butter. If you go that route, I suggest a three hour chill.

2. Use a ton of dark brown sugar. I like to use an 80/20 ratio of dark brown to granulated sugars. This not only enhances the softness and chew, but gives the finished cookies an amazing caramel flavor. Light brown sugar will work in a pinch, but dark brown really makes these cookies sing. 

3. Vanilla makes it all work. The most significant thing I learned while formulating this recipe is that I have very specific ideas about how much vanilla belongs in chocolate chip cookies. One teaspoon is too little for me, and two teaspoons (which seems to be the standard) is too much. I use 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, and I think it balances the brown sugar and chocolate flavors perfectly.

4. Go crazy with the chocolate chips, but not too crazy. This recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips. I used to think this wasn’t enough, so I added more and more, up to two whole cups. Let me say this–the extra chocolate is delicious, but it makes the cookies spread like crazy as it melts. If you want more chocolate chips, I suggest using an extra 1/2 cup or so to dot the tops just after the cookies come out of the oven. These were made with Ghirardelli semisweet morsels because I have 9+ pounds of them right now, but I’ve tried them with many other brands and every single one of them has been fantastic. Use whichever brand you like best.

So here it is, the recipe for my favorite chocolate chip cookies. Make them this weekend (Sunday, May 15th, is National Chocolate Chip Day), and share them with people you love. I hope this recipe will be your favorite, too. 

 Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about four dozen cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until light and fluffy. Beat in dark brown sugar and granulated sugar, followed by egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients in three installments, combining completely after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips.

Cover dough with plastic wrap. Chill for at least two hours, or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop chilled dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Set dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking pans. Bake 8-10 minutes, until puffy and starting to turn golden at the edges. Let cool ten minutes on the baking pans before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Repeat scooping, rolling, and baking wth any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

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