Special giveaway for this post: If you make a comment on this post by 11:59 PM (MST) Saturday April 11, 2015, you will be entered for a chance to win a taste of chocolate chip cookie heaven. I will personally deliver (locally) or mail a cookie package to two winners. Winners will be contacted by email.
Some people have been waiting for this for a long time. The chocolate chip cookie recipe.
After making only Monster Cookies for years, I set out to master chocolate chip cookies. Nearly everyone loves chocolate chip cookies–even I, in spite of my general aversion to chocolate. I figured this would be easy. Everyone can make chocolate chip cookies, right? Wrong…
I tried and failed many times. I started with the recipe on the back of the chip bag. Foolproof, right? I tried recipes from various cook books. I kept ending up with chocolate chip pancakes, chocolate chip hockey pucks, chocolate chip muffins or even a sort of chocolate chip cake. NOT chocolate chip cookies. I wanted something soft yet chewy and thick but not puffy. I wanted them full of chocolate chips and big and round and only slightly crispy and brown on the outside. I used a recipe for a little while that used all shortening, and the cookies were satisfactory–they came out perfectly round and looked pretty good. People liked them, but something felt wrong about the shortening. I kept searching, and what do you know, I ended up in my own mom’s recipe files during a visit to Minnesota. She had a recipe clipped from a newspaper from who knows when. I wrote it down, tweaked it a little bit, and tried it when I got back to Colorado. Finally, I had chocolate chip cookies!
Some of you may be disappointed to find out that it’s really not much different from the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag. There are no super secret ingredients here. This recipe has fewer eggs and a little less salt. That’s it. I think what makes the difference is some of my technique. Over the years of making this recipe, I have figured out a few things that help give me more consistent results. These cookies have always been pretty good, but sometimes they were inconsistent. I’d get frustrated because I would have one batch that turned out a lot flatter than others, and I didn’t know why. Or they’d randomly not be as soft one time. I have figured out the secrets, and my cookies are now consistently soft and chewy with a good thickness. As I have mentioned before, my boyfriend Terry is a big fan of chocolate. I’m fairly certain if you asked him to list the top ten things he loves about me, the chocolate chip cookies would be on the list. Maybe even in the top five. He’ll tell you the dough is pretty irresistible to him too.
These cookies are wonderful fresh out of the oven, but I always, ALWAYS have a good stash in the freezer for cookie emergencies– you know, for when we go to the zoo or the park or to the pool or because it’s Thursday. You can never be too prepared. 🙂 The thawed cookies taste fabulous also.
If you are not satisfied with your current chocolate chip cookie recipe, you might give these a try or even just read through my tips at the bottom to see if there’s something new you could do to make them more consistent.
Homemade chocolate chip cookies=love. Go share some love today!
Christine’s Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients: (This quantity is actually doubled from the original recipe. I always make this amount so I have some to freeze.)
- 2 cups (4 sticks) margarine, softened on the counter in advance (I always use Blue Bonnet- see note below)
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups flour (**Be sure to read the tip below about measuring flour, especially if you live at higher altitude)
- 4 cups (24 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, cream the softened butter with the white and brown sugar until it is thoroughly combined and consistent in color.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and stir to thoroughly combine.
- In a separate small bowl, combine the baking soda, salt, and flour.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine well.
- Stir in the chocolate chips until combined.
- Cover and refrigerate the dough for an hour or more.
- When ready to bake, remove dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up on the counter while the oven preheats.
- Place balls of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving space between.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Take the cookies out when they still look a little under-done. Let them finish baking on the pan on top of the stove.
Extra tips and suggestions:
- I know butter is preferred in most recipes, and I usually use butter when I bake, but I ALWAYS use Blue Bonnet margarine for these cookies. I tried another brand once, and they were not the same cookies. I keep intending to make this recipe with real butter, but so far I have not been willing to risk bad cookies. Too scary. Perhaps some day I can at least try half butter and half margarine. I’ll let you know if I do. If you try it with butter, let me know your results.
- Speaking of margarine, I ALWAYS soften it on the counter for at least a few hours before I want to bake. Whatever you do, do not soften the margarine in the microwave. Not even on low power for only a few seconds. Don’t do it. In my experience, the cookies turn out flat and hard. If the room is too hot in the summer, and I leave the margarine out to the point that it gets too soft, I have the same problem. You want soft but not melty.
- I ALWAYS mix my chocolate chip cookies by hand with a wooden spoon. Yes, it gets to be a little bit of a workout, but they will not be the same if you use a mixer. Also, make sure you thoroughly cream the butter and sugar–no streaks of unincorporated butter. I read once that this step is critical for soft cookies.
- There is a right and a wrong way to measure flour, and people have varying opinions on which is right, but I guarantee you that the way I measure flour for THIS recipe is most certainly WRONG by anyone’s standards, but it works out for me here in Colorado. If you are not at high altitude, ignore this tip and go on measuring your flour the way you always do. If you are at high altitude, you might give this a try; I think it absolutely makes a difference. A few times, I tried to give up my wayward measuring for this recipe, and it was a disappointing result. Flat cookies. The high altitude suggestion for many baked goods is to add more flour, and I think I accidentally stumbled upon that solution for this recipe. I always keep my flour in the (25 pound!) bag it comes in, and I stick my measuring cup down into the bag and scoop an excess amount of flour. I then “level” the cup by pressing it against the side of the bag and moving it back and forth a little. I will even press my other hand on the outside of the flour bag to help sort of pack the flour into the cup. This results in more than a standard cup of flour. I think this accidentally adjusts for the altitude here in Colorado. For those of you who would like a more concrete measurement, I weighed my flour today just for you. My 4 1/2 cups turned out to be 27.7 ounces which, according to the standard charts, is more like 6 cups of flour. If you don’t know about the pitfalls of flour measurement, you might read this or watch this. **Colorado people, I almost always measure my flour for my other recipes with the dip and then level with a knife method which is discouraged in the two previous links. Again, I think this gives the extra flour that is often suggested as a fix for high altitudes. I would need to measure “correctly” elsewhere.
- I almost always chill my dough in the refrigerator over night. I have made them immediately after mixing when necessary, but I think they are better when the dough has chilled. I think the cookie ends up a little thicker with chilled dough.
- I use semi-sweet chocolate chips, whatever Costco has. Someone once suggested that I must use specialty chocolate to get such good-tasting cookies. Nope. Nothing special.
- I use a cookie scoop to make my cookie balls. I like the uniform size and nice round shape they make. I also tend to make my cookies large; it’s hard to make a small cookie that is soft.
- You will have to see what amount of baking time works for you and your pans, but I underbake mine. I take them out of the oven when they look not quite done, and then I leave them on the pan on top of the stove to finish baking. I usually leave them there until they have set while another pan bakes. I usually then move the pan to a countertop to finish cooling and setting before moving them to a container. I do not use a cooling rack for my cookies. I read an article one time that said that results in a crispier cookie, and it seems to be true for me. I do not like crispy cookies; my goal is always a soft cookie. I get the best results for all of my cookies when I let them finish baking on the pan on the stove top with the warmth of the oven below.
- This recipe also works great for making a giant decorated pizza or cookie type of cookie. If you flatten out the cookie dough for the size you want (allowing room for spreading), bake for only 1-2 minutes longer than for regular cookies. You can then decorate as you wish. Last year for teacher appreciation, the kids and I made jumbo cookies for their teachers, and then the kids made a note that said, “Thanks for making me a smart cookie!” They were a big hit.
Yield: Approximately 46 cookies 3 1/2 inch diameter.
Source: Adapted from a newspaper clipping that my mom had for Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies