Since February was the month for chocolate (among other things) and because we’ve been stuck inside this winter far more than normal, we embarked on a quest to perfect our chocolate chip cookie making. While there are a number of desserts that are more difficult and more complex in flavor, the chocolate chip cookie is still one of the most universally satisfying treats for my family.
For weeks now, we’ve been baking and tasting a wide variety of chocolate chip cookie recipes. I’ve researched and Pinterested my way through the vast options on the internet. I’ve asked friends, family and neighbors if they would be willing to share their secret recipes. And finally, after all this time I have a few tips and tricks now for how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, with just about any recipe.
First things first, right? Ingredients can make or break (or should I say crumble) your cookie. Always, always choose the finest quality ingredients you can find. Personally, we prefer the Ghirardelli chocolate over most other brands, but sometimes I just make do with what’s at the store. We also found the chocolate chunks make far better chocolate to dough ratio than the chips. We add coarse ground sea salt too for added flavor. Plus, the combination of salt and chocolate is just fantastic.
Okay, now here’s the part where I’m going to lose some fans…one of my favorite ingredients for truly delicious chocolate chip cookies is:
I know, I know, the horror! I do believe in healthy eating, and I am not a fan of crisco in general. But, I have to say that with the recipes we tried, the ones that used 1/2 crisco with 1/2 butter were my favorites. Rest assured you can also use all butter, and in fact some people prefer that. Regardless, the main point is to use really good ingredients for really good cookies. If you’re looking for an ultra healthy cookie, you can even replace butter with apple sauce. But be sure to research for a good recipe before making that big move!
For a truly great, detailed break down on every ingredient used for perfect chocolate chip cookies and how they affect the cookie, go here.
There are a couple of “tricks” to making perfect chocolate chip cookies that come directly from the process. The reason I say they are “tricks” is because some of them were news to me but when I asked other, better bakers they didn’t consider these tips news at all. For instance, always let your ingredients get to room temperature first. Apparently, cold ingredients don’t come together very well and don’t let as much air get into the cookies for that light, evenly baked result you want.
I also discovered that adding my flour slowly meant better control over my dough’s consistency. I also found that using slightly more flour was an easier mistake and did not affect the cookies overall whereas not enough flour means flat cookies.
Okay, and now for the tip that makes every single recipe better, even the one off the back of the chocolate chip bag: REFRIGERATE YOUR DOUGH for up to 24 hours. Crazily enough, I’ve never been told this ever by any grandmother or mother. It’s true though, chilled dough makes it easy to roll and will increase the amazing flavor of your cookie.
As I said, we’ve been tasting and testing a number of perfect chocolate chip cookies over the past two months. The truth is, perfect means something just a bit different for each of us. So, here’s a roundup of our 5 favorite recipes from the web. Trust me, they all make perfect chocolate chip cookies!
Thin & Crispy – Another baker who tried multiple recipes, Tessa at Handle the Heat has a great thin, flat and crispy version.
Universally Loved – An all around winner for most. If one cookie had to be chosen as the “winner” this was it. The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, which came out in 2008 but is still being passed around the internet.
Big & Fluffy – This recipe from Crazy For Crust makes yummy, light unbelievably good cookies that I can eat all day long, which is not necessarily a good thing.
Well, there you have it – my efforts at helping you make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Now, have any tips you’d like to share? Please post on our Facebook page! I am ALWAYS looking for ways to improve my recipes.