There’s no cookie more universally loved than the chocolate chip cookie, so we all owe it to ourselves to bake the best darn chocolate chip cookies we can possibly make ― for us, for our friends and family, and for the dignity of the chocolate chip cookie itself.
We’re here with help. We reached out to some of our favorite bakers and got some invaluable tips on how to make the best possible chocolate chip cookies.
If you’re making chocolate chip cookies, you’d better use good chocolate.
Let’s be honest, we’re all in it for the chocolate so it makes sense that the chocolate is something you’d want to eat on its own.
“Basically, if you want good chocolate chip cookies, you need to put a good chocolate in it,” Jacques Torres, creator of one of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes told HuffPost. “I don’t like to bake with baking chocolate because most don’t have enough cocoa butter. And if you bake with those, the pieces of chocolate don’t even melt in the oven.”
“Chocolate doesn’t melt if it doesn’t have enough cocoa butter. And if it doesn’t melt in the oven, it’s not going to melt in your mouth.” That is a very good point, because we all want cookies that melt in our mouths.
Cut your own “chips.”
The debate on whether to use chips vs. chunks is a heated one, but according to some of the best bakers in the baking world, cutting your own chocolate is the only way to go.
“For me, one of the most important parts of a chocolate chip cookie is the chip,” Dorie Greenspan, renowned cookbook author (most recently Dorie’s Cookies) told HuffPost. “I think it’s often taken for granted, when in fact, it can add deep flavor and a new texture to the cookie, taking it from a good snack to a sweet you pay attention to.”
“I like to chop my own chips ― which sounds tedious, but isn’t. I choose a favorite chocolate and, using a long serrated knife or a chef’s knife, cut the chocolate into morsel-size bits. I never try to be precise because one of the pleasures of hand-chopped chips is how they vary in size, making each bite of the cookie different from the last or the next. And, because good chocolate melts and chips are formulated to keep their shape, you get a more interesting texture and look when you use chocolate. I like to incorporate the ‘dust’ that accumulates when you chop the chocolate ― it gives the dough a tweedy look and more chocolate flavor.”
Push it to the limit.
If you’re taking the effort to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch, you’d better get serious about the amount of chocolate you use. Amy Emberling of Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Michigan told HuffPost that the best thing you can do is “indulge.” “Don’t be skimpy! If using nuts, chocolate or other mix-ins, push the quantity to the limit.”
Whatever you do, don’t overmix the dough.
One of the worst things you can do to a great chocolate chip cookie dough is overwork it. This can be easier said than done.
“Be sure to thoroughly mix all your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and/or baking soda) together before adding to your butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, to make sure they’re fully incorporated in the final mix,” Tom Clark of Blackbird Baking Co. in Ohio told HuffPost.
“This will help you keep that last mix as short as possible. Add your chocolate chips at the very end and, obviously, don’t over-mix them into the dough.”
Over-mixing the dough overworks the gluten and makes the dough too elastic, resulting in a tough cookie.
Don’t forget the salt.
Salt is a crucial ingredient in cookies. It’s what brings out all the flavors.
Greenspan says, “Salt is as important as sugar in a chocolate chip cookie –- it balances the sweetness of the cookie and emphasizes the flavor of the chocolate. It also wakes up our palates and lingers on them, so we want to reach for another cookie.”
Some bakers even like to sprinkle some sea salt on the cookies either right before baking or right when they come out of the oven. Teighan Gerard, author of the Half Baked Harvest cookbook and blog, told HuffPost, “I like to finish with Maldon sea salt. A generous pinch of flaky Maldon salt on top of a warm cookie is the best addition.”
Refrigerate your dough.
After mixing the dough, refrigerate it before baking. This is not just to cool the dough, but it gives the gluten time to rest and allows the flavors to meld. You should refrigerate the dough overnight, if you can.
“The last thing I do for my cookies in my store is I divide them into the size I want, and I leave them overnight in the refrigerator,” shared Torres. “When you do that the ingredients gain more flavor through maturation.”
Store them smartly.
And once you’re done baking the cookies, Torres has some sage advice for storage. He says, “Cookies are not like wine, they’re not going to be get better with age. The best way to store your cookies is in your stomach.”
In other words, eat up!